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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.