Former Detroit Lions player Calvin Johnson wants to fight pain with cannabis nanotechnology

DETROIT, MI –A former Detroit Lions player is hoping to bring a more natural path to healing with a cannabis-focused research company.

Calvin Johnson Jr., who played as a wide receiver for the Detroit Lions, is the co-founder of Primitiv, a cannabis research company currently focusing on nanotechnology. Johnson highlighted the company’s work as part of Cannabis Insights, a cannabis-focused conference hosted by MLive on May 18.

Johnson co-founded Primitiv with Rob Sims, another former Detroit Lions player, after originally turning to cannabis to deal with pain and injuries incurred during the NFL.

“Cannabis was one of those things that is a natural substance,” Johnson said.

Primitiv, which opened its first retail location in Niles, Michigan earlier this year, takes a wellness approach to its research and products, Johnson said. The company currently sells a range of flower, edible, live resins and CBD products.

“We’re here to serve in every capacity,” Johnson said. “…It’s more than about the money that’s coming in — it’s how you affect your community. How do you build a better quality of life?”

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The company has paired with Harvard University to research how cannabis can help manage pain. A product they hope to bring to market soon uses nanotechnology to create cannaboid emulsions with increased bioavailability.

“Basically the nanoparticle is so small that it’s able to bypass the intestinal tract and go straight to the bloodstream and go straight to work,” Johnson said. “So that’s exciting for us.”

Getting down to the “science of how many ways we can apply this plant” is what has intrigued Johnson, he said.

“It’s not a panacea; it’s not a cure-all. But if you learn about your endocannabinoid system and understand how it affects and regulates your body, there’s a lot of thing this medicine can help with.”

Despite innovating new technologies, Johnson’s main goal is to provide consumers with natural healing. The company is also meant to reflect a return to natural medicine, Johnson said.

“Cannabis is a juggernaut when it comes to plant medicines, but there’s a lot more out there,” Johnson said.

Find Primitive online or on social media.

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