A Scrappy Silicon Valley Entrepreneur And His Cannabis-Infused Battle Against Opioids
Greg Rovner isn't your average CEO. He has no college education and opened his first business after high school. He sold that business in 2017, after 20 years, to focus on a new venture he decided to pursue alongside a few friends who’ve been by his side since the fifth grade.
Launched in 2016, Heally is a software solution that connects consumers to knowledgeable medical professionals and high-quality health and wellness products with an emphasis on cannabis.
The idea is straightforward: imagine you want a marijuana card but are concerned about privacy — about people seeing you go into a marijuana doctor’s office or your bosses finding out.
Heally’s “telehealth” platform connects patients with physicians who provide advice and consultation. In states where medical cannabis cards are still needed, patients can obtain one using Heally.
“Heally doctors offer a wide array of specialties including mental health, sports medicine, women’s health, oncology, pain management and more, ensuring that patients can find just the right doctor for their needs,” Rovner said, pointing out the site’s curated marketplace, which includes a selection of local products tailored to customers’ specific needs.
Rovner said he’s passionate about the role Heally is playing in helping people struggling with health challenges such as cancer, insomnia, anxiety and glaucoma.
Heally recently announced a partnership with Athletes for CARE, a nonprofit founded by former pro athletes in 2016 to address critical health and wellness issues facing former professional athletes and the public, to investigate cannabis as an alternative to other pain and anxiety treatments.
Rovner and his partners said they've connected hundreds of thousands of patients with doctors and heard firsthand how their lives have become more comfortable because of cannabis.
“There is nothing more fulfilling than knowing that you have helped someone that is struggling to feel better through the use of natural products and safe alternatives to opiates,” Rovner said.
Pushing Back Against Opioids
Beyond being a resource for wellness, the Helly team likes to see itself as a contributor in the fight against opioid addiction, which claims roughly 100 lives a day in the U.S. alone.
Studies show that cannabis breaks the cycle of pleasure and reward being programmed by opiates.
“That’s why it’s so important for consumers to have access to cannabinoids, no matter what state they live in,” Rovner said. “We have partnered with vetted hemp-based CBD brands that are now able to host and offer their products on our marketplace.
“CBD is going to be a game-changer in this fight.”
Fortunately, it’s not just wishful thinking. Research backs up Rovner’s final claim: a Scripps Research Institute study recently provided evidence that CBD could effectively treat substance addiction.
In the study, researchers gave alcohol and cocaine to rats; they then administered CBD gel to some of the rats. They found that rats who had been given CBD were less likely to relapse or exhibit stress-induced, drug-seeking behavior than the rats who had not been given CBD — even five months after the CBD had left their systems.
Greg Rovner. Courtesy photo.
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