Ricky Williams’s Advice for Cannabis Skeptics: “Come Smoke With Me”

For anyone who has questions or skepticism about the validity of cannabis being an aid to both physical health and mental well-being, former NFL running back Ricky Williams has a recommendation: come and smoke with him.

“There are certain people who have had negative experiences and I understand where they come from. But there are certain people who have never had a personal experience with cannabis. So for them, I suggest they come to my house. We’ll just take a hit and have a conversation,” the 44-year-old tells InsideHook. “I think 100% of those people are going to have a different opinion after just having the experience. Much of the altered states of consciousness, entheogens, and psychedelics have to do with setting and scenery. When we have this idea that what we’re doing is wrong, the stage and the setup are already messed up.”

Williams, who was suspended five times in his NFL career for violating the league’s drug abuse policy and missed two full seasons for using a substance the league now he’s spending $1 million to investigate, he hopes to change the negative perception that many people still have about marijuana despite the fact that it is now 100% legal in many states.

“My problem with the NFL was not necessarily about cannabis. It was about the general idea that we’re expected to be a certain type of person because we’re in the NFL. If for some reason we don’t fit into that box, then there’s no place for us,” says Williams. “Part of the NFL drug program is that they assume you have mental health issues. If you’re in the NFL, you probably are. You are asked to meet with a mental health specialist once a week when you are in the program. But the show was meant to keep us out of trouble. It wasn’t meant to help us and it backfired. If a company or corporation really cares about someone’s well-being beyond how much money they can make, I think the first step is to take care of the mental health of the people who work for them.”

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A University of Texas superstar who scored 75 touchdowns and won the Heisman Trophy with the highest percentage of first-place votes in history, Williams and his lifestyle brand highman has partnered with the leading cannabis pre-roll brand jeeter about a limited edition collaboration (including an exclusive indica strain called “Sticky Ricky”) with 100% of profits going to benefit Athletes for CAREa non-profit organization that advocates for the mental health and physical well-being of athletes around the world.

For Williams, the fit is natural, as cannabis use has long been an important part of staying healthy and happy.

“I suffer from social anxiety disorder and mild depression. I tried Paxil [a prescription medicine] a bit and it helped a bit. Then I started using cannabis and now I speak in public and I can talk about anything,” says Williams. “From my own life story, cannabis was definitely an important part of my mental health journey. Of all the people I know, I feel that I am one of the most mentally healthy and I am smoking more than everyone. I am convinced that cannabis is key to mental health.”

And what specifically does cannabis do for Williams?

“It opens my mind,” he says. “We have all been conditioned to act in a certain way. When I smoke, I can slip below my conditioning and tap into who I really am and start functioning from that deeper place. There are many ways to talk about it. People talk about being high. This idea that we are lifting ourselves up and looking at our lives and our situations from a different perspective. I’ve noticed that a lot of people don’t realize that. Many people think that the purpose of cannabis is to goof around or have a good time. You can definitely do that and I think it’s part of the process, but, for me at least, the greatest gift is having a bigger picture of what’s going on. I don’t just think about myself, my family and my things. I think about how the things I do are affecting my community and the people around me. It is funny. I’m a philosophical person, and before I started smoking, I would talk to people and they would look at me and say, ‘What are you smoking?’ And I was like, ‘I don’t smoke, but maybe I should.

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So he did. And the rest, as they say, was history.

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