Gronk announced the relationship during a press conference Tuesday:
News 4, WIVB-TV @news4buffalo
"I was not in a good place" says @RobGronkowski of his physical and mental state when he decided to retire. He says his recovery was boosted by CBD, a compound derived from hemp, and says he'll be using his profile to lobby sports leagues. CBD was introduced to him by his dad.🔊 https://t.co/6TGU2afQ4B
He advocated for CBD while saying that he is pain-free for the first time in a decade:
Kristina Rex @KristinaRex
BREAKING: Rob Gronkowski announces his support of CBDMEDC, a CBD product, and implores professional sports organizations to update their position on CBD use. “I was hurt both mentally and physically [from football]...for the first time in more than a decade, I am pain-free.” #WBZ
Gronkowski helped New England win three Super Bowls during his nine-year career, but he dealt with a number of injuries throughout that span. The 6'6", 265-pound tight end suffered a torn ACL, a broken forearm, a herniated disk in his back and multiple concussions, among other injuries.
All of that contributed to him walking away from football at the age of 29.
An emotional Gronkowski discussed how he was "not in a good place" and how "football was bringing me down" as he battled through pain.
One specific example he went into detail about was how he couldn't sleep for more than 20 minutes a night following his team's Super Bowl LIII victory in February because of a thigh injury.
Dan Roche @RochieWBZ
Gronk said he couldn’t sleep for even 20 minutes a night for 4 weeks after injuring his quad in SB53. Was in so much pain. Credits CBD for his pain relief saying, “most safe alternative way players can deal with pain”. Says only when his mind is healed he may go back to NFL https://t.co/igRyAqwwxl
He also credited former teammate Tom Brady for helping him become pain-free, per Dan Roche of WBZ-TV, adding he would welcome the opportunity to talk to the quarterback about CBD.
Gronkowski noted "losing that joy" of playing in the NFL led to him hanging up his cleats—but he did not rule out a comeback. In fact, he left the door open to return to the field at some point down the road, though he doesn't envision doing so in the "foreseeable future":
Mark Maske of the Washington Post reported back in May that the NFL intended to do research regarding the use of marijuana as a potential pain-management tool. As WEEI's Ryan Hannable pointed out, CBD is currently on the list of the league's banned substances.