When former Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier suffered a terrifying injury during a 2017 game against the Cincinnati Bengals, he didn’t know that trying to walk again would lead to even more battles during his recovery.
As his journey progressed from paralysis to relearning how to walk, Shazier not only had to deal with pain, but also depression and anxiety that grew from mourning the loss of football in his life.
After being prescribed opioid-based painkillers, he realized he wanted to find alternatives to the highly addictive drugs.
Shazier discovered medical marijuana and found it to be a safer alternative. He knew he had hit upon something.
The products worked so well that he decided to launch a line of medical cannabis products to help others looking for opioid alternatives.
Shazier partnered with Organic Remedies in January, introducing Steel City Greats at a launch party Jan. 26 at Monterey Bay Fish Grotto atop Mt. Washington in Pittsburgh. The line is geared to help patients manage pain, depression and anxiety, all of which Shazier dealt with during recovery.
In an effort to reduce the stigma that exists surrounding medical marijuana, Shazier has spoken publicly about the benefits of legal cannabis.
“Because of this stigma, many patients suffering from a wide array of health conditions are not comfortable discussing medical marijuana
with their health care providers,” Shazier said. “As we lessen the stigma, more patients will be able to benefit from this natural remedy and may find they can live an improved quality of life.”
The cannabis line includes several new strains of dry flower labeled as #50 (his former jersey number), Speed, Shalieve and Walking Miracle.
Shazier said turning to medical marijuana for pain management after the injury helped to change the trajectory of his recovery.
He spent two seasons on the Steelers’ physically-unable-to-perform list. He retired from football in 2020.
He said he continues to use medical marijuana for pain and other symptoms.
An undisclosed portion of the proceeds from the new line will benefit the Ryan Shazier Fund for Spinal Rehabilitation. Its mission is to provide caregivers and individuals with spinal cord injuries the funding, resources and support they require to live more independent and meaningful lives.
“Ryan has found purpose in his life by inspiring and helping others suffering with spinal injuries, and he is committed to providing funds through the sale of his product line that will help others receive the care they need to help them on their life’s journey and live an improved quality of life,” said Shazier’s public relations coordinator Chloe Lascara. “Ryan is hoping his advocacy for the restorative properties of medical marijuana will change misperceptions and myths surrounding medical marijuana.”
God had a bigger plan for me, and I am using my blessings to help others through ventures such as my partnership with @Or_Remedies which allows me to share Steel City Greats to help those in need of pain management, depression, and anxiety reliefhttps://t.co/YnHcaWgvgj pic.twitter.com/VPeDqPe1YT
— Ryan Shazier (@RyanShazier) January 27, 2023
The products are available only in Pennsylvania.
Shazier’s products are sold at six Organic Remedies dispensaries, including two Pittsburgh-area stores at 7402 McKnight Road in the North Hills and 5002 Library Road in Bethel Park.
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