Former NFL Players Lead Panel Discussion on Medical Cannabis Use in Professional Sports

Former NFL players, Nate Jackson, Ricky Williams, Eben Britton, and Lance Johnstone will be joined by Dr. David Nathan, Dr. Perry Solomon, and moderator Jim McAlpine for a special panel discussion about medical cannabis as a viable alternative to often addictive opiates.

According to an ESPN poll released in November 2016, 61% of NFL players believed painkiller use would decrease if the league allowed cannabis as an alternative. For recovery and pain control, more players preferred cannabis over painkillers. At a time when 33,000 Americans per year are dying from opioid overdoses, and with NFL players four times more likely than the general population to develop painkiller addictions, the players’ feedback should come as no surprise.

With cannabis in the spotlight as both current and former athletes fight for the right to access and use their medicine legally, this panel will take an introspective look at all sides of the matter. The discussion will incorporate cannabis use as it relates to sports from a training, focus and recovery aspect. Speakers will also explore the use of CBD in terms of helping athletes protect themselves from CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy), chronic inflammation and other debilitating consequences from long-term participation in contact sports.

The video below, which was produced by HelloMD and features Dr. Solomon, is a good preview of the type of the topics that will be discussed during the session.

The “Cannabis as Medicine in Professional Sports” panel will take place on Tuesday, April 11 at 1:50 PM. Learn more about each of the panelists below.

Nate Jackson

Nate Jackson is an author and former NFL wide receiver who played six seasons with the Denver Broncos. During his NFL career Jackson used marijuana as a preferred alternative to opioid painkillers which he sought to avoid as much as possible. His memoir, Slow Getting Up: A Story of NFL Survival from the Bottom of the Pile, was published in 2013. He is an outspoken advocate for medical cannabis, appearing in various media including the New York Times opinion page, CBS This Morning, and an episode of HBO’s Real Sports examining marijuana use in the NFL.

Ricky Williams

Ricky Williams is a former NFL running back who played twelve seasons with the New Orleans Saints, Miami Dolphins, and Baltimore Ravens. He played college football at the University of Texas, where he was a two-time All-American and won the Heisman Trophy. Since retiring from football in 2012, Williams has become a medical cannabis advocate, an entrepenuer, an accomplished yoga instructor, anda football analyst with on the Longhorn Network. In 2016, Williams was featured in the Sports Illustrated Film “Ricky Williams Takes the High Road”.

Eben Britton

Eben Britton is a former NFL guard and tackle who played for the Jacksonville Jaguars and Chicago Bears. Britton is a dedicated activist for reforming societal views on cannabis and is a member of the Gridiron Cannabis Coalition, a group that advocates for the NFL to change its policy on marijuana. His cannabis advocacy has been featured by USA Today and the Arizona Republic. He has also written for Sports Illustrated.


Lance Johnstone

Lance Johnston is a former NFL defensive end who played for the Oakland Raiders and the Minnesota Vikings.As a spokesperson for the Gridiron Cannabis Coalition, Lance has participated in a number of charitable events, including the O.penVAPE Open, a charity golf tournament that raised money for the Flowering Hope Foundation. His advocacy for player health and safety has been featured by Forbes.


Dr. David Nathan

David L. Nathan, MD, DFAPA is a psychiatrist, writer, educator, and founder of Doctors for Cannabis Regulation, which recently launched a campaign calling for NFL policy change on behalf of the medical and scientific community. Dr. Nathan graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University, received his MD from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and completed his psychiatry residency at McLean Hospital of Harvard Medical School. While serving on the steering committee of New Jersey United For Marijuana Reform (, Dr. Nathan was surprised by the absence of any national organization to act as the voice of physicians who wish to guide our nation along a well-regulated path to cannabis legalization. This need was the inspiration for Doctors for Cannabis Regulation.

Dr. Perry Solomon

Dr. Perry Solomon is the Chief Medical Officer of HelloMD, where he oversees all medical aspects of the business at the company’s San Francisco headquarters. Dr. Solomon is responsible for managing the extensive network of qualified physicians for HelloMD, generating content for the company’s Answers platform, speaking to various peer and consumer audiences regarding the use of medical cannabis to treat various medical conditions, and often collaborating with other medically related companies that present themselves to the business. Dr. Solomon is a Board Certified Anesthesiologist with over 30 years’ experience as a medical care provider.

Jim McAlpine

Jim McAlpine is on a mission to change the perception of cannabis and the people that use it via athletics and sports. This Silicon Valley entrepreneur is a father of two daughters and also the founder of “CannaDads”.

Over the past 2 years McAlpine has become one of the most well-known figures in the cannabis industry and known as the leading expert in the field of cannabis and athletics. After 15 years running, Jim founded The 420 Games in 2014, a now national series of athletic events. In 2015 McAlpine launched Power Plant Fitness. “The World’s First Cannabis Gym” that has gained national attention from major media.

“Everything in Moderation Except Sweat” For Jim this slogan is a motto he both preaches and also lives by. Jim’s message is simple and applies to a global audience- anyone and everyone whose lives can be improved with the health benefits.

Mr. McAlpine has lived a lifestyle of fitness. After a 15 year career in the ski industry, McAlpine decided to move into the cannabis industry for a myrid of reasons. See the full story here:

Another recent story by Ricardo Baca of the respected Cannabist, from the Denver Post, touted McAlpine as “One of the most exciting entrepreneurs in the Cannabis industry”

Jim was raised in Northern California and went to college at the University of Colorado. Boulder, Colorado is where his love for helping others led him to study child psychology and sociology. After graduating Boulder in 1995 McAlpine lived in Hawaii and worked as a surf and mountain bike instructor before moving home to Silicon Valley to begin a career in the booming internet startup era.

McAlpine is also the founder of the renowned New West Summit, a technology + cannabis B2B conference.

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