Ex-NFL OL Kyle Turley Says Marijuana 'Saved His Life' amid Opioid Addiction

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 22, 2020

HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 02:  Former NFL player Kyle Turley visits the SiriusXM set at Super Bowl LI Radio Row at the George R. Brown Convention Center on February 2, 2017 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM)
Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Former NFL offensive tackle and longtime cannabis advocate Kyle Turley discussed the benefits of marijuana and how it aided him following his playing career in an interview published Sunday.

According to Josh Peter of USA Today, Turley credited cannabis use with improving his quality of life significantly: "Because I chose cannabis as an alternative and to understand it the way I have, it saved my life. It kept my family together. I have my wife. I have my kids. I have an amazing business partner and an amazing shop to craft this conversation into the light and bring it to the people the way it deserves."

Turley, who co-owns the Shango cannabis dispensary in Moreno Valley, California, said he was previously addicted to opioids and that he nearly took his own life before switching to marijuana.

The 44-year-old Turley spent nine years in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints, St. Louis Rams and Kansas City Chiefs. Turley was the No. 7 overall pick in the 1998 NFL draft out of San Diego State, was named a first-team All-Pro in 2000 and started 107 of the 109 games he appeared in during his career.

Turley believes he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) as a result of repeated blows to the head but said the symptoms have subsided since he began using cannabis: "This is the first house I've ever lived in, now for five years, where I've not broke a door off a hinge, put a hole in the wall, thrown dishes and plates and lost my mind."

Also, Turley expressed his belief that cannabis cured his wife's skin cancer and that CBD use has helped make his children healthier: "It's resolved my daughter's sleeping disorder, my son's attention span, hers as well. And the doctors continue to tell us they're the healthiest kids they've ever seen and they refuse to give them flu shots, refuse, because their immune systems are so strong."

Marijuana use has long been frowned upon by the NFL, and multiple violations of the NFL's drug policy due to positive marijuana tests have led to suspensions for many players.

With more and more players embracing cannabis as an alternative to addictive opioids, however, the tide has started to turn.

As part of the new collective bargaining agreement that was recently ratified, the NFL reduced the testing period for marijuana from four months to two weeks, increased the threshold for a positive test and eliminated suspensions for a positive test.