Former NFL player Nate Jackson said he believes the NFL should allow players to use marijuana, according to a report from the Associated Press.
Recreational marijuana use is legal in Colorado and Washington State but is still considered an illegal substance in the league.
At a marijuana business conference in Denver, Jackson said he used marijuana instead of painkillers, the report says.
Jackson said he did not use marijuana before games or practices, according to the report, but that it helped him recover and that he considers it a "performance-inspiring drug."
Jackson also said he thinks most NFL players use marijuana, the report says.
"It kept my brain clean," Jackson said Wednesday during the Cannabis Business Executives Breakfast that kicked off a three-day conference titled "Sports, Meds and Money."
"I feel like I exited the game with my mind intact. And I credit that to marijuana in a lot of ways and not getting hooked on these pain pills that are recklessly distributed in the league when a guy gets an injury," Jackson said.
"They're aware that probably over half of their players smoke weed. They've been doing it since they were teenagers. The fact that they've been doing it that whole time and still made it to the NFL and are able to satisfy the demands of very, very strict employers on a daily basis means that their marijuana use is in check," Jackson said. "Marijuana is not a problem in their lives."
"I don't ever think the league will come out with like a marijuana banner. They're never going to say, 'Hey, marijuana, it's great for everyone!' But I think what they will do is remove it from the banned substances list and stop punishing people for it," Jackson said. "It actually keeps it in the news more when it is a banned substance than if it weren't.
"Josh Gordon's in the news for weed. These other guys are in the news for weed. That wouldn't happen anymore."
Jackson, a tight end, played for the Denver Broncos from 2003-08.