It’s no secret that Willie Nelson is a proud stoner. But it’s also no secret that long-term marijuana use wreaks havoc on your lungs. And Nelson’s lungs are basically his life.
So the pot had to go.
With the news that Nelson has recently sworn off marijuana, some of his fans and followers are wondering if his shows will be the same without the perpetual high he’s been on since 1954.
At a recent show in Houston, Nelson told the crowd at the Majestic Theater that he has no plans to give up touring. But that he is giving up the marijuana that he admitted is finally too dangerous to smoke.
The 86-year-old explained that getting high is no longer an option for him and his compromised lungs. “I have abused my lungs quite a bit in the past,” he said, “so breathing is a little more difficult these days and I have to be careful. I started smoking cedar bark, went from that to cigarettes to whatever. And that almost killed me.
“I don’t smoke anymore, I take better care of myself today,” Nelson said.
According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, marijuana not only has immediate effects like distorted perception, difficulty problem solving, and loss of motor coordination, but long-term use can cause respiratory infection, impaired memory, and exposure to cancer-causing compounds.
Nelson reportedly smoked his very first joint when he was just 20 years old, and he has been an outspoken advocate for marijuana legalization almost ever since. But his lungs are what breathe life into his legendary voice, the instrument he needs every time he takes a stage.
“Your lungs are the biggest muscle you have got. So when you’re out there working, you are working out,” he shared.
Ironically, in a semi-recent interview, Nelson gave marijuana credit for saving his life. “I wouldn’t have lived 85 years if I’d have kept drinking and smoking like I was when I was 30, 40 years old,” he’d said. “I think that weed kept me from wanting to kill people. And probably kept a lot of people from wanting to kill me, too — out there drunk, running around.”
We’re pretty sure Nelson’s hits about getting high will stand the test of time forever.
But Toby Keith will officially never smoke weed with Willie again.