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Ricky Williams 'done with weed' now that NFL pain is gone

Williams with the Dolphins in 2009.
Williams with the Dolphins in 2009.

Former University of Texas and Miami Dolphins running back Ricky Williams is renown for his consumption of marijuana. However he now says that he no longer needs it since his football days are over.

Speaking with USA Today in an interview for a piece about the NFL’s marijuana testing policies, Williams went into great detail about his thoughts on the matter.

The league announced last month that the permitted threshold would be increased from 15 nanograms of carboxy THC per milliliter of urine to 35 nanograms. While that is parts per billion and in the grand scheme of things a very small amount, Williams stated that this would have kept him out of trouble with the league.

“If that was the threshold when I was in the NFL, I never would have been in the drug program,” he says.

Compare that amount to MLB, which has a threshold of 50 nanograms, and the World Anti-Doping Agency, which does Olympic testing, uses a threshold of 150.

NFL players are tested once a year — for marijuana, opiates, amphetamines and other illegal drugs — between April 20 and Aug. 9. Pass the test, and a player is good until next year. But those who test positive must enter intervention programs in which they can be tested more frequently and where more positive tests trigger escalating penalties.

Each player submits two samples, an A sample and a B.

“My A bottle was like 15.4 and my B bottle was like 14.6, something where I was right on the line,” the former Pro-Bowler says. “When I did a little bit of research, I found out how low that (threshold) was.”

Williams thinks the NFL insists on a strict standard so that some players are caught, which offers the appearance of vigilant enforcement, even though he says players who pass the tests in late April through early August have what amounts to a free pass to use throughout the NFL season.

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“I think if you ask the NFL, they’d say the drug program is for our safety,” Williams says. “But I think it’s more to protect the image of the league.”

Williams says cannabis provided him pain relief, stress relief and quicker healing times.

“It’s easier on your liver,” he says. “It doesn’t cut your awareness off from your body, the way most pain medications do. It actually increases awareness of your body. So for instance when I played and I smoked, my body would relax and I’d go in the room and stretch a little bit and do some yoga. And relaxing would help my body recover faster.

“It’s interesting that people talk about physical benefits. I think there are some psychological benefits, too, especially something like the NFL where the stress level is so high. It helps you relax, and everyone knows if your muscles relax the blood is going to flow, which means more blood, more oxygen, more nutrients, which decreases healing time.”

Williams says he regrets his reputation as a stoner but has no regrets about self-medicating with marijuana. “It worked for me,” he says. “It was better for my body. It wasn’t necessarily better for my career.”

Since football is over for him now and there is no more pain and stress to endure, he no longer consumes cannabis.

“When I go places, people offer me pot all the time,” Williams says, laughing. “And then I have to say, ‘Well, I’m sorry, I don’t do that anymore.’ And they look so disappointed.”

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Stephen Carter

Stephen Carter is a 30 year old journalist and information technology specialist living in Waco, Texas and serves as Deputy Director for NORML of Waco. He has been working with the cannabis movement since 2009. He founded Texas Cannabis Report in 2013 to bring Texans accurate cannabis related news.

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