Ricky Williams, the former RB for the Miami Dolphins and the New Orleans Saints who had over 1,000 rushing yards for five seasons straight had an amazing NFL career. However, it was overshadowed by multiple suspensions caused due to Williams testing positive for marijuana usage.
These suspensions damaged his image and now post his retirement, the player has become an advocate for promoting the use of cannabis as a form of medicine to treat pain and social anxiety. The 44- year old RB in an interview with Fox News Digital spoke about the life-changing benefits of cannabis.
“It got me thinking differently”: Ricky Williams
Williams spoke about the benefits that he saw after consuming marijuana, “I guess I noticed after I failed a drug test in 2002 and the NFL said, ‘Ok, now you’re going to be drug tested 10 times a month,’ Obviously, I stopped smoking. I thought at the time it was no big deal, but when I stopped smoking, I noticed that I was taking more pain pills and I noticed that I was more anxious.”
Williams added, “So, I started to continue to smoke just a little bit just to see if there was a difference. And in that situation, I noticed there was a big difference-that I recovered faster, things didn’t bother me as much and it reflected in my performance.”
Williams felt that the biggest advantage of cannabis was its healing benefits, in the NFL when you get injured, or just in general after games, the team doctors give you pills. These may help you in the short term but in the long term, they can damage the player’s health.
“I was taking more painkillers because I was more aware of the pain that I was in. Back in 2002, especially outside of California, there was nobody really talking about medicinal marijuana. Especially in the NFL, most of the conversation about cannabis was, ‘Don’t do it because it’s a drug and you’ll get in trouble.’ I started using cannabis mainly because other football players on my team were using it and suggesting I use it. So it was more like peer pressure and fitting in.”
The rumors with respect to cannabis are that it makes you lazy and not do any work, however, Williams disputes this by stating, “It’s not what people say, because when I consume cannabis, I wasn’t sitting on the couch, I wasn’t being lazy. I was reading and reflecting and doing like self-psychology and working on myself. When I retired from the NFL in 2004 and was free from those confines, I started to travel and have conversations and read and realized, ‘Oh, they lied to us about this.’ “
“Then, I just kept further and further researching. And it became obvious that this is something that has been considered a medicine, considered something that helps people in their religious practices and understanding themselves for thousands of years. And it’s only since 1937 that it’s been considered something negative,” Williams said hinting at the propaganda pushed out by the pharmaceutical companies.
Though Williams said it helped his body, he believes that it was strange for him to get disciplined for such a thing. He was suspended on many occasions, and former Washington QB Joe Theismann called him an addict when he joined the Canadian Football League.
“If someone has social anxiety or any kind of mental health issue, the standard treatment is twofold. It’s usually some sort of talk therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy and often people will go the pharmaceutical route. The idea is there’s something internally that’s causing issues for the person,” Williams added citing that cannabis usage has helped him reverse his own thinking and helped him deal with his own anxiety issues.
The league is not as strict in terms of cannabis usage now, the NFL is liberalizing its stance and other leagues such as the NBA as well are not suspending players for using it.