4 cannabis products TV legend Montel Williams can’t live without
Montel Wiliams is a US military veteran and TV legend most famous for his talk show The Montel Williams Show (Montel) that aired in syndication from 1991 to 2008. He’s also well-known for his medical cannabis advocacy. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1999, Montel has been using cannabis to combat neuropathic pain from the disease for over 20 years. During that time, he has used his celebrity and resources to raise awareness around not only the disease, but also people’s civil right to medicate with cannabis.
“Whether it be adult use or medical, I think everybody who gravitates to cannabis, even if they won’t admit it themselves, has an underlying medical reason for gravitating towards [it] instead of alcohol and everything else,” he said during our recent Zoom interview.
Since retiring from Montel, Williams has been busy as ever. He currently hosts a show called Military Makeover with Montel, where he goes to the homes of deserving veterans and uses community outreach for home makeovers from the ground up, airing every Friday morning on Lifetime. He also hosts a second show called Military Makeover: Operation Career, in which companies who hire veterans are featured. In addition to television, he hosts two podcasts: Let’s Be Blunt with Montel available on iHeartradio (or wherever you get your podcasts) and Free Thinking.
On celebrity treatment and the fight for Michael Thompson
If you Google Williams, you’ll find stories of him being arrested for weed, but those stories are simply not true. “I was never really arrested. In Detroit, I was written a summons in the airport and let go. Two days later, the judge threw the entire thing out with prejudice. Same thing happened in Wisconsin. I was detained at the airport, let go three days later, then the judge threw it all out with prejudice. I was detained at the airport in Germany by Interpol, and on the spot, let go, and given back my cannabis to take with me on my trip. [I was] asked, ‘Please don’t smoke this in the airport.’ So I have been detained; I’d rather talk about it that way rather than saying ‘officially arrested,’ because I really was not.”
Asked how he escaped Germany without issue, Williams said, “The Interpol was like, ‘We just passed a law [in Germany] that makes cannabis legal in January. Please, I’m so sorry, I know who you are, I know what your advocacy is, I see you have a card and a doctor’s permit, but we have not passed the law yet. You’re not in Germany yet, you’re in the airport, it’s an international space. So please do not consume this here.’ Would that have happened to me had I not been Montel? I’m not sure; literally one of the officers had Googled my name standing right there in front of me.”
In knowing the power of celebrity, Williams has been trying to use his resources in all areas of restorative justice. Most recently, in his work with the Michigan Cannabis Prisoner Relief Campaign. This campaign’s goal is to raise funds and awareness for Michigan cannabis prisoners and their families. This is an effort stemming from a partnership with Montel Williams, Last Prisoner Project, Redemption Foundation, and The Cannabis Caucus of the Michigan Democratic Party. They’ve focused on the cases for Michigan’s Michael Thompson, who was sentenced to 20 years for selling weed to a police informant, Rudi Gammo, who was sentenced to 5 and a half years for allowing his tenants to grow cannabis but are available for any-and-every prisoner still in jail for crimes that have since been legalized.
On how this work came about, Montel says “The Last Prisoner Project reached out to me and made me aware of Michael’s situation when they found out that Michael tested positive for [COVID-19]. When I started looking into his case, it felt so ignorant that in a state where there are people now making money off of cannabis, how the heck can you keep a person in prison for doing less than the people who are doing it legally now? When you say you have to pay the price for what you’ve done, he’s paid the price tenfold. He’s been in prison for 20 years now. And then you have [Governor Gretchen Whitmer] that says she supports restorative justice but does nothing to prompt the parole board to do what they should’ve done months ago.”
Michael Thompson has been taken to a hospital with #COVID symptoms.
Michael and I are both black men who have been arrested for pot in Michigan.
I got the white glove treatment.
He is now Michigan’s longest serving NON VIOLENT offender.
Unfortunately, Michael Thompson and Rudi Gammo are still locked up. To support the Michigan Cannabis Prisoner Relief Campaign and their efforts to release those harmed by the dreaded War on Drugs, click here.
4 products Montel can’t live without
Being such a long time cannabis consumer and advocate, it was only right that, in addition to his professional and social work, we discuss some of his favorite smokeables. Here are the four weed products that Montel Williams can’t live without.
Asked about his consumption habits, Williams said, “I try to get at least 500 milligrams of CBD in my body per day, and I’ve noticed that my THC consumption has gone down. I haven’t needed it as much to deal with some of my ongoing struggle with MS, though I continue to use it on a day-to-day basis.”
He prefers his own CBD products, which are available at montelwilliams.com.
“I want to always have a vape pen on call, just in case something is about to happen and I need to take it down a notch. That’ll be part of my regimen until the day I’m no longer here.”
Williams loves a good hit of kief — he uses his pipe at least once a week. “I stopped consuming flower almost 20 years ago. I like the cleanliness of kief because it doesn’t have some of the other deleterious parts of the plant mixed into it. You’re guaranteed no stems, no sticks, no seeds. But at the same time, kief is probably the area of the plant that holds the most trichomes.”
Blue Dream + GSC kief
When asked about his favorite strains, Williams answered, “I was, and still am a GSC (formerly known as Girl Scout Cookies) and Blue Dream kief fan with the two of them mixed together. I do believe that cultivars have different ratios of cannabinoids and terpenes, and when you start mixing them together, you can find the combination that works for you.”
Image courtesy of Montel Williams. Graphic by David Lozada/Weedmaps.
We spoke with the former talk show host about cannabis’ medicinal potential, the need for social justice, and how to live well.
How CBD Changed the Life of TV’s Montel Williams—And How He Wants It to Change Yours, Too
For nearly two decades, Montel Williams was arguably the face of daytime television. The Emmy-award winning talk show host enthralled audiences with content that evolved from tabloid topics to stirring stories, hosting guests that ranged from famous psychics to mothers reuniting with lost children. More than a decade after the taping of his last show, the bold and brash traits that made Williams a star on TV are being put to different use, and the same face that appeared on screens across the country is now plastered across bottles of CBD oil.
Williams is one of CBD’s most high-profile advocates. But the decorated veteran of both the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Navy is more than just a fan of the benefits of CBD—he’s both a consumer and a creator of products he says are “safe, effective, and of premium quality.”
The TV talk show host gets a dose of reality
By all accounts, 1999 should have been a pretty good year for Montel Williams. The Montel Williams Show was a ratings hit, Williams had a recurring role on a network TV series, JAG, and he had just filmed a guest appearance on another long-running TV drama, Touched by an Angel. But just months after shooting that guest spot, Williams experienced what he describes as a “sharp and 24-hour neuropathic pain” in his feet and legs and received a Multiple Sclerosis (MS) diagnosis. Throughout his life, Williams had experienced random bouts of vision loss and muscle pain, which he now knows were early signs of MS.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, MS is a disease of the nervous system that affects the brain and spinal cord by damaging the myelin sheath and the coating that encompasses the nerve cells. It results in visual disturbances, muscle weakness, balance impairments, numbness, and a pins-and-needles sensation. The cause of MS remains unknown to this day.
After his diagnosis, Williams struck up a passion for MS advocacy, launching the Montel Williams MS Foundation to raise money for research. He also became interested in cannabis law reform, fighting on Capitol Hill for change that would remove the stigma around medical marijuana and loosen up regulations.
Advocacy turns into entrepreneurship
Fed up by dispensaries that provided a poor experience and even worse product, Williams decided to take things into his own hands, launching the LenitivLabs brand in 2016. Originally focused on oils for vaping or ingestion and a drink, the products were largely THC with different concentrations of CBD added. As we’ve talked about with the entourage effect, pairing cannabinoids can bring out the best components of each. But as the company expanded, they began offering more CBD-focused products and solutions.
Now branded as Montel Hemp Extract and produced by Select CBD, the capsules sold on MontelWilliams.com feature what the company calls “unique and revolutionary formulations combining the holistic effects of CBD and plant-based terpenes.” The brand manufactures and distributes an Alert line, which users take in the morning—and a Relax line, that the company designed for evening use. Each capsule also contains 50mg of CBD, which is considerably higher than most other options on the market.
Williams isn’t shy about the fact that he’s a regular user of his own product. His personal routine is posted on the site, and included in that routine is an Alert capsule and a Relax capsule. Williams also eats a healthy diet of anti-inflammatory foods and exercises regularly, both of which he credits with helping to manage his pain. With Williams as a daily user, it’s no wonder why Lenitiv focuses so much on quality.
The company has strict growing guidelines which indicate how and where they plant and nurture their seeds, ensuring a superior product. Montel capsules also feature proprietary terpenes appropriately infused depending on the product line.
For instance, Alert features terpenes known to “aid anxiety; depression; pain management; act as an anti-inflammatory; soothe stress; and promote alertness and memory retention.” Meanwhile, the terpenes in Relax can “enhance mood; promote relaxation and restful sleep; quell anxiety, depression, and insomnia; and act as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.” The company then packages the finished product in a way intended to maintain its freshness and quality.
For residents in states where it is legal, Williams’ company also cultivates six THC oil products with different THC:CDB ratios. Those products comprise pure cannabis oil and cannabis-derived terpenes.
Fighting for responsible CBD and fighting for his image
In April 2017, Janet Burns, a Senior Contributor for Forbes, published a story on Williams. In that piece, Burns chronicled Williams’ experiences with MS, how he fell in love with cannabis-based treatment, and Lenitiv’s founding as a result of the many less-than-reputable retailers in the marketplace. Williams has lauded the work for the well-written piece of journalism that it was, but unfortunately, he wasn’t the only one who thought it was an ideal vehicle to spread the message of CBD’s benefits.
As Burns pointed out in a follow-up piece for Forbes, both she and Williams were soon peppered with comments from people who had spotted their names, photos, and word-for-word pick-ups of the article slathered across other sites. Williams filed suit, alleging that at least three companies used his likeness and celebrity status to sell their CBD products online—products that Williams had never even tried, let alone endorsed.
The person behind the three companies was Timothy K. Isaac, a former competitive bodybuilder in Scottsdale, Arizona, who had once come under fire for selling Viagra online that he sourced from China. Isaac would even serve a short prison sentence after pleading guilty to a slew of charges from the Viagra case, including Introducing Misbranded Drugs into Interstate Commerce.
In April of this year, there was an announcement from Williams’ camp that a settlement had been reached and that a confidential agreement was in place to end the claims that Williams endorsed Isaac’s products.
Setting the standard of excellence
Williams’ advocacy for cannabis use in this country does not end in the facilities that package up his products. The 63-year-old continues to fight for increased access to high-quality hemp-derived CBD and cannabis-rich THC oils.
Williams has spoken at length about how abusing the painkillers he was initially prescribed for MS caused two failed suicide attempts, adding that trading opioids for marijuana changed his life. In a time where CBD is gaining more momentum and entering the public consciousness at a rate we’ve never seen before, it’s good to have a guy like Montel Williams on your side.
Montel Williams has long advocated for access to cannabis derivatives. Now a brand bearing his name is promising consistent quality for everyday wellness. Read about his story, and his CBD products here.