Article by Kevin Zammit, Lift News
I was a competitive bodybuilder back in 2007 until I fell off a four-wheeler and injured my knee. I had torn my ACL ligament, which wouldn’t heal on its own, so they had to replace the ligament using part of my leg muscle. This left me with a year off work, unable to train, which I love, and OxyContin to control the pain. The pills worked for pain, but it turns out I’m allergic to OxyContin, so the results were ultimately worse. I fell into a deep depression, my stomach hurt from the medication and I had itchy hives all the time from my allergy to the drug.
Healing with cannabis
I already knew cannabis made me feel good, so I thought, “Why am I taking something that hurts my stomach and makes me feel bad, when there’s an alternative?” I didn’t have a prescription and had to go around the law to medicate myself, but it worked. I guess it was a strong enough strain at the time, but I was no longer in pain and stopped using OxyContin right away.
Cannabis was a godsend; I was finally able to eat and started slamming back protein shakes. Eventually I bought a bench and started using dumbbells I had in my basement. Slowly, slowly I was able to walk again, attend my physical therapy appointments and started to feel like myself. Eventually I felt like I could compete again, and when I did, I won first place.
Getting over professional stigma
Sure, I had preconceptions about marijuana. I was the bratty little brother who ratted out my sister for smoking pot! And in my professional life, the bodybuilding and fitness industry looks down on cannabis, which I think is funny considering the amount of steroid use that goes on. That being said, a lot of people actually pat me on the back for being open about how I came back to training, and how I continue to use cannabis to both build and recover. It takes a lot of courage to be honest in our industry. Many people use substances but it’s really secret, everyone’s hush-hush, even if they’re obvious about it.