The Green Room Episode 6: Ricky Williams talks about cannabis, the NFL and pain management


When the National Football League announced last week that it would award a $1 million research grant to two teams of medical researchers to study the effects of cannabis and CBD on pain management, it probably surprised many people. Ricky Williams, whose 11 seasons in the NFL included two high-profile suspensions for using weed, was not one of them.

I know this because just five days earlier I was sitting on the balcony of the soccer player-turned-cannabis proponent’s Manhattan Beach home, talking about his brand of sports weed (Highsman, which launched in late 2021, is a distress such a subtle reminder that he’s the same guy who won the 1998 Heisman Trophy), the intersection of sports and spirituality, how prioritizing inner peace over outer glory led to his decision to leave the game, and the recent declining league attitude towards cannabis use.

“Football is a brutal sport,” Williams said during our conversation (excerpts appear above as episode 6 of The Times’ “Green Room” video series). “And to me, it’s the NFL’s responsibility to give players every reasonable means to take care of themselves … I think the NFL owes it to their players.”

While the NFL is certainly not there yet, both the announcement of research funding and relaxed penalties for THC-positive players are signs that opinions like Williams’ are at least being heard. And that means the ball is in play – and going in the right direction. The Green Room Episode 6: Ricky Williams talks about cannabis, the NFL and pain management

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