SAN DIEGO -- Former NFL running back Ricky Williams has a lot to smile about these days.
He said he’s excited about his latest venture, a line of cannabis-based wellness products being marketed under the name Real Wellness.
"You know, my childhood dream to be a football player has transformed into this adult calling to be a healer and this product line is a manifestation of that," he said.
Williams said the NFL life wasn’t fulfilling enough for him.
"Yeah, I'm a great football player and this is great but I felt like I was entertaining people at most but really distracting people from being present in their lives, you know, drink beer and watch football on Sundays, and that wasn't enough for me, that I want to do something more meaningful," he said.
“When I left the NFL, there was a controversy around cannabis and I was labeled as a pothead and I was evil, bad person. But, truthfully for me, it was the beginning of my healing journey and it feels like I've come full circle," added Williams.
However, the seeds for this latest entrepreneurial endeavor were planted during his time in the NFL.
"It dawned on me that, 'Wow, all of us have to take a pill or a shot every day just to be able to feel good enough to go out there and practice'”, he said, “and I thought, 'That can't be good for us.'"
Williams said he studied Ayurvedic medicine and herbs, and got a Masters in Chinese Medicine, and years after he left the league, everything clicked. Williams said he was working in an Ayurvedic herb lab when the idea of combining cannabis and herbs clicked, and he got to work trying to find a way to help his son’s eczema.
" I took some herbs home and I went in the kitchen and I started experimenting making formulas and they worked," Williams said.
Williams partnered with a laboratory in El Cajon, CA to develop his products, and they’re on sale right now in all 17 legally-operated dispensaries in San Diego County.