David Wells is known for pitching a perfect game and helping two franchises win the World Series, but now he is ready to create a legacy beyond baseball. Wells has become an outspoken advocate of CBD oil -- medical marijuana without elements that produce a high -- including its use by professional athletes.
For years, Wells says he was like many athletes who took painkillers such as Percocet on a regular basis: Sometimes after surgery. Sometimes just to get through another start while dealing with the grind of pitching. Sometimes recreationally. He continued using these painkillers even after he ended his 21-year MLB career in 2007. Then he tried CBD (cannabidiol), and Wells says he hasn't touched an opioid since.
Wells had grown weary of the drugs' after-effects -- "I feel like crap" -- and turned to CBD after watching a 60 Minutes story about how it helped cure a young girl in Colorado who was suffering 300 seizures a week.
"I wish I knew about it back when I played because I would've been all over it," Wells told ThePostGame's David Katz in an exclusive interview. "I would've took those risks. If they tested me -- 'hey, you got marijuana in your system' -- I'll bring it to them: This is what it is. Dissect it. Take it in a lab and see what it's about."
Wells' endorsement of CBD comes at a time of growing acceptance for marijuana. Six years ago, California voters decisively rejected a ballot measure that would have legalized recreational marijuana use in the state. Next week, a similar measure, Proposition 64, is expected to pass, which will allow state residents to have marijuana for personal use.
California is one of nine states that will be voting on such legalization this year. Oregon, Colorado, Washington and Alaska have already legalized marijuana for recreation, while 26 states, including California, have approved it for medical use.
But professional athletes living in those states are still subject to sanctions from their leagues if they are caught testing positive for marijuana. According to Dr. Allan Frankel, a leading authority on cannabis medicine, this is an outdated approach and leagues need to stop testing.
"Sports and cannabis has a very wonderful future," Frankel said. "Safety: We can't knock our brains around and not try something. CBD, as it has been patented for neuro-protection, we know it helps healing concussions and so many other disorders, why in the world would we not give CBD to our professional athletes? To me, we're going to be looking back at this, and history is going to show that the right path was putting people that are batting their heads against other batted heads on CBD is the most rational thing we could think of.
"Currently, if you're a solider in Israel and you have a head injury in the battlefield, you get CBD on the battlefield."
Wells is such a believer that he has invested in a company, Greensticks, that produces electronic vaporizers to dispense CBD and other plant-based medicines.
Wells, who won the World Series with the Blue Jays in 1992 and the Yankees in 1998, had a career high of 20 wins in 2000 for Toronto. By then, his use of Percocet had increased.
"I'd say probably from '99 on, probably 75-80 percent of the time I was on it," he said.
Now Wells maintains an active lifestyle, full of golf and hunting and coaching high school baseball near his home in San Diego, without opioids.
"I just turned 53," Wells said. "I'm three-and-a-half years painkiller free. That's pretty good."
Check out the video above for more of Wells' story and a deeper look at CBD.