Former Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski said Tuesday that he is partnering with a Woonsocket maker of CBD products that the retired football star credits with relieving his chronic pain from a bruising career.
Gronkowski, who walked away from the NFL in March at age 29, said at a news conference in New York that he will advocate for professional sports leagues to allow active players to use CBD products, which are generally banned.
"For the first time in more than a decade, I am pain-free, and that is a big deal," Gronkowski said. "I'm here today to appeal to the sports governing bodies of the world to update their position on CBD, whether that's the NBA, MLB or NFL. It's just time."
Gronkowski added that CBD "would have made a huge difference for me, I believe, during my playing career."
CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a chemical found in cannabis plants. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC — another chemical found in cannabis plants — CBD is non-psychoactive.
Many CBD products derive the chemical from hemp, a cannabis plant that has lower levels of THC than marijuana, offering users the perceived health benefits of cannabis without a "high."
"While CBD is being studied as a treatment for a wide range of conditions, including Parkinson's disease, schizophrenia, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and anxiety, research supporting the drug's benefits is still limited," according to the Mayo Clinic.
Gronkowski is taking an ownership stake in Rhode Island-based Abacus Health Products, which merged with a Toronto firm earlier this year. The combined company operates under the Abacus name but trades on the Canadian Securities Exchange.
Abacus makes topical ointments and plans to launch a line of edible products next year, in partnership with Gronkowski.