Over a 15-year NFL career, Jim McMahon took his share of lumps, and he now has the chronic pain to prove it. In addition to the usual aches, the 56-year-old former Bears quarterback suffers from (according to the Chicago Tribune) early-onset dementia, severe headaches, depression, memory loss, and vision and speech problems.

To combat the pain, if not all of his ailments, McMahon had been on a steady diet of painkillers, to the tune of 100 Percocet pills per month. But he’s kicked that habit, thanks to what he describes as a much safer and more effective remedy: medical marijuana.

“They [the pills] were doing more harm than good,” McMahon told the Tribune. “This medical marijuana has been a godsend. It relieves me of the pain — or thinking about it, anyway.”

After a successful referendum in Arizona, where he lives, legalized medical marijuana in 2010, McMahon switched away from a pharmaceutical regimen that he had been on since his playing days. “Back then it was painkillers. I played my whole career on painkillers,” he told ABC7 Chicago. “I’ve had 18 surgeries, so pretty much everything on me hurts.”

McMahon was in Chicago this week as part of celebrations of the 30th anniversary of the Bears’ Super Bowl XX win. His comments on pot use, though, come at a time when Illinois is considering expanding its qualifications for medical marijuana use to include chronic pain.

“I don’t smoke all day long, you know. It’s usually in the morning. Mornings are rough trying to get up out of bed,” McMahon told ABC7. “It’s been quite a few years so I don’t feel it impairs me at all. I can still function, still talk to people, do whatever I got to do.” …
“It’s a lot easier on my body and I can get through the day without a problem. It doesn’t have any side effect. You don’t get constipated, you don’t get woozy and feeling weird. For me, it works,” McMahon added.

The former quarterback has said in the past, such as in the video above, that his current condition leaves him with regrets about about pursuing a professional football career. But he told ABC7 that while he regrets “trying to play through some of the stuff” that he did, he “would do it all again.”