NFL Legend Calvin Johnson Opens Up About Using Cannabis in His Playing Days

February 6th, 2024 Culture & Lifestyle Ryan Spegal
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Calvin Johnson, the Detroit Lions' legendary wide receiver and Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee, has recently made headlines for his candid revelations about using cannabis during his NFL career. Known for his remarkable achievements on the field, including holding the record for the most receiving yards in a season and earning six Pro Bowl selections, Johnson's admission sheds light on the physical toll of professional football and the methods players resort to for pain management.

In a revealing interview, Johnson, now 38, disclosed that he turned to cannabis before games in the final stages of his career to cope with the pain. He described moments of doubt about his ability to play due to the physical demands of the sport, stating, "There were some games in my career, man, where I was just like, man, how am I going to make it today. So I just let me get my mind right. It was like in my last year when I was barely hanging on."

Johnson's use of cannabis was confined to his last year before retiring in 2015, a decision that underscores the challenges athletes face in managing pain and maintaining performance levels. Despite the controversy surrounding his method of pain management, Johnson's post-retirement endeavors continue to align with his interest in the therapeutic potential of cannabis.

In 2019, Johnson, along with his wife Brittney, ventured into the cannabis industry by opening a medical cannabis dispensary in Michigan, with additional operations in Boston. This business endeavor is a partnership that includes former NFL first-round pick Godser Cherilus and Rob Sims. Beyond his entrepreneurial activities, Johnson has collaborated with Harvard University to research the effects of cannabis on pain healing, highlighting his commitment to exploring alternative pain management solutions. His work with Harvard was notably mentioned in his Hall of Fame speech, emphasizing the potential benefits of cannabis in treating pain.

Johnson's career achievements extend beyond his groundbreaking receiving yards record. He shares records with Michael Irvin for the most 100-yard games in a season and with Adam Thielen for consecutive 100-yard games. Moreover, Johnson holds the distinction for the most consecutive games with 10 or more receptions.

This revelation from a player of Johnson's stature brings attention to the ongoing debate regarding the use of cannabis in professional sports, particularly concerning pain management and player welfare. As research and societal attitudes towards cannabis continue to evolve, Johnson's experiences and advocacy may play a pivotal role in shaping future policies and perceptions around cannabis use in athletics.

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