Opioids or cannabis for pain management? Montel Williams has strong opinions

After being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis around 1999 and struggling with opioid addiction to manage the pain, Montel Williams says that finding cannabis was a game-changer.

Williams shares with Yahoo Lifestyle that he “took a journey down opioid lane for a year and a half, just trying to shut the pain down to the point that I was walking around in a pseudo-suicidal state.”

After two suicide attempts, Williams decided to turn his diagnosis from a “death sentence” into something he could “thrive at.”

He said shifting from opioids to cannabis was what that turned his life around. “The journey that I took with cannabis — it changed my life,” he says.

Williams adds: “That was probably one of the greatest things that happened in my life because that made me understand that I don’t need to take a pill. I was able to function on a daily basis and still mitigate my pain.”

And he’s clearly onto something. An eye-opening study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association compared opioids, such as Vicodin and oxycodone, to non-opioid pain relievers, such as Tylenol and ibuprofen, to see whether the prescription drugs were better at treating chronic back, hip, or knee pain. Surprisingly, they were not.

In addition, a March 2018 study published in the European Journal of Internal Medicine found that cancer patients who participated in a medical marijuana treatment program for chronic pain found significant relief. The study revealed that nearly 96 percent reported an improvement in their condition, with the vast majority experiencing a dramatic reduction in pain, as well as lower levels of anxiety and depression.

Williams, who has relied on cannabis for 17 years, is not only an advocate for the drug, he also founded Lenitiv Labs, a medical cannabis company, to help others.

While he understands that cannabis isn’t for everyone, Williams believes the drug should be made available to anyone who might benefit from it. “For every person with MS, marijuana isn’t a savior,” he says. “If you’re a person who has no benefits and has found no benefits, I’m not trying to force it on you. But therefore, you shouldn’t be denying me the opportunity to do the same.”

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