For The Past 17 Years, Montel Williams Did What The FDA Won’t: He Made Marijauna A Medicine

Montel Williams Medical Marijuana

After being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 2000, Montel Williams set out to find the safest, most effective form of medicinal marijuana for treating his disease and others, and to bring that product to the masses. After 17 years of nonstop research and advocacy, those goals are finally in hand with the launch of his new, medical-grade line of cannabis oils and products–but don’t expect him to slow down anytime soon.

Now serving medicinal cannabis patients in California (and other states soon), Lenitiv Labs is the product of nearly two decades of research spanning multiple continents and continuous, very personal investment by Williams. As founder, the retired naval officer, former TV host, and ongoing entrepreneur has guaranteed to personally try every batch of cannabis concentrate he sells, having spent years learning how other companies process the plant for use in ‘medical’ products.

He explained by phone that the medicinal and recreational booms have also brought a huge rise in the number of different cannabis producers, all operating under fluctuating, often ill-defined regulatory standards. “We’ve got a lot of ‘garage scientists’ in the industry, who are well-meaning people–I don’t think anyone gets up in the morning, goes to the garage, and thinks they’ll make something poisonous that could hurt people,” he said.

Montel Williams Medical MarijjuanaMontel Williams medical marijuana patient, with his wife

After being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 2000, Montel Williams set out to find the safest, most effective form of medicinal cannabis for treating his disease and others, and to bring that product to the masses. After 17 years of nonstop research and advocacy, those goals are finally in hand with the launch of his new, medical-grade line of cannabis oils and products–but don’t expect him to slow down anytime soon.

Now serving medicinal cannabis patients in California (and other states soon), Lenitiv Labs is the product of nearly two decades of research spanning multiple continents and continuous, very personal investment by Williams. As founder, the retired naval officer, former TV host, and ongoing entrepreneur has guaranteed to personally try every batch of cannabis concentrate he sells, having spent years learning how other companies process the plant for use in ‘medical’ products.

He explained by phone that the medicinal and recreational booms have also brought a huge rise in the number of different cannabis producers, all operating under fluctuating, often ill-defined regulatory standards. “We’ve got a lot of ‘garage scientists’ in the industry, who are well-meaning people–I don’t think anyone gets up in the morning, goes to the garage, and thinks they’ll make something poisonous that could hurt people,” he said.

“But some are misled, some don’t do the research, and some don’t understand how long it’s taken to get here, and just work from bits and pieces of the extant literature,” he continued. “If you looked at how some of these products are processed, you would not give it to your mother or your child. So why do we call it medicine?”

Williams, whose company recovers active and medicinal chemicals like THC and CBD from cannabis plants using the ‘green method’ of supercritical fluid extraction (SFE) with C02, noted that the butane, hexane and flavoring used to process much consumer-grade cannabis can leave unwanted traces behind. “With specialty beers, sure–include all the novelty junk you want. But if you call it medicine, and give it to anyone with a serious disease such as MS, epilepsy, fibromyalgia, and on and on, you must believe that they’re walking in that door trusting that it will work, and not do them harm.”

“A lot of these doctors never signed the Hippocratic oath,” he added. “I spent time in the military, and I believe in oaths. If I wouldn’t put something in my body, I won’t sell it to you for yours.”

It was not long after Williams formally retired from the military that he was diagnosed with MS, and began his search for an effective treatment. “In the first year, I was put on a myriad of medications, most of them opioid-based, only to affect one symptom, which was pain,” he said. “Then I started taking another, which was supposedly immune-system modifying. I tried homeopathic remedies, and everything I could think of, and almost destroyed my intestines with opioids.”

In 2001, one of his doctors, a renowned one in the area of MS, told Williams off the record that some of his patients had reportedly seen benefits from using cannabis. “A credible doctor told me not to stick a needle in myself every day, not to take four pills a day, but to try cannabis. It took about two and a half months to switch over, and I’ve had cannabis in my system every day since–except for about 40 when I was traveling in a country that strictly prohibits cannabis, and I had to use MARINOL, one of the most insidious drugs ever created, with strange side effects at any dose, on any body.”

When he was diagnosed at the age of 43, doctors told Williams that his life expectancy would likely be cut in half. Today, at 60, Williams eats healthily and exercises frequently, making sure to stretch and crack out the characteristically stiff joints which, he suggested, may have inspired a Chinese term for MS: roughly, “the statue disease.” He also keeps himself “saturated with cannabinoids,” he said, which increases his flexibility, helps with pain, and increases nerve-protective neuroplasticity in the brain, but never gets him high. By first prognosis, he said, “As an African-American male, I should be dead.”

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