Ex-Seahawk Lofa Tatupu has joined a growing list of athletes that have gotten involved in the cannabidiol (CBD) business.
The former Pro Bowl linebacker this week announced the launch of his new CBD startup, called “ZoneIn.” The venture, backed by a team of professional athlete investors and partners, seeks to help adults strive for optimum health and wellness in their day-to-day lives.
“The brand, everything, it’s been a brain child of mine ever since the first time I took full-spectrum oil,” Tatupu told SeattlePI.
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CBD, which is found in cannabis, has been identified to be therapeutic — helping a range of ailments including chronic pain and inflammation. But it’s not psychoactive and doesn’t produce the same “high” effect of THC, a related substance.
Use of marijuana and other cannabis-related products among professional athletes, especially NFL players, has been a hot topic in recent years. They’ve been kept on the league’s banned list, however, even as legalization efforts have been growing across the country.
The loudest pro-marijuana/CBD voices have been ex-players. Former Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin told Bleacher Report in an interview released earlier this month that marijuana was the only way he could effectively deal with anxiety during his playing career, telling the outlet, “there’s not a game that I played in that I wasn’t high.”
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Tatupu, who retired from the NFL in 2010 after six seasons with Seattle, said he didn’t start using CBD products until after his playing days, around 2017. But he said that injuries begun wearing him out physically and mentally after performing at the top of his game in the first three seasons of his career, when he made three Pro Bowls and received a first-team All-Pro nod.
He sustained a “number” of concussions during his career, and has had 10 surgeries in his life — eight of which came directly from football. Tatupu said he’s sharper now mentally thanks to CBD and has been able to live a more healthy lifestyle.
“I’m going to be completely honest with you: I feel like I’d be wrapping up my career,” Tatupu said when asked if he was using CBD during his playing days. “I’m not lying, I feel like I could go back out on a field right now. I know what it takes. I know how crazy that even sounds. But for performing at the highest level once in my career — for three years — I know the commitment, dedication and the whole process that it takes. I know that I’m in a better place overall: mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. I would dominate. I guarantee you that.”
ZoneIn, officially launched Wednesday, had been in the works since last December. His goal for the company? To help others experience the health benefits he’s felt.
“When Lofa came to me with the idea of CBD (business), what really struck me wasn’t the fact that this is a massive market or anything like that,” ZoneIn CEO and co-founder Amit Rikhi told SeattlePI. “What Lofa said to me was, ‘I want to change a lot of lives. I want people to experience what I’ve experienced with this product. It helped me out tremendously. We need to get good, quality great products in the hands of people.’”
Added Tatupu: “The mission is to just create a community, create a tribe, that just believes in one another and puts out positive energy and continues to just do well by others and continue to push the health and wellness journey.”
Ben Arthur and Christina Ausley are reporters for SeattlePI. Ben can be reached by email at email@example.com. Christina can be reached at Christina.Ausley@seattlepi.com.