Taking a Hit with Ricky Williams and Dr. Staci Gruber

United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
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About This Episode

How are attitudes toward cannabis changing? On this episode, Neil deGrasse Tyson and co-hosts Chuck Nice and Gary O’Reilly discuss the future of marijuana and its effects on mental health with former football player turned cannabis professional, Ricky Williams, and Harvard Medical School and director of the MIND Program, Dr. Staci Gruber. 

We explore the failed drug tests that lead to Ricky’s early departure from the NFL after winning the Heisman Trophy. Was Ricky actually ahead of his time? We learn about shifting attitudes toward marijuana and the athlete push for cannabis. We also discuss Sha’Carri Richardson and Brittney Griner, the need for more progress, and how weed’s dark history of racism needs to be examined. What is the current stance on players failing tests? 

How does it help with pain management? Mental health? Learn where Ricky has taken his career, his companies Highsman and Real Wellness, and where he finds purpose. Is getting high always a negative thing? Why do so many look to the cosmos while engaging with marijuana? Discover Maxwell’s demon, blippies, and blerds.

To end, we get into the science from Staci. Is it true that cannabis makes you less motivated? Or is that just a stereotype? What’s it like in countries where weed is legal? We explore amotivational syndrome, terpenes, “couch lock,” and famous potheads. Was Carl Sagan a heavy pot user? Discover the endocannabinoid system in the body, neurotransmitters and receptors, and how cannabis hijacks them. 

NOTE: StarTalk+ Patrons can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free.

About the prints that flank Neil in this video:
“Black Swan” & “White Swan” limited edition serigraph prints by Coast Salish artist Jane Kwatleematt Marston. For more information about this artist and her work, visit Inuit Gallery of Vancouver.

In This Episode

  • Host

    Neil deGrasse Tyson

    Neil deGrasse Tyson
  • Co-Host

    Chuck Nice

    Chuck Nice
  • Co-Host

    Gary O'Reilly

    Gary O'Reilly
    Broadcast, Sports Analyst, former Professional Footballer
  • Guest

    Ricky Williams

    Ricky Williams
    President of Highsman and Professional Astrologer
  • Guest

    Staci Gruber

    Dr. Staci Gruber
    Neuroscientist at Harvard Medical School and Director, Marijuana Investigations for Neuroscientific Discovery (MIND) Program (McLeanHospital)

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