Gronk running new pattern — hawking CBD 

Looking to Rob Gronkoswki for well-considered medical advice feels a bit like turning to Curt Schilling for tips on video game startups. They both excelled as pro athletes, but it’s not clear why anyone should think their gifts on the field translate to brilliant insight in other endeavors.

But no matter. 

Gronk, the devil-may-care party boy who famously spiked a Bud Light while riding in a mid-day Super Bowl parade, emerged yesterday as a modern-day Marcus Welby, here to heal with sober-minded counsel on maladies from A to Z. 

The former Pats tight end will now work as chief pitchman for Abacus Health Products, which makes a line of lotions, creams, and ointments containing CBD, or cannabidiol. CBD is a non-intoxicating ingredient in cannabis and hemp plants, now being touted as the cure for everything from cancer to Alzheimer’s disease. 

Gronkowski, who suffered from an endless string of injuries during his career and endured nine surgeries, says he first tried CBD a couple of months ago at his father’s urging. “I am pain free, and that is a big deal,” he said at yesterday’s announcement, sporting a white t-shirt featuring Abacus’s “CBDMEDIC” logo. 

The hype around CBD is only growing. The evidence for its benefits, on the other hand, lags far behind. 

There is now clear evidence of CBD’s benefit in reducing seizures among children with certain forms of epilepsy. Apart from that very specific use, however, proof of any health benefits is elusive. 

“When I tell [people] we don’t have very much evidence in people, they’re actually surprised,” says Ziva Cooper, director of UCLA’s Cannabis Research Initiative. “There’s actually very little out there to hang our hats on.”

Dr. Jordan Tishler, a Cambridge physician who has a cannabis-focused medical practice, tells the Globe the lotions Gronkowksi will promote have no medical effect. “To boil it down, no, topical CBD doesn’t work,” he says. 

CBD’s legal status is also murky. Hemp-derived CBD was legalized federally as part of a 2018 farm bill, but apart from its use for childhood epilepsy, the FDA has not approved otherwise selling CBD as a dietary supplement or medication. 

But that’s not getting in the way of the billions of dollars companies see in future CBD sales. Lots of celebrities are now hawking CBD, but the Globe says Gronk’s entry “could signal a key moment in the drug’s evolving acceptance among sports leagues and consumers.”

Steve Fox, an adviser to the Cannabis Trade Federation, inexplicably tells the paper Gronkowski’s involvement is “a step toward greater knowledge about the benefits of the substance.” 

“It makes a difference when athletes get involved, given the fact that they generally care about what they put in their bodies,” Fox says. If he could say that with a straight face, he’s worth whatever the trade organization is paying him.

MICHAEL JONAS 


BEACON HILL

Margaret Monsell says legislation that is a top priority of the NRA — the bill would prohibit local gun ordinances — is coming up for a hearing today on Beacon Hill. (CommonWealth)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

Kerry Healey, the former Republican lieutenant governor, 2006 gubernatorial nominee, and president of Babson College, is off to Washington, DC, where she’ll helm the new bipartisan Center for Advancing the American Dream, founded by former junk bond king-turned-philanthropist Michael Milken. (Boston Globe

President Trump has told aides to fast-track billions of dollars in spending, seize private land, if necessary, and ignore environmental rules in an effort to rush construction of a border wall before next year’s election. (Washington Post)

The US Patent and Trademark Office is cracking down on applications from foreigners. (WGBH)

ELECTIONS

Rep. Joe Kennedy says he has “new ideas and a new approach” that he’ll bring to voters should he challenge Sen. Ed Markey. (Boston Globe) Scot Lehigh likens Kennedy to a prince eager to seize his birthright to the crown. (Boston Globe

President Trump dismissed his three Republican challengers as the “three stooges.” (The Hill)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

A UMass Amherst research outpost wants to explore whether a market exists for canned seafood brought to shore in Gloucester. (Gloucester Daily Times)

EDUCATION

The College Board, facing widespread criticism, is dropping plans to include an “adversity score” as part of students’ SAT score. (Wall Street Journal)

North Andover High Assistant Principal Brooke Randall, who signed controversial contracts requiring sexual assault victims to steer clear of their assailant, is up for the position of principal at Peabody Veterans Memorial High School. (Eagle-Tribune)

A financial expert recently hired by Cape Cod Child Development says the nonprofit organization is terminating all of its programs, but not until each child currently enrolled there has been placed in a similar arrangement. The financially troubled agency was already slated to give up its state license to operate preschools in Falmouth and Hyannis. (Cape Cod Times) 

State Education Commissioner Jeff Riley closes an investigation into irregularities on MCAS scores at  a Worcester elementary school and reprimands the principal. (Telegram & Gazette)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

A Seattle Times investigation finds US HealthVest’s brand of mental health care provides plenty of profit but not much quality care. In the wake of the report, Baystate Health scrapped a press conference touting its new behavioral health hospital in Holyoke while it reviews its partnership with US HealthVest. (MassLive)

Massachusetts paid nearly $260,000 in Affordable Care Act penalties in 2015 and 2016. (MassLive)

TRANSPORTATION 

The Baker administration is exploring the possibility of acquiring electric locomotives from Amtrak to provide faster, cleaner service on the Providence commuter rail line. (CommonWealth) A Globe editorial applauds the effort to speed service on the Boston-to-Providence commuter route. 

National Governors Association notes: Gov. Charlie Baker gets a briefing on managed lanes. Plus, reports on autonomous vehicles, barges, and presidential preferences. (CommonWealth)

Lowell officials celebrated construction of a 900-space, $34.5 million parking garage in the city’s Hamilton Canal Innovation District. (Lowell Sun)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

Eastern equine encephalitis has returned to areas of Massachusetts, and it is deadly. (Boston Globe) High schools are shifting football game times from evenings to afternoons to minimize risks of contracting the mosquito-borne virus. (Boston Herald) Beekeepers in southeastern Massachusetts are worried about how the chemical spray intended to kill off mosquitos will harm their hives. (WBUR)

CASINOS

With competition this summer from a new casino in Everett, Rhode Island continues to see losses in its once booming state-sponsored gambling industry. (Providence Journal/Herald News) 

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

Closing arguments ended in Brockton Superior Court on Tuesday in a civil jury trial over a 2012 Kingston crash in which three victims and their families are seeking more than $60 million in damages. (Patriot Ledger) 

Timothy Grover, a 55-year-old Dracut man who founded a drug treatment facility in Lowell, was charged with assault with intent to rape and other crimes after he allegedly entered Lowell High School while highly intoxicated the day before the start of the school year. (Lowell Sun)

Louise Martino, the Winthrop mother of a former private youth hockey coach charged with sexually abusing 10 boys, will plead guilty to threatening the mother of one of those boys. (Salem News)  

MEDIA

Northeastern University professor Dan Kennedy posted The Boston Globe management’s latest statement on negotiations with its employees represented by the Newspaper Guild, in which they warn that profits will disappear if costs to the publication aren’t kept under control. The union responds, saying the offerings are meager, including a 2 percent wage increase for two years. (Media Nation

A reporter at the Eagle-Tribune in Lawrence tried and failed to gain entrance to the building where a Planning Board meeting was being held, so he filed an open meeting law complaint and the agency responded with a series of measures to correct the problem. (Eagle-Tribune)