Calvin Johnson uses his Hall of Fame speech to push the NFL to use plant-based medicine for pain management, instead of “destructive” opioids

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With conviction and emotion, Calvin Johnson used his induction speech to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Sunday to send two important messages.

The first was to “those out there who are suffering in silence and living in pain – for those who feel there’s no hope for better days. . . . I want to speak to you for a moment. I want you to  know that I see you. And you matter. And to fight. And to do your best to make it through and to never give in to the pain.”

Johnson was speaking from experience. He told the crowd that in his first year in the NFL he suffered a back injury so severe he thought he was done playing: “It was so bad in the moment, I couldn’t feel my legs, and I thought my career would be over.” Though he managed to play eight more seasons he was only able to do so, he said, by taking “whatever he could to manage the pain.”

And what he could get, he suggested in an interview with the Detroit Free Press last fall, was opioids, which “are pushed on you as a player.” But Johnson resisted: he wanted a natural way to deal with his chronic pain & inflammation and eventually found one – a friend put him on to CBD. Though his playing days had ended by then CBD changed his quality of life, for instance by allowing him to perform on Dancing With the Stars.

Johnson’s other message to the Hall of Fame crowd – which was interrupted by huge applause – was aimed at the NFL & pro sports, including the Olympics:

To the NFL, college football, and all major sports including the Olympics, it’s time we recognized the potential of . . . plant medicines to aid and improve the mental health and quality of life for so many. These plants . . . provide an alternative to their destructive counterpart – opioids.

And as he told us, Calvin Johnson continues to be a team player: “I’m proud to partner with Harvard University, Dr. Wilfred Ngwa, Johns Hopkins, and other institutions to help address the global disparities [in healthcare] and bring valid solutions to people everywhere.”

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