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NFL stars team with Harvard for cannabis CTE trial

August 19, 2019

Two former NFL stars are teaming up with researchers from Harvard to discover the benefits medical cannabis may have for treating chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

Calvin “Megatron” Johnson and Rob Sims began a brand called Primitive and have gotten approval for a marijuana dispensary. Johnson and Sims donated six-figures to the International Phytomedicines and Medical Cannabis Institute at Harvard in aid of the study of CTE.

“We can be in a position to develop a treatment for CTE”, Rob Sims told ESPN.

“There's been suggestion that CBD (cannabidiol, a compound in cannabis) and stuff can help cognitive disease, and we think that potentially there could be a treatment going forward that we can produce.”

What is CTE?

CTE is a degenerative brain disease linked to repeated blows and concussions to the head. As you’d imagine, getting hit in the head is not great news for the brain. Due to the nature of the game, NFL stars are in a horrible position to suffer severe hits to the head and subsequently develop CTE. However, CTE is commonly diagnosed only after death. Many players walking around today don’t even know they have it.

In 2015, a report published by Dr. Ann McKee found that many NFL players suffer from CTE. In her studies she examined over 202 deceased football players, 111 of which played in the NFL. Of those 111, there were 110 who showed signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

CTE can cause a plethora of symptoms, including memory loss, depression, confusion, and dementia. Many players, so worried about their own risk of CTE and with few treatment options available to them, have taken their own lives. By working closely with Harvard, Primitive is hoping that it can expand its brand while also getting help and assistance for those people most vulnerable to CTE.

RELATED: NHL to sponsor landmark CBD study

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