Former NFL Star Christian Okoye: Cannabidiol Helps Ease My Chronic Pain

By Kelly Burch 05/16/18

Okoye says CBD has allowed him to quit prescription opioids and has helped improve his mobility.

Christian Okoye
Photo via YouTube

Christian Okoye, a Nigerian-American NFL fullback who played for the Kansas City Chiefs from 1987 to 1992, says that using cannabidiol (CBD) has allowed him to regain mobility and ditch opioid pain medications that he was taking after his retirement from the league. 

“I no longer take my pain medication every day,” Okoye told TMZ Sports. “I’m able to go and take a walk, go to the field and try to jog. Before I couldn’t do that.”

Although he still deals with chronic pain, he says that CBD is more effective than other treatments that he has tried. “Now I can actually move around freely. Well not totally freely, but almost pain free,” he said. “It helps a lot.”

Okoye recently became a spokesperson for a company that sells cannabis products. He said that his former teammate Nick Lowery introduced him to CBD, but that he had heard other players talking about the way that the drug had improved their quality of life. 

“This is one way to avoid using the opioids that we’re talking about here, things that will damage your kidney and liver. This is natural. I think it’s a way that players can use to help themselves be a little pain free,” Okoye said. 

Now he is the one touting the benefits of CBD to other retired players. 

“Every time I go to events I see other guys, my teammates and friends from the NFL, I tell them ‘Hey, this is what I’m doing. You should think about this,’” he said. “When you first tell people something like this they’re skeptical, like I was, at first. Then, when they build up the courage to actually try it they’ll find out that it works. It’s been helping me a lot.”

Cannabis has been a hot topic in the NFL over the past few years. Current and retired players take a host of opioid pain medications regularly, and there has been a growing interest in using cannabis to replace some of those medications.

Despite the fact that some former and current players have become outspoken advocates for medical marijuana, the league maintains a ban on cannabis. 

However, last fall the league and the players union announced that they will work together to study the possibility of using marijuana for pain relief. 

“We look forward to working with the Players Association on all issues involving the health and safety of our players,” Joe Lockhart, the NFL’s executive vice president of communications, said at the time. 

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Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.