Home Cannabis Former NFL star Ricky Williams on how cannabis use changed his mindset

Former NFL star Ricky Williams on how cannabis use changed his mindset

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2022-05-16-Former NFL star Ricky Williams on how cannabis use changed his mindset

Ricky Williams ran more than 1.000 yards a year with the Miami Dolphins and New Orleans Saints for five seasons in his career. But the NFL has also suspended Williams multiple times for testing positive for marijuana.

While the suspensions hurt Williams' reputation in American football, he has become a prominent advocate for the use of cannabis to treat pain and social anxiety.

Benefits of cannabis use

The 44-year-old former All-Pro running back told Fox News Digital in a recent interview that he began to see the benefits of marijuana in 2002. “I think I noticed after I failed a drug test in 2002 and the NFL said, 'Okay, now you have to be tested for drugs 10 times a month,' he recalls.

“Of course I stopped smoking weed then. That had an immediate effect. I noticed that I took more painkillers and was more anxious. So I started smoking a little bit to see if there was a difference. It sure was. A big difference: I recovered faster, things bothered me less and that was reflected in my performance.”

“I took more painkillers because I was more aware of the pain I was having. In 2002, especially outside of California, no one really talked about medical marijuana. Especially in the NFL it was said, "Don't do it, because it's a drug that will get you in trouble." I started using cannabis mainly because others on my team were using it. So it was more peer pressure and wanting to fit in.”

Different view of cannabis

Williams: “Still it gave me a lot. It's not what people say about it because when I cannabis consumed, I was not sitting on the couch. I wasn't lazy. I read and reflected and worked on myself. When I retired from the NFL in 2004 and was free of those restrictions, I began to travel and have conversations with others.

I continued to delve into cannabis. It became clear to me that cannabis has been used in medicine for centuries. It has only been since 1937 that it has been considered something negative. It was a bit confusing because I was penalized for using it in my sport. Cannabis opens your mind. It got me thinking," Williams told Fox News Digital. “It really changed my perspective. And instead of feeling like a victim, I realized this was a great opportunity for me.”

Williams said using cannabis helped him rethink and deal with his own anxiety issues. “If someone has social anxiety or some other mental health problem, the standard treatment is twofold. It is usually some sort of talk therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy and often people will go the pharmaceutical way. The idea is that something is being resolved internally that causes problems for the person," he said.

“For me, cannabis helped. There is clearly a chemical component. That's why we call it a drug, but I use it for what I call self-psychotherapy. After training, when I went home and smoked, I reflected on my day to better understand myself. Because the nature of what cannabis does puts us more in touch with how we feel. Many people have been taught not to be in touch with feelings. Certainly in this sport it is normal to put feelings aside and get the job done.

“It worked for some people, but it didn't work for me. Cannabis allowed me to be more in touch with how I was feeling. That made me less anxious. Instead of masking the problem, cannabis helped me identify the cause.”

Own cannabis brand

Williams launched the cannabis lifestyle brand Highsman in October 2021 and released three varieties of flowers under his brand: Pregame, a sativa; Halftime, a hybrid; and Postgame, an indica. He also teamed up with Jeeter to roll out a live resin pre-roll and vape set called “Sticky Ricky”.

All proceeds from the Highsman and Jeeter partnership will be donated to Athletes for CARE, a mental health organization founded by former professional athletes to address major health concerns, be they mental, physical or financial.

Source: foxnews.com (EN)

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