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Calvin Johnson Partners with Harvard for CTE Research on Cannabinoids

Calvin Johnson, the former wide receiver of Detroit Lions who played for years under tough and sometimes traumatic hits on his brain has been leading efforts to ensure that research on brain trauma has a cannabinoids approach.


Johnson has in the past narrated how he watched generations of his family go through a neurodegenerative disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy is commonly known as CTE which has a link to continuous exposure to brain trauma due to their involvement in American football.


To ensure that CTE gets quality understanding, Johnson who co-owns Primitive, a Cannabis company has partnered with Harvard University to develop research on how Cannabidiol or CBD can be used to reduce the effects of the disease.


Cannabidiol is one of the well-researched components of Cannabis Sativa which has shown to have numerous positive effects on the human body. This has been used to control anxiety, pain and treat brain conditions. This has also been well taken by the medical field as well as plant remedy enthusiasts who believe it can even offer more in disease control.


Johnson and his business partner Rob Sims, also a former NFL player have observed that by partnering with the International Phytomedicines and Medical Cannabis Institute at Harvard, there is a chance that they can get quality assured products with the institute mandated to conduct human trials and later explore on the commercialization of any product of research.

Seeking social acceptance for medical cannabis

This collaboration has opened new paths in which products of Cannabis can be used for socially accepted remedies to various health challenges. For example, Harvard University has a continuing study on Pancreatic Cancer that uses cannabinoids to kill cancerous cells.


Equally, former alumni of both Harvard and MIT universities has donated $9 million ($4.5 million to each institution) for research on the science of cannabinoids. This research is not for Cannabis-based products, but to help in evidence-based clinical guidelines in neuroscience and biomedicine.


Back to Johnson, he believes that many NFL players are constantly exposed to painkillers to continue their trade which at some points have detrimental long-term effects. Some players secretly turn to Marijuana to ease pain and fail to disclose this for fear of hurting their career.

Managing CTE and other chronic diseases

It is this pain management for brain trauma that Johnson and colleagues are looking to develop remedies that are based on research, and especially high-level institutions of research like Harvard University.


Continuous exposure to hits and blows on the head exposes football players to brain trauma whose effect is a long and painful journey with the disease. Johnson has seen friends who retire go through the disease and noted how this affects their cognitive behavior.


The research believes a time is coming when former and current football players can just pop a pill and works on their condition. This includes legally and professionally accepted medication for pain as an alternative to the current line of painkillers.


They believe an athlete does not have to worry about it being discovered that they have been using marijuana as a form of either pain management or treatment of chronic brain diseases like CTE or Parkinson’s disease.