Wells, who pitched for nine teams during a 21-year major league career, says that the effects of multiple surgeries and injuries while playing led him to take drugs like Percocet for “75 to 80 percent of the time” since 1999. In 2000, Wells won 20 games for the Toronto Blue Jays and continued pitching until 2007 at age 44. He says he continued taking painkillers despite “feeling like crap” through retirement until seeing a 60 Minutes profile earlier this year on a young girl whose multiple seizures were cured by CBD (cannabidiol). After trying CBD, he claims he hasn't touched a painkiller since.
“I wish I knew about it back when I played because I would've been all over it,” Wells told ThePostGame. “I would've took those risks. If they tested me — 'hey, you got marijuana in your system' — I'll bring it to them: This is what it is. Dissect it. Take it in a lab and see what it's about.”
Wells is far from the only retired athlete advocating for marijuana as a recovery tool. While Major League Baseball does not randomly test for the drug, which is legal for medical purposes in 26 states, the NFL continues to ban it in all forms among active players. Former Baltimore Ravens tackle Eugene Monroe detailed in an ESPN The Magazine story Wednesday how the drug is helping him deal with the ravages on his body of seven seasons as an offensive lineman. In that same issue, 226 current NFL players were polled on their feelings about the benefits of medical marijuana versus painkillers.
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57 percent of the players surveyed said they'd rather take the painkiller Toradol over marijuana if both were permitted by the league, but when asked which was better for recovery and pain control, 41 percent chose marijuana, 32 percent picked painkillers and 27 percent chose neither.