• By Chris Ward •
Former Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Ryan Shazier is entering the medical marijuana business. Shazier partnered up with Organic Remedies, a medical marijuana cultivation and research organization based in south-central Pennsylvania, to create a product line to help patients improve their quality of life by managing pain, anxiety, and depression. Shazier and Organic Remedies hosted a launch party attended by colleagues, family, and friends on Thursday night at Monterey Bay Fish Grotto in Pittsburgh.
Shazier’s product line will initially introduce several new strains of dry flower, labeled as Shalieve, Walking Miracle, Speed, and #50. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Ryan Shazier Fund for Spinal Rehabilitation. Based in Carlisle, Pa., Organic Remedies cultivates and manufactures safe, effective medical marijuana products for certified Pennsylvania patients. Dispensaries are located in Chambersburg, Enola, North Side of Pittsburgh, South Side of Pittsburgh, Paoli, and York.
Shazier is among a slew of retired athletes who’ve turned to medical marijuana as a remedy instead of opioid drugs to treat pain. In 2017, Shazier suffered a career-ending spinal cord injury that nearly paralyzed him. Shazier was prescribed painkillers as part of his treatment, but found medical marijuana as a safer cure to treat his pain, depression, and anxiety.
“I was looking for a safe and natural alternative for my pain management. Medical marijuana came into play and was a huge catalyst and benefit for my recovery as I was regaining my mobility,” Shazier wrote on Twitter in promotion for his new product line.
Prominent former NFL players Joe Montana, Marshawn Lynch, Rob Gronkowski, Calvin Johnson and Ricky Williams are also in the medical marijuana business. In a 2016 survey of 226 of the NFL’s nearly 3,000 players on active rosters or practice squads, ESPN found that 61 percent believed that players would take fewer injections of strong anti-inflammatory drugs such as Toradol if they could treat pain legally with marijuana. In another study, ESPN reported that 71% of 644 NFL players surveyed misused opioids.
Shazier admits there is still a stigma associated with medicinal marijuana.