Three-time Super Bowl champion Rob Gronkowski is the latest big-name athlete to enter the CBD space.
The former New England Patriots tight end has teamed up with CBD company Abacus Health Products, Inc. (CSE:ABCS) to promote products and advocate that the cannabinoid is a safe alternative for NFL players to deal with pain.
The 30-year-old known as “Gronk” announced his retirement in March after enduring countless injuries and nine surgeries over the last decade. The five-time Pro Bowler is calling on the NFL and other sports leagues to allow the use of CBD to treat injuries.
“I was hurt both mentally and physically from football,” Gronkowski said in a press conference. “For the first time in more than a decade, I am pain-free.”
Rhode Island-based Abacus will task Gronkowski with promoting brand awareness with its CBDMedic product line for now. By 2020, the company said the two will launch a “Gronk-inspired” line of nutrition and wellness products to further bolster awareness.
“These products changed my life. I wish I had been able to use CBDMedic while I was playing. It would have made a huge difference in my pain management during my career,” Gronkowski said on the company’s website.
Gronk wants athletes to have CBD access
Cannabis of any kind, including CBD, is strictly prohibited in the NFL and Gronkowski wants the hemp-based extract to be removed from the league’s list of banned substances.
“I’m here to appeal to the sports governing bodies to update their positions on CBD [so it can be used by all players], whether that’s the NBA, MLB or NFL. It’s just time,” he said.
In May, the NFL and its player’s association announced two joint agreements that would offer resources for pain management and behavioural health, which will include CBD studies and cannabis therapies.
But Allen Sills, the league’s chief medical officer, said “the goal of this effort is well beyond marijuana—it’s to look at pain treatment,” warning players the CBD research won’t mean they can start using it on a regular basis.
Edmonton-based Aurora Cannabis (TSX:ACB) partnered with the UFC this year, to research the use of hemp-derived CBD as an effective treatment for pain, inflammation, wound-healing, and recovery on MMA athletes. The company plans on conducting peer-reviewed scientific trials to advance CBD research and develop products, which could also be a catalyst in loosening sports leagues’ cannabis policies.
For Gronkowski it’s important to get the message out how CBD changed his life, as he feels it can help many others who are looking for safe, pill-free solutions to managing pain.
Abacus CEO Perry Antelman said he thinks Gronkowski’s zeal for CBD and life makes him a perfect fit to represent its brand of products.
“Gronk’s passion for living life to the fullest while maintaining a healthy, natural, and pain-free lifestyle aligns perfectly with the mission of our company,” Antelman said in a statement.
As part of the deal, Gronkowski will be paid an upfront fee as well as shares in the company and future royalites from the future brand rollout.