Athletes do not only suffer from bitter game loses. They also endure tremendous amounts of physical and mental pain, causing them to turn to various medicines.

However, the case is different for former Bears quarterback Jim McMahon. He said marijuana saved him from pain meds.

During his 15-year career at the National Football League (NFL), McMahon has suffered from multiple concussions. As a result, he sustained various physical and neurological disorders, including early onset dementia, depression, severe headaches, memory loss, broken neck, and vision and speech impairments.

He has undergone chiropractic therapies for his neck and has been feeling significantly better recently. This is not because of narcotic pain relievers, which he took throughout his entire career. In fact, McMahon says pain meds worsened how he felt back then. 

"They were doing more harm than good," he says.

He used to take 100 Percocet pills monthly for his neck, shoulder and arm pain.

Now, he is finally free, all thanks to medical marijuana, which helped him survive without the pain meds.

The 56-year-old obtained his medical marijuana card in Arizona, where he lives. He got it after being approved in a 2010 referendum. He says marijuana keeps him from feeling pain, or from thinking about it at the very least.

McMahon shares his daily medical marijuana routine. In the morning, he smokes marijuana to help him in getting up. He takes a few doses during the afternoon, depending on how he feels during that time. Lastly, he smokes another before going to bed. He says he cannot go to sleep without it.

The former athlete prefers to take the indica strain, which has a higher dose of THC. THC is the part of the marijuana plant that makes people go on a high. He says, however, that marijuana does not cause him to feel fuzzy unlike his pain meds. He claims he still maintains a clear head.

McMahon's statement comes in the midst of Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner contemplating about the addition of eight more medical conditions in the list of qualified marijuana-treatable conditions. Currently, there are more than 40.

Among the conditions being recommended for qualification is pain that does not respond to conventional therapy.

Photo: Ken Lund | Flickr

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