Ex-NFL Star Kyle Turley Promoting Pot's Healing Potential

November 7th 2015

Alex Mierjeski

For former NFL All-Pro lineman Kyle Turley, cannabis was a lifesaver.

Turley said that a litany of pharmaceuticals prescribed to treat conditions that he developed playing football brought him to the edge of depression.

"Suicidal and homicidal tendencies became a part of my daily living, in that I couldn't be around a knife in my kitchen without having an urge to stab someone, including my wife and kids," Turley told the hosts of "Highly Questionable" this week.

"That was highly disturbing to me," he added.

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The former player, who said he had received over 100 concussions during his career, spoke to the show on behalf of the Gridiron Cannabis Coalition, a pro-marijuana research outfit.

Kyle Turley speaks about the benefits of medical cannabis

Former NFL All-Pro Kyle Turley on how cannabis has helped him and how it could help others.

Posted by Highly Questionable on Thursday, November 5, 2015

Turley, who retired in 2007, has been critical of pharmaceutical drugs and the harmful side effects that can come along with regular use, Huffington Post reported. He was especially candid on the subject in his appearance on "Highly Questionable."

"My relationship with pharmaceuticals brought me to where I am today. About eight months ago having had an episode where I really just got to my lowest point in life. Thoughts of suicide, depression, anxiety were mounting, never going away."

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He detailed one scene on a hotel balcony in which he credited cannabis with allowing him to make "it back to my hotel room." It was the same day he was inducted in the Hall of Fame at San Diego State University, he said.


A photo posted by Kyle Turley (@kyle_turley) on

A painkiller alternative

Severe depression and even suicidal thoughts are not unique side effects of prescription drug use and abuse, especially in football. The sport has seen concussions linked to suicide among players. Still, pharmaceutical use is rampant within the NFL—likely in large part because of concussions and other high-contact injuries. Turley isn't the only NFL player to endorse cannabis as an alternative to painkillers, antidepressants, antianxiety, and other common over-the-counter drugs, either, Huffington Post reported.

Cannabis use is often floated as a much safer and less addictive alternative to major categories of prescription drugs, including painkillers, stimulants, and antidepressants. Yet, its use is often penalized for athletes who admit to partaking or even using it for medical purposes. In September, UFC fighter Nick Diaz was suspended for marijuana use and issued a fine. Diaz called out the hypocrisy of a suspension for marijuana use in the UFC, where steroid use has a well-known presence among fighters.

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