Imagine, if you will, what it’s like to be an offensive lineman in the National Football League (NFL).
You line up in a state of catlike readiness, and the moment the quarterback snaps the ball, a wall of 300-pound behemoths comes plowing toward you. Your job—your only job—is to keep these monsters from getting past you for the crucial few seconds it takes the quarterback to throw or hand the ball off. Then do it 40 or 50 more times a game.
Now imagine doing it stoned. It’s not exactly the mellow experience most cannabis consumers enjoy. For former NFL offensive tackle Eben Britton, however, using cannabis was a way to combat the pain of the sport without the fistfuls of pharmaceuticals football doctors hand out like Halloween candy. He even consumed it before games a few times.
“I just had a much better experience. I felt much more in my body. The pills have a way of disconnecting you, making it really difficult to feel your feet on the ground,” recalled Britton, who played four years for the Jacksonville Jaguars and two for the Chicago Bears before retiring in 2014. “The connection of your nervous system and the brain-body connection as an offensive lineman is the most important thing. You have to be able to feel your feet on the ground when you’re blocking a defensive lineman, a 300-pound tank.”