Bears fans flock to suburban dispensary as legendary QB Jim McMahon's cannabis brand launches in Illinois

Former Bears quarterback Jim McMahon has gone from throwing footballs to pitching weed.

"I do it mostly for pain," said McMahon. "It especially helps me with my headaches. When you’re partaking, you forget about the pain."

The "Punky QB" is part owner of a new marijuana brand that’s just now hitting the shelves in Chicago area dispensaries.

"It’s always good to be back in Chicago. The fans here always treated me well."

It’s been more than 30 years since McMahon last threw a pass for the Chicago Bears. But fans still love the quarterback of the Bears’ only Super Bowl winning team.

McMahon drew a large crowd to the Rise Dispensary in north suburban Mundelein on Monday, as he launched the Chicago-area release of Revenant, a new cannabis brand he owns with two other former NFL players.

"We’ve been big advocates to get the NFL to stop testing for this," McMahon said. "It’s not a drug, it’s a medicinal herb."

Now 64, McMahon’s health struggles since the end of his football career are well documented. He says he suffers from CTE, a degenerative brain disease associated with repeated head trauma. McMahon believes it’s a result of his playing career, including an infamous body slam to the turf by the Packers’ Charles Martin in 1986.

McMahon also walks with a crutch these days, after six surgeries on his foot in the past 20 months. McMahon said he was taking up to 100 Percocet pills a month to deal with his pain, until he went back to pot.

"It saved my life. It’s saved thousands of peoples’ lives by getting off the opioids," said McMahon. "We’ve got a much better quality of life. We can actually remember stuff. You’re not in a fog all the time like you are with opioids."

McMahon said he sees a brain specialist every few months to monitor his CTE. But he said he’s no longer having thoughts of suicide.

"I had a lot of bad thoughts, like guys who actually acted out. I’ve had teammates who have taken their own lives, and I had the same thoughts myself. And this is… it opened my eyes to a new way of life. A life without pain, a life without these bad thoughts."

As for his old team, McMahon said he doesn’t keep track of the Bears much anymore. And when asked whether he has any advice for current quarterback Justin Fields — "I Wish him luck," said McMahon with a laugh. "It’s tough being the quarterback here. This city’s about defense and who’s your running back? That’s the way it’s been for 100 something years."