Montel Williams: Israel leads in medical marijuana

October 31, 2011 By ARON HELLER , Associated Press
Emmy Award-winning television personality Montel Williams speaks during an interview with the Associated Press in Jerusalem, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011. Williams says Israel is at the forefront of providing patient access to medical marijuana. Williams was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1999. He has since been an outspoken advocate of medical marijuana to relieve pain caused by disease. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

(AP) -- Emmy Award-winning television personality and patient activist Montel Williams said Sunday he was impressed with Israel's liberal attitude toward medical marijuana, and he believes the U.S. could learn a thing or two from the Jewish state.

Williams was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1999 and he has since been an outspoken advocate of medical marijuana to relieve caused by the disease.

The former host of the popular long-running talk show "The Montel Williams Show" is in Israel on a fact-finding mission to learn about its medicinal cannabis practices. He is meeting with legislators, scientists and physicians.

At the height of his TV career, Williams was one of the most recognizable faces in America alongside fellow daytime TV hosts , Phil Donahue and Geraldo Rivera.

"We need to get out of the dark ages and into the new ages," he told The Associated Press. "Not every patient can use cannabis, but for those who can - why deny it?"

In Israel, certain doctors can approve cannabis prescriptions and disperse them to patients, said Itay Goor-Aryeh, the head of the pain management unit at the Sheba Medical Center in central Israel.

He said that while marijuana use is strictly regulated, many doctors prefer prescribing it to patients who qualify because it is "the lesser of evils."

"Those patients, if they do not get cannabis, they will get morphine-like drugs and other harmful drugs," said Goor-Aryeh. "I think that in many ways, cannabis is tolerated and is less addictive that morphine-based drugs."

Sixteen U.S. states have decriminalized the use of to some extent. Critics claim dispensaries are often no more than fronts.

Williams said that those merely seeking to smoke pot won't go through the lengthy bureaucratic process when they could just "go down the street."

Williams, 55, said he takes cannabis on a daily basis.

"For me, there is nothing else that can do what it does," he said. "It helps me suppress my pain ... When I am not using I am thinking about my pain every 45 seconds."

He said the drug has been "vilified to substantiate the false reason why it was banned in the first place," and that he hoped it would one day become a regular prescription drug.

"There are chemicals within that plant," he said, "and some of the leading science on where and how those chemicals work is being done right here in this country," referring to Israel.

shares

Related Stories

Recommended for you

In most surgery patients, length of opioid prescription, number of refills spell highest risk for misuse

January 17, 2018
The possible link between physicians' opioid prescription patterns and subsequent abuse has occupied the attention of a nation in the throes of an opioid crisis looking for ways to stem what experts have dubbed an epidemic. ...

Patients receive most opioids at the doctor's office, not the ER

January 16, 2018
Around the country, state legislatures and hospitals have tightened emergency room prescribing guidelines for opioids to curb the addiction epidemic, but a new USC study shows that approach diverts attention from the main ...

FDA bans use of opioid-containing cough meds by kids

January 12, 2018
(HealthDay)—Trying to put a dent in the ongoing opioid addiction crisis, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday slapped strict new restrictions on the use of opioid-containing cold and cough products by kids.

Taking ibuprofen for long periods found to alter human testicular physiology

January 9, 2018
A team of researchers from Denmark and France has found that taking regular doses of the pain reliever ibuprofen over a long period of time can lead to a disorder in men called compensated hypogonadism. In their paper published ...

Nearly one-third of Canadians have used opioids: study

January 9, 2018
Nearly one in three Canadians (29 percent) have used "some form of opioids" in the past five years, according to data released Tuesday as widespread fentanyl overdoses continue to kill.

Growing opioid epidemic forcing more children into foster care

January 8, 2018
The opioid epidemic has become so severe it's considered a national public health emergency. Addiction to prescription painkillers, such as oxycodone and morphine, has contributed to a dramatic rise in overdose deaths and ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.