Willie Nelson says he's given up marijuana for his health

Willie Nelson is known for many things, from his iconic lyrics — having written for artists such as Patsy Cline and Bob Dylan — to his own powerhouse performances of odes to life on the road. But he is also well known for his habitual use of marijuana.

However, the 86-year-old musician and activist has reportedly put his rolling papers down. 

In a recent interview with KSAT, Nelson, who has a few arrests under his belt for possession, revealed that he has stopped smoking marijuana due to his health.

“I have abused my lungs quite a bit in the past, so breathing is a little more difficult these days and I have to be careful," the Grammy-winning artist said. “I started smoking cedar bark, went from that to cigarettes to whatever... And that almost killed me.”

However, Nelson credits switching to marijuana with saving his life. 

"I wouldn’t be alive. It saved my life, really. 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. I think that weed kept me from wanting to kill people," Nelson told Rolling Stone this year.

Related: Willie Nelson photos

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AUSTIN, TX - JULY 04: Singer-songwriter Willie Nelson performs onstage during the 44th Annual Willie Nelson 4th of July Picnic at Austin360 Amphitheater on July 4, 2017 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Rick Kern/WireImage)
DETROIT, MI - JULY 08: Willie Nelson performs during The 2017 Outlaw Festival at Joe Louis Arena on July 8, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Scott Legato/Getty Images)
AUSTIN, TX - JULY 04: Singer-songwriter Willie Nelson performs onstage during the 44th Annual Willie Nelson 4th of July Picnic at Austin360 Amphitheater on July 4, 2017 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Rick Kern/WireImage)
SPICEWOOD, TX - MARCH 16: Willie Nelson (R) and Bobbie Nelson perform in concert during the Luck Reunion at Luck, Texas on March 16, 2017 in Spicewood, Texas. (Photo by Gary Miller/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - FEBRUARY 16: Singer-songwriter Willie Nelson performs in concert as part of the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo at the AT&T Center on February 16, 2017 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Rick Kern/WireImage)
AUSTIN, TEXAS - DECEMBER 31: Lukas Nelson (L) and Willie Nelson pose backstage before their New Years Eve concert at ACL Live on December 31, 2016 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Gary Miller/Getty Images)
AUSTIN, TEXAS - DECEMBER 31: Willie Nelson performs in concert at ACL Live on December 31, 2016 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Gary Miller/Getty Images)
KAHULUI, HI - NOVEMBER 30: Lukas Nelson (L) and his father, Willie Nelson, perform on November 30, 2016 in Kahului, Hawaii. (Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images)
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA - OCTOBER 23: Willie Nelson performs during the 30th Anniversary Bridge School Benefit Concert at Shoreline Amphitheatre on October 23, 2016 in Mountain View, California. (Photo by C Flanigan/FilmMagic)
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA - OCTOBER 23: (L - R) Willie Nelson, Neil Young and Dave Matthews performs during the 30th Annual Bridge School Benefit Finale at Shoreline Amphitheatre on October 23, 2016 in Mountain View, California. (Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)
American country singer Willie Nelson takes a drag off a joint while relaxing at his home in Texas, 2000s. A large amount of marijuana is spread out on the table before him (Photo by Liaison/Getty Images)
SIERRA BLANCA, TX - NOVEMBER 26: In this booking photo provided by the Hudspeth Country Sheriff's Department, musician Willie Nelson is seen in a booking photo November 26, 2010 in Sierra Blanca, Texas. Nelson was arrested for possession of marijuana and released on $2,500 bond. (Photo by Hudspeth Country Sheriff's Department/WireImage)
Singer Willie Nelson performs at an evening event as part of the 'In Performance at the White House' series on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC on November 6, 2014. AFP PHOTO/YURI GRIPAS (Photo credit should read YURI GRIPAS/AFP/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - APRIL 16: Trace Adkins and Willie Nelson backstage during Keith Urban's Fourth annual We're All For The Hall benefit concert at Bridgestone Arena on April 16, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum)
L-R: American musicians Minnie Pearl, Ray Charles and Willie Nelson smile together at an unidentified event, 1980s. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Willie Nelson, Kermit the Frog, Judy Collins and Paul Williams at the Song Writers Hall of Fame Awards at the New York Sheraton Hotel and Towers. June 14, 2001 Photo: Scott Gries/ImageDirect
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The news of Nelson quitting smoking cannabis may be shocking to his fans, as he has been a longtime advocate for the legalization of weed, and serves as the co-chair of the advisory board of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. The artist also worked with a New York-based private equity firm to develop Willie's Reserve in 2016, marketed as a "premium cannabis lifestyle brand," which is sold where recreational use of marijuana is legal.

"Willie Nelson has never made any bones about it," Willie's Reserve's mission statement reads. “The cannabis culture is a way of life for him. And he has always operated under a simple philosophy: My stash is your stash.”

For years, fans have flocked to Nelson to share their stash and try his, including celebrities. But apparently few can keep up, including Toby Keith, who wrote the 2003 hit, "Weed With Willie," with lyrics that include, "I'll never smoke weed with Willie again." Jack Johnson's song titled, "Willie Got Me Stoned," with lyrics indicating that Johnson got so stoned that Nelson "took all my money," shared a similar sentiment.  

Even Snoop Dogg said Nelson is "the only person that's ever smoked me under the table."

But Willie Nelson fans shouldn’t despair: Despite his recent health issues, including battles with pneumonia and emphysema, Nelson has no intention of quitting touring, and even refers to his tour bus as “home.”

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