Former NFL player Nate Jackson believes marijuana ‘kept my brain clean’

By Oscar Pascual |

Former Denver Broncos tight end Nate Jackson used plenty of marijuana during his tenure in the NFL, and he believes it saved both his life and his career.

“It kept my brain clean,” Jackson said Wednesday during the Cannabis Business Executives Breakfast. “I feel like I exited the game with my mind intact. And I credit that to marijuana in a lot of ways and not getting hooked on these pain pills that are recklessly distributed in the league when a guy gets an injury.”

While Jackson’s claims may sound inconceivable, science definitely backs him up. One of marijuana’s compounds, cannabidiol, or CBD, has shown to be an effective antioxidant and neuroprotectant for the brain. Moreover, pot’s cannabinoids works wonders as an anti-inflammatory treatment for pain and other post-game injuries.

It’s the reason why Jackson and several more former players have called for the NFL to put an end to their strict anti-pot policy.

Last season, Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon was handed a season-long ban from the game after testing positive for marijuana. In comparison, now-former Ravens running back Ray Rice initially received just a two-game suspension for physically assaulting his wife in a public elevator. The incongruity between the two punishments led Bloomberg to publish an editorial urging the NFL to stop their war on weed.

Currently, the NFL carries some of the most strict marijuana policies found in any sports league. Even the World Anti-Doping Agency, who tests athletes for events such as the World Cup and the Olympics, has an imposed marijuana limit ten times more lenient than the NFL, according to ESPN’s Bomani Jones.

“As long as we as fans or the media love this game and want this game to continue and want our players to play hard, we have to open up our minds and be a little bit more compassionate about how we approach their health care,” Jackson said.

Despite the support for medical marijuana from players and sportswriters alike, it doesn’t seem like the NFL will change their policy any time soon.

League spokesman Greg Aiello told The Associated Press on Wednesday: “At this time, the medical advisers to our drug program tell us that there is no need for medical marijuana to be prescribed to an NFL player.”

It’s a shame, as today’s current players could definitely use it for pain treatment, brain trauma, and even creativity on the field.

“I consider it a performance-inspiring drug,” Jackson said.

Photo credit: Flickr/denverjeffrey