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Former Steeler Ryan Shazier and Sugarloaf Unveil CBD Products

Partnering with former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker and NFL Pro Bowler Ryan Shazier, Sugarloaf Organics, a hemp cultivation and extraction facility in northeastern Pennsylvania, announced the launch of Steel City Greats Ryan Shazier CBD. 

The products are designed to help consumers improve their quality of life by managing pain, anxiety, and sleeplessness, and they’re legal nationwide.

After being seriously injured during a tackle—at the Dec. 4, 2017 game with the Cincinnati Bengals—Shazier’s recovery from spinal stabilization surgery would lead him to the healing powers of cannabinoids. He started using CBD products to help as he was forced to re-learn to walk, regain his mobility, and eventually overcome his injury. 

“I was looking for a safe, natural alternative to opioid pain medications during my rehabilitation and recovery,” Shazier said in the announcement. “CBD is a natural remedy that allowed me to manage the pain through a difficult time in my life. I am excited to be working with Sugarloaf to deliver quality CBD products nationwide to individuals who may benefit from CBD, but who may not be able to consume medical marijuana for any number of reasons.”

Shazier detailed regaining the ability to walk with Men’s Health—after doctors told his parents he had a 20% chance of walking again. He retired from the NFL in September 2020, started the Don’t Call It a Comeback podcast and even wrote a book about his recovery, called Walking Miracle.

“I want to be there for people who are going through similar struggles,” Shazier said on the company website. “No matter who you are or what you’re going through, we’re all in life together. We need to take care of each other.”

The Steel City Greats Ryan Shazier CBD brand is initially introducing three formulations: CBD-CBG tinctures, CBD Gummies, and CBD Menthol Pain Reducing Cream, which is registered with the FDA. They’re all third-party tested for purity, potency, and safety.

“We decided to partner to create a line of CBD/CBG products based on Ryan’s continued involvement in the cannabis space, specifically his partnership with medical marijuana operator Organic Remedies and his first-hand experience with utilizing cannabis products to aid in his rehab from a major spinal injury sustained while playing professional football,” Gredi Gracari, the Director of Operations/Lab Director at Sugarloaf Organics told High Times. “With CBD being legal federally, it was a perfect match for Ryan and us to create a premium line of CBD products that can reach people nationwide and potentially help a wider audience who may be hesitant to jump to medical marijuana but would still benefit from the other compounds found in cannabis like CBD and CBG.”

Part of the appeal is the introduction of the CBD Menthol Pain Reducing Cream, as anecdotal reports suggest the menthol helps deliver the CBD deeper into the skin.

“One of the products we created with Ryan was our Menthol Pain Cream infused with CBD and CBG, which we have seen work wonders in clinical settings like chiropractors’ offices,” Gracari continued. “The fast-acting menthol combined with the potential long-term benefits of the cannabinoids really combine to make a superior product that patients rely o

Sugarloaf is family-owned and operated. It’s primarily based in Sugarloaf, Pennsylvania. They specialize in bringing responsibly grown hemp biomass and high-quality hemp extracts to the marketplace. Additionally, Sugarloaf Organics provides tolling services for hemp farmers who need their biomass processed into crude oil or distillate, or companies that are in need of private and white labeling services. They put 1200 mg of CBD into one tincture at one point.

Sugarloaf hemp is planted by hand on 30 acres located at the feet of the Appalachian Mountains. The hemp is sungrown and organically farmed, where every stage of the plant’s life is closely monitored. At harvest, plants are also immediately dried and cured on site.

After the flower is de-stemmed, trimmed, and temperature-controlled in-house, cannabinoids are separated from the hemp buds using cryo-ethanol extraction. That method is widely considered to be one of the safest and most efficient ways to do it. Once extracted, all of the ethanol used to strip the plant’s cannabinoids is fully evaporated and recycled using lab-grade distillation equipment, leaving behind 0% residual solvent. 

The oil is purified and distilled twice over to remove all other plant materials outside of CBD, CBG, CBN, THC, and terpenes. Steel City Greats Ryan Shazier CBD products can be purchased online and is legal in 50 states, per the 2018 Farm Bill. 

Courtesy Sugarloaf Organics

Pittsburgh Cannabis Advocates Unite

Beyond hemp products, Shazier’s former NFL home city has been busy. In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s second-largest city, advocates are busy working to legalize adult-use cannabis. In August, two lawmakers introduced Senate Bill 846 to legalize adult-use cannabis in Pennsylvania. SB 846 is a bipartisan effort and was spearheaded by Sens. Daniel Laughlin and Sharif Street. The bill would establish a Cannabis Regulatory Control Board, and allow adults 21 and over to purchase cannabis from retail locations. It would additionally allow medical cannabis cardholders to grow cannabis at home. Lastly it would expunge nonviolent cannabis-related convictions.

High Times reported in 2018 that Solevo Wellness was the city’s first medical dispensary, and is the fourth operating medical cannabis dispensary in the entire state of Pennsylvania. 

Pittsburgh decriminalized cannabis in 2015. Part of the policy shift involved giving law enforcement a choice between arresting people for suspected cannabis offenses or simply giving them a citation. Further downstream the criminal legal system, prosecutors in Pennsylvania’s major cities enacted “decline to prosecute” policies for minor cannabis cases that went to trial.

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