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Chicago, IL - In a recent interview, 56-year-old Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon said that he uses marijuana to help him deal with the pain that he suffers from playing football for his entire life. Using marijuana has helped him to stop taking dangerous narcotic painkillers, which are known to have severe side effects and an extreme risk of addiction.

As a result of multiple concussions and injuries, the former football star is left with debilitating pain, as well as early stage dementia. McMahon suffers from severe headaches, depression, memory loss, and vision and speech problems.

While working with the NFL, athletes are many times treated by doctors who are commissioned by the league, and it has been a standard policy to prescribe prescription pain pills. The practice was so widespread, that last year federal drug agents raided a number of NFL teams under suspicion of illegally dispensing legal drugs to their players.

The federal agents who conducted the raid were attempting to prove that teams in the NFL dispense prescription drugs without labels, and without licensed doctors present.

To prevent getting addicted to narcotic pain killers and experiences all of the problems that come with that, McMahon and many other NFL players are trying marijuana instead.

"They were doing more harm than good. This medical marijuana has been a godsend. It relieves me of the pain — or thinking about it, anyway," McMahon said.

Now, McMahon smokes marijuana a few times per day instead of taking over 100 Percocets a month as he was before.

As we reported last year, well-known researchers at the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS have published an editorial in the Canadian Journal of Public Health, saying that doctors are ignoring legitimate studies on the use of cannabis to treat a host of conditions.

Thomas Kerr, Julio Montaner, and Stephanie Lake argue that medical cannabis should be used instead of opioids for neuropathic pain, but this is being stigmatized by the fact that medical cannabis is not approved by Canadian regulators.

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According to the 2015 data on death rates from 2001-2014, released by the Centers for Disease control and Prevention last year:

Prescription drug overdose deaths have nearly tripled since 2001
Opioid overdose deaths have nearly quadrupled since 2001
Benzodiazepine overdose deaths have increased by more than 600% since 2001
Cocaine overdose deaths are up 42% since 2001
Heroin overdose deaths are up nearly 500% since 2001

Meanwhile, no one has ever overdosed on marijuana, no matter how hard they have tried.

Athletes will undoubtedly be faced with the decision in their careers of whether they should use painkillers or marijuana and other natural remedies to cure their pain, and while sports injuries do result in millions of people getting hooked on pharmaceutical drugs, there is a growing trend toward more natural remedies like marijuana.

In fact, as the Free Thought Project reported earlier this month, McMahon is hardly alone in his decision.

A new survey conducted by the Centre for Addictions Research of BC helps explain why Big Pharma is so afraid of cannabis. The pharmaceutical and alcohol industries, both powerful influences in Washington, have long lobbied against cannabis legalization in order to protect their profits.

However, the tide has turned as decriminalization of medical and recreational cannabis sweeps the nation and the continent. With legalization, more and more people are discovering how this plant can provide a safe alternative to the dangerous effects of prescription pills.

The survey of 473 adult therapeutic cannabis users found that 87% of respondents gave up prescription medications, alcohol, or other drugs in favor of cannabis. Adults under 40 were likely to give up all three of these for medical cannabis.

The most startling revelation, and one that will have Big Pharma running to their crony lawmakers, is that 80% of respondents reported substituting cannabis for prescription drugs.

John Vibes is an author and researcher who organizes a number of large events including the Free Your Mind Conference. He also has a publishing company where he offers a censorship free platform for both fiction and non-fiction writers. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Facebook page. You can purchase his books, or get your own book published at his website