Montel Williams: MS, Marijuana And Miracles
Former talk show host Montel Williams has broken barriers wherever he went. He was in the Marines, The Navy and even when he started his talk show, “The Montel Williams Show,” which made Williams the first African-American man to host a syndicated daytime talk show, ran for 17 seasons. And to think, for the majority of his career in front of the camera, he dealt with and is still living with multiple sclerosis (MS). The health advocate has successfully fought the chronic disease for over a decade and managed to bypass its crippling effects.
Williams enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps upon graduating high school in 1974. He completed Boot Camp at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina, where he was promoted to platoon guide. After boot camp, he was sent to the Desert Warfare Training Center at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, near Palm Springs, California, where he placed in the Naval Academy Preparatory School (NAPS) at Naval Station Newport, Rhode Island. He completed the one-year NAPS course and was accepted to the four-year officer training program at the U.S. Naval Academy as part of the Class of 1980.
He left the Regular Navy at the rank of Lieutenant Commander, and his personal decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, and the Navy Achievement Medal. But unlike other soldiers, Montel went above and beyond and reached out to thousands of parents, educators and business leaders, encouraging them to work together to address youth issues, trends and to inspire youngsters to reach their highest potential. These efforts to reach out to the community eventually led to his talk show, the “Montel Williams Show”.
Williams, who is also a retired Navy officer, has multiple sclerosis, a disease that causes his immune system to attack the insulation around his nerves. It produces intense, burning sensations from his head to his toes.
Every morning, Williams takes a fistful of pills to ease the pain. He supplements this cocktail with cannabis, which he started using after his diagnosis in 1999. The drug has been shown to improve symptoms in patients suffering from MS, according to a summary from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
According to Business Insider, in April 2017, Williams became a “ganjapreneur,” launching a line of cannabis products. Lenitiv Labs makes high-quality, user-friendly marijuana products designed for medical users. They’re available in over 30 dispensaries in California.
The company uses a type of cannabis extract made from compressing carbon dioxide at high pressures, a process that does not require chemical solvents or artificial additives. The oil and drinks come in three formulas that vary the ratio of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, and CBD, a chemical compound thought to be responsible for many of the drug’s therapeutic effects, so patients can control their doses with precision.
Williams has since described how he’d take long commercial breaks backstage, where he could cry from the pain in private. “[I would] let it go, refocus, come back out and sit down, and do another interview with a person,” he told Oprah Winfrey in 2009. “I was doing that every day.”
After his diagnosis, Williams jumped in front of a taxi in New York City in an attempt to kill himself. Around the same time, he started using cannabis — specifically kief, a fine powder made from the plant’s dried resin glands — to help manage his pain and mood. Depression is one of the most common symptoms of MS, according to the NMSS.
“Instead of letting MS control my life, I work to control my disease with healthy eating, exercise and [medication] injections,” said the health advocate in a recent interview. “Through diet and exercise, I’ve been able to reduce my MS symptoms and flare-ups.”
Now, Williams is literally on the front lines, try to lobby government leaders to make this drug legal to help people like him instead of locking up our brothers and sisters for it.
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that attacks the brain and spinal cord characterized by muscle weakness, eye pain and…