Montel Williams' Battle With Multiple Sclerosis And The Miracle Of Medical Marijuana

It was the year 2000. "The Montel Williams Show," one of the longest running talk shows in television history, was at its prime, making millions for CBS Corporation CBS. Montel was on a plane flying to Utah to record a guest part for "Touched by an Angel," when he felt like his feet had suddenly caught on fire.

That sensation has stuck with him for 17 years. It's caused by his multiple sclerosis.

For nearly three years following that flight, Montel visited dozens of doctors and received prescriptions for uncountable opioids. At one point, he realized he "had not efficiently gone to the bathroom for about 60 days."

Related Link: How Marijuana Can Help Treat Addictions To Opioids, Other Rx Drugs And Alcohol

"I looked at my hand and I had seven Oxycontins. I had a problem, a big one," Montel said during his keynote speech at the Viridian Cannabis Investment Series at the John Jay School of Criminal Justice in New York City back in March.

An addiction to opioids is difficult to break, but Montel assures he's an individual who doesn't "really have an affinity for opioids." So he went to yet another doctor in search of an alternative.

Miracle Of Medical Marijuana

This doctor, one of the most respected MS experts in the United States, told him something in confidence.

"You can never say I told you this," the doctor warned Montel. "I have some patients that I know use cannabis. I'm not going to say I told you to do it, but you might want to give it a try. For your kind of pain, it might work."

"From that day on, I have not gone one day in my life for the last 16 years without consuming some form of cannabinoid product. Period," Montel said.

He now functions perfectly and runs five successful businesses.

A Trail Blazed By Patients

Fast forward to 2017. It's the so-called green rush that's in its prime now. As cannabis gets legalized across the U.S. and around the world, and social acceptance of the plant surges, investors and entrepreneurs are racing to get into the legal marijuana industry. But it's important to understand and remember that the trail "was blazed by patients." And it wasn't an easy one to transit.

"Remember the patients back in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004 who were dragged out of their houses because they were growing only three plants, trying to live," Montel said, in a heated tone. "So, sorry. Am I angry? I am angry," he said, perhaps rightfully so. Over the years, he has faced multiple instances with law enforcement officers due to his choice to treat MS with cannabis.

Related Link: Front Range Biosciences CEO Explains How Tissue Culture Can Help Marijuana Cultivators Drive Efficiency And Scale

Air Trouble

The first time he was faced with such tribulations was in 2001, when he was arrested going through an airport in Detroit, Mich., with a 100-percent clean pipe.

"Not one soul, not one person stepped up to back [me] up," Montel said, adding that the judge in charge of the case then dropped the charges because the TV host had all of his papers and prescriptions in order, and had thus not broken any laws. Nonetheless, the media reported the incident with little mercy.

Almost a decade later, Montel was going through the International Airport in Milwaukee, Wisc., when TSA agents found an empty pipe, which his father-in-law, who doesn't consume marijuana, had given him for Christmas. Once again, the incident made headlines.

This time, when the case went to court, it was assigned to a judge who had a family member who also used cannabis to treat his multiple sclerosis. Not only did this judge drop the charges, but he also made a public statement defending Montel's practices. Cannabis was already recognized as medicine in several states in the U.S.

Another five years or so went by. Montel was going through an airport in Germany with a very small amount of kief. It was so small "it had gone through six airports" with nobody noticing, he said. When they found it in Germany, Interpol stopped Montel; a picture of the incident showed up on TMZ.

It took Montel years for people to get to accept the fact that he was medicating with cannabis, and not just smoking pot for fun.

"As a patient, the only way I can survive every single day, I don't have the right to travel with," Montel said. This is what he has been working on for the last few years: Getting people to understand this is medication, not just something to get high on.

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