Former Super Bowl champion Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon says one thing helped him get off addictive narcotic painkillers: medical marijuana.
Half a million people a year die from their own prescriptions, according to McMahon. Americans, he points out, comprise 5 percent of the world’s population yet consume 80 percent of the world’s opioids. What’s wrong with this picture?
McMahon started playing football at 10 years old; all he ever wanted to do was play sports. He played 15 years in the NFL. He was a first-round draft pick for the Chicago Bears in 1982. McMahon was with the Bears for seven years; five of those years, they made the playoffs, and they brought home one Super Bowl ring.
But McMahon also had his share of run-ins with the NFL. He’s had 12 knee surgeries, three shoulder surgeries, a broken elbow, a torn tendon, and spine and brain injuries. At one point, he had a broken neck without realizing it. “I got a lot of breaks,” he says. “They were painful breaks, but they were breaks. I could’ve died, but I’m still here.”
McMahon says he was taking “well over” 100 Percocets a month during his football career and for five years after he retired. “There’s years I don’t remember, just because I was in such a fog,” he says. “That’s when I really started using cannabis to combat my pain. I’ve been an advocate for it for a lot of years, and I’m not ashamed of it.”