Steve Kerr: I Tried Marijuana to Treat Chronic Back Pain

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty Images)

We've covered the hypocrisy of American sports league's stances on marijuana before.

Now the latest advocate for weed as a substitute for addictive prescription painkillers thoroughly does not enjoy getting high: Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr.

"I guess maybe I could even get in some trouble for this, but I've actually tried [marijuana] twice during the last year and a half when I've been going through this pain, this chronic pain that I've been dealing with," Kerr, 51, told Monte Poole of CSN Bay Area.

"A lot of research, a lot of advice from people, and I have no idea if I would—maybe I would have failed a drug test. I don't even know if I'm subject to a drug test or any laws from the NBA, but I tried it, and it didn't help at all. But it was worth it, because I'm searching for answers on pain. But I've tried painkillers and drugs of other kinds, as well, and those have been worse. It's tricky."

The head coach underwent two back surgeries two summers ago, missing the first half of the 2015-16 season as Luke Walton, now leading the Los Angeles Lakers, coached the team. Kerr played in the NBA for 15 seasons.

Former professional athletes—including Super Bowl-winning Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon and ex-Chicago Bulls point guard Jay Williams—have advocated for lenience from professional sports leagues regarding marijuana, which they see as a safer, healthier alternative to pain-killing pills.

Kerr agrees.

"It doesn't agree with me. I tried it a few times, and it did not agree with me at all. So I'm not the expert on this stuff. But I do know this: If you're an NFL player, in particular, and you got lot of pain, I don't think there's any question that pot is better for your body than Vicodin," Kerr said. "And yet, athletes everywhere are prescribed Vicodin like it's Vitamin C, like it's no big deal. And there's like this perception in our country that over-the-counter drugs are fine but pot is bad. Now, I think that's changing.

"You're seeing that change in these laws that you're talking about in different states, including California. But I would just hope that sports leagues are able to look past the perception. I'm sure the NFL is worried that their fans are going to go, 'All the players are potheads.'"

Seeing as he works in the Bay Area with Klay Thompson, greenery probably wasn't too hard to find.

"Again, without being an expert on it, but I know enough, especially over the last couple of years having gone through my own bout with chronic pain, I know enough about this stuff," Kerr continued. "Vicodin is not good for you. It's not. It's way worse for you than pot."


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