Jack Ham, a former linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers, is dedicating his time these days helping people deal with pain through medical marijuana. He know of what he speaks.
Politico recently wrote a profile on Ham, who is an advocate of cannabis and its power to curb the opioid addiction epidemic that took the lives of about 1,400 people in Pennsylvania in 2015.
Ham is now a spokesman for a medical marijuana startup called AgriMed — it was an easy sell because Ham‘s seen first-hand how bad chronic pain can get; two of his former teammates (Dwight White and LC Greenwood) died after surgeries for back pain. He told Politico, “There’s got to be a better way. And I just knew half the medication that these guys were on.”
In a report earlier this year, it was noted that Eben Britton of the Jacksonville Jaguars received heavy doses of opioids from team physicians to treat his injuries and chronic pain.
“I didn’t like the side-effects of opioids,” he said. “They made me feel crazy and irritable. They drove up my heart rate and made it difficult for me to sleep. So, I gravitated to cannabis. It relieved my physical pain and stress and helped me sleep and even lessened the anxiety of being on injured reserve and away from the team,”
Now retired, Britton is a big believer in medicinal marijuana.
“I love the game and I recognize that pain is part of it. If the NFL is concerned about players getting high [on marijuana], the reality is they’re already high on opioids. The league has the opportunity to be innovators in sports medicine and to have a positive impact on players’ health by looking more closely at medical marijuana.”
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While Ham does not use medical marijuana himself, he understands the power it has to end drug dependency: “I try to tell everybody – I’m not talking about, in my era, going to Woodstock and getting high. We’re talking about medical cannabis.”
To read the full article, head to Politico.