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8 famous people you didn't know were cannabis patients

8 famous people you didn’t know were cannabis patients

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In the world of cannabis, not everyone can be Snoop, Seth Rogen, or Willie Nelson. There are cannabis users, patients, and just everyday fans who may be fans, but don’t make it a big part of their public persona. For these famous medical cannabis patients and supporters, it is something that can improve quality of life and which should be made readily available to anyone in need. 

1) Patrick Stewart 

Patrick Stewart uses topicals and edibles for his arthritis (Shutterstock)

While it may be unwise to captain a Starfleet starship when under the influence, actor Sir Patrick Stewart OBE is an avowed user of medical marijuana, which he has stated he uses on a daily basis to treat arthritis – and he doesn’t even get high from it. 

In 2019, Stewart called on the UK government to ease the restrictions surrounding cannabis-based medicines, and said in a statement that “the moment I started using cannabis-based cream it worked and I could feel an immediate reduction in discomfort. It meant I could grip my hands and hook my thumb around the steering wheel of a car again. I also take a chewy (cannabis pill) at bedtime and this has really helped, too.”

Stewart said that he gained access to medical cannabis while living in California and that it’s “perverse” that opioid prescriptions are given out so much more readily than cannabis. 

He also made a point of noting that while the cannabis creams and spray he uses have reduced stiffness and pain in his hands, and have helped him sleep – they do not get him high.  

“People think I must be getting high all the time. Nothing is further from the truth.”

2) Megan Rapinoe

If you think cannabis makes you lazy, you should watch Megan Rapinoe play (Shutterstock)

The outspoken captain of the US soccer team, two-time Women’s World Cup champion and 2019 FIFA Womens’ World Player of the Year also has another title – cannabis advocate. 

Rapinoe has stated that CBD has played a big role in training and recovery, and has done the same for her twin sister Rachel Rapinoe, a former professional soccer player and CEO and co-founder of the CBD company Mendi.

In an interview with Forbes in October, 2019, Rapinoe said of CBD that “I wanted a healthier, more natural option for pain management, sleep aid, relaxation while flying, and general recovery.”

In an AP article on athletes who use CBD, Rapinoe said that she takes CBD after training and before bed and that “I feel it gives me a better night’s sleep and I feel like I’m able to relax a little bit easier. So, I kind of just have it in my daily routine, like I would eat healthily and take natural products and drink a lot of water and take CBD and get as much sleep. It’s kind of the secret sauce.”

3) Steve Kerr 

The coach supports using cannabis for sports-related injuries, particularly back pain (Wikimedia Commons)

Dubbed by SFGate “The Coach Who Rolls the Best Blunts in the NBA,” Golden State Warriors Coach Steve Kerr has admitted to using marijuana to cope with nagging back pain. 

“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 said in a 2016 interview. He added that “I tried it, and it didn’t help at all. But it was worth it, because I’m searching for answers on pain. I’ve tried painkillers and drugs of other kinds, as well, and those have been worse. It’s tricky.”

So while Kerr may not be a successful medical marijuana patient, he remains an outspoken advocate of it, including for professional athletes.  

“I do know this: If you’re an NFL player, in particular, and you get a 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 this perception in our country that over-the-counter drugs are fine but pot is bad. Now, I think that’s changing.” 

4) Tommy Chong

Possibly the most famous face for Cannabis, Tommy Chong used cannabis to help ease recuperation from rectal and prostate cancer (Shutterstock)

The fact that the Cheech and Chong co-star and stoner culture icon smokes cannabis is not a newsflash, and arguably the opposite may be worth reporting. But Tommy Chong’s use of cannabis as a personal medical treatment is far less widely known. 

As Chong explained in a 2019 interview, after he received a prostate cancer diagnosis a few years earlier – while he was locked up in jail on a cannabis paraphernalia charge – he began treating it with traditional pharmaceuticals. Chong told Forbes that after he was cast on Dancing With The Stars, the stress and strain of the dancing built up and led him, in his estimation, to develop rectal cancer as well. 

Chong said that medical cannabis helped him get off opioids and other “heavy drugs” and that he is now cancer-free. He was careful to note that this does not mean that cannabis cured his cancer, just that it played a major role in his recuperation process. 

Chong’s personal journey with cannabis, from full-throttle enthusiast building a van out of weed to a medical cannabis patient, paints a picture of how cannabis can be a diversion, a good time, and a beneficial medicine – all for the same person. 

5) Whoopi Goldberg

Goldberg has her own cannabis company for glaucoma-induced headaches (Shutterstock)

How much cannabis would you need to sit through the filming of an episode of The View?

For The View co-host and actress Whoopi Goldberg, cannabis provides relief from glaucoma-induced headaches, which she detailed in a 2014 post on the Cannabist entitled “My vape pen and I, a love story.”

In 2016, she helped cofound “Whoopi & Maya,” a business that made wellness products for women, including THC and CBD-rich topicals and tinctures. Goldberg and company parted ways in 2020, but in May 2021 Goldberg announced the launch of “Emma & Clyde,” a new cannabis brand named after her mom and brother, in an interview that was featured on the cover of the first issue of Black Cannabis magazine.  

For Goldberg, cannabis is comfort and relief. Or as she wrote in The Cannabist, “The high is different, too. It feels like a gentle, warm breeze at the beach. It’s like someone undoing a vise grip, very slowly. It’s not overpowering — and I’m certainly not looking for that high high. I’m looking for relief.”

6) Olivia Newton John

Cannabis helped her ease with the symptoms of cancer (Shutterstock)

“Let’s get medical [cannabis], medical” might not have made much sense in 1981, but for the British-Australian singer who recorded a number 1 hit in 1981 with Let’s Get Physical, cannabis has been a central part of her health regimen for years. 

In 2019, Newton John detailed her use of cannabis to cope with the symptoms of cancer and stated that everyone should have access to medical marijuana. 

“It’s helped me incredibly, with pain, with sleep, with anxiety. Particularly when I had to wean myself off morphine and I used cannabis which is not going to kill you as opiates can,” Newton John said. 

In April 2020, the Olivia Newton John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre announced the launch of their first medical cannabis clinical trial and called for more research of the plant and its potential benefits. 

7) Morgan Freeman

Morgan Freeman says only cannabis helps reduce his fibromyalgia pain (Shutterstock)

God created cannabis, so it only makes sense that God would be a fan of the plant. 

The star of Shawshank Redemption (he also played God in Bruce Almighty), Freeman is an outspoken advocate of medical cannabis, which he uses to treat pain from fibromyalgia. 

“I have fibromyalgia pain in this arm, and the only thing that offers any relief is marijuana,” Freeman told the Daily Beast, adding that “they’re talking about kids who have grand mal seizures, and they’ve discovered that marijuana eases that down to where these children can have a life. That right there, to me, says, ‘Legalize it across the board!’

When asked about his preferred intake methods, Freeman said “How do I take it? However, it comes! I’ll eat it, drink it, smoke it, snort it!” 

And while cannabis has yet to become legal across the board since Freeman gave that 2015 interview, it’s closer than ever before. 

8) Michael J. Fox

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research has been vocal in its support for medical cannabis (Shutterstock)

For an actor who once played America’s most famous young conservative, Michael J. Fox has a very supportive approach to the use of medical cannabis. The Canadian actor and star of Back to the Future first disclosed he has Parkinson’s Disease in 1998, and has become arguably the most famous advocate for patients coping with the disease. And while he has not publicly stated that he has used cannabis to treat Parkinson’s Disease, research has shown that cannabis can potentially be effective in treating the symptoms of the disease. 

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research has also been vocal in its support for medical cannabis, and in 2019 urged the US Congress to lift barriers to cannabis research. 

“Right now, more research is needed to better understand if cannabis (including marijuana and CBD products) could treat Parkinson’s disease. Restrictions, including marijuana’s status as a Schedule I controlled substance, have blocked robust research into its potential therapeutic benefits for Parkinson’s. Removing these barriers to research will allow scientists to determine if medical cannabis may safely and effectively help people manage the symptoms of Parkinson’s,” the foundation stated. 

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