Dr Oz Recap: Doctor Oz Smokes Out the Medical Marijuana Debate! Guest Montel Williams

On the Dr Oz show today, Doctor Oz focused on the hot debate concerning medical marijuana. His guest was Montel Williams, who has been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and who is fighting for legalized medical marijuana, since it provides relief for his condition. Additionally, Montel says that no more plaque has formed in his brain, leading to the conclusion that using marijuana has halted the progression of his MS. He is fighting to help find a cure for multiple sclerosis, and says it’s time for the federal government to make medical marijuana legal!

Montel took a shot at President Obama on today’s show as well, saying that the president has never worn a uniform and Montel has…so how dare the President deny him the use of a medicine that works for his condition.

Another guest on the show, Dr. Andrea Barthwell who is a former director of the White House National Drug Control Policy, says that she co-chaired a study that reviewed the literature on the safety of medical marijuana. Their study found that one: they can’t support the use of smoking any drug; two: wherever medical marijuana is in use, the illegal use of it expands and three: young people are the most vulnerable to that.

Another guest, Dr. Donald Abrams, who is an oncologist and a medical marijuana researcher, says that his patients are fighting for their lives. As far as smoking it, he considers it an “inhaled” drug, like those used by asthmatic patients. He and Montel insist that smoking marijuana appears to even decrease the risk of lung cancer!

Then Dr. Oz went back to Dr. Barthwell, and said that she has been involved with a company who is looking at taking some of the elements of marijuana and purifying them. Montel jumped in and said no, she was hired by a medicinal marijuana company from outside of the United States to ensure that patients outside the U.S. have access to safe and effective medicine, as opposed to people here at home. Dr. Barthwell said that the products have not passed the FDA, because our standards are different from those in countries where those products have passed, such as the U.K. and Canada.

An audience member who works as a school nurse pointed out that in areas where marijuana has been legalized for medical use, the perceived risk of using it goes down, so use goes up in the kids. They don’t think there’s anything wrong with it because it’s prescribed by doctors.

Dr. Barthwell’s greatest fear for legalized medical marijuana is having a medicine available outside the closed loop of FDA approval (which regulates its dispensation) causes patients to have to buy it from street vendors.

Montel pointed out that prescription medications like Oxycontin, Percocet, Adderall and Valium are the most addictive and abused substances out there, especially among high school kids. The audience applauded.

So the question becomes, is marijuana addictive? Dr. Shahla Modir joined the show. She is a psychiatrist who treats addicts, and she says that 40% of the addicts she treats have a medical marijuana card. Dr. Modir explained that an addict can get a medical marijuana card in California because there are no restrictions as to what conditions can be treated with marijuana. So anything goes…if you find the right doctor you can get a card just for having PMS!

Dr. Oz says it makes sense to prescribe marijuana for chronic pain associated with a disease, glaucoma, the nausea and weight loss associated with HIV or cancer. But prescribing it for PMS, anxiety, stress, headache, insomnia and irritability does not make medical sense.

Then we got into a hot debate with several audience members and Montel regarding whether medical marijuana was addictive, whether the government has a right to dictate whether a doctor can prescribe it or not, etc.

Dr. Oz said his medical team researched it, and it appears that for 1 in 10 people it’s addictive. Doctor Oz asked Dr. Barthwell if tobacco is more addictive than marijuana, why is it legal and pot isn’t? She did not have a good answer: “It is because it is,” she said. Nice!

Then Dr. Oz said that research shows young people who try marijuana are 8 times more likely to use cocaine, 15 times more likely to use heroin, and five times more likely to end up treated for substance abuse. So…it’s a gateway drug, but Dr. Abrams said there’s no demonstration of any cause and effect between the use of medical marijuana and other hard drugs.

In terms of this issue coming to your state, Dr. Oz had an audience member speak up. He was Allen St. Pierre, the director of NORML, a group working to legalize marijuana. He says four states are taxing medical cannabis: Oregon, Colorado, Rhode Island and Maine. That helps bail out their budgets, and could help it get legalized in other states because they need the revenue.

Doctor Oz summed up that if we’re going to make medical marijuana legal, then we need to make it legal. “It’s not fair to pass laws that make it look like it’s legal, and then not be able to give people what they need,” he said. States need a system to control who can prescribe marijuana and who can use it. Marijuana is not as addictive as other drugs, “but it’s darn addictive,” he said, and it needs to be strictly regulated.

Fundamentally, Dr. Oz says it should be used to give patients their lives back, not to take their lives away.

I couldn’t agree more and I think Dr. Oz hit the nail on the head. I will say this about Montel Williams. He didn’t seem to be able to speak very coherently on the subject. He would start out to say one thing, then get sidetracked onto another topic. Maybe that’s his MS, and maybe that’s his marijuana use, I don’t know. But he was not as well-spoken as any other person on the show which I don’t think helped his cause very much.


  1. andrea says

    I am suffering from MS I would give anything to just find the right doctor that has my best interest at heart, Montel not staying on task during his comments is very common in MS patients. I drive my husband crazy because I cant have a complete conversation. I have pain all the time and from the amount of over the counter pain meds, I will most likely have bleeding ulcers in the near future. When I was first diagnosed I had a Doctor say yes you have MS but your a complicated case and I am not going to treat you. How would you like someone to say that, I don’t have much faith in any doctor anymore, I am tired of hurting and may have to fix it myself..

  2. sngie says

    There is something to be said about people who have addictive personalities. They must try everything that is out there. I have lived with such a person.
    Me on the other hand, I recognize addiction and mine is food. Marijuana? since I was 30 I have been smoking it, stopping for short period of times 3 months and long periods of time, 2-3 years. When I don’t want to do it, I do not crave or even desire it. I have stopped for pregnancy, breast feeding, jobs, too much weight gain, because it really really makes you eat,, getting ready to use teeth whitner, and sometimes just because I’m sleeping too much. Yes it is a plant and yes I can say as a gardner there are plants that are very POISIONOUS, this is not 1 of them. I stopped again 21/2 months ago to whiten my teeth and I’m a little tired of it. Although, I don’t sleep quite as well. I’m 63.

  3. Darlene says

    My daughter was diagnosed with fibromyalgia several years ago. since that time she has been on oxycontin for pain many medications for anxiety and for helping her to sleep. She doesnt sleep, is not pain free and has anxiety and depression. Because of the meds she doesnt have an appetite so she doesnt eat properly. She cant urinate properly and doesnt get a period. Smoking marijuana eased her pain and helped her sleep but when she goes to her pain management doctor they urine test her and if she shows positive for marijuana they wont give her the meds she needs. My daughter is far healthier smoking marijuana then taking all those other drugs that dont help and make her worse in many ways. I know she is now addicted to those pain meds. You cant help but get addicted to them when you take them every day several times a day.

  4. williie Bowen says

    I was addicted to morphine and Oxycontin that started with vicodin, for a back injury. The narcotics caused extreme bowel problems and changed my personality. It was recommended that I try marijuana. I can tell you, it gave me my life back. It did not eliminate the pain but it did make it manageable. It is a blessing.
    Apparently, our government does not want people to use it even it costs 8 million dollars to fight a 50 billion dollar business. It is just greedy government control issues and pharmaceutical companies that make it illegal.

  5. Rob Ennor says

    11.18 comment –

    I think that’s the point that opponents miss. To either experience the pain or watch another experience it, it’s hard to understand why people wouldn’t want to see that pain eliminated or minimized. Arguing that cannabis is bad and forgetting that narcotics are worse seems quite illogical.

    Selling seeds as was shown in that California retailer’s business, seems completely over the top. It’s probably time for the Ca. legislature to look at what other states did as all of this evolved. Maybe Ca. ought to be reeling in their program.

  6. de says

    As a cancer patient that has extensive nueopathy and bone pain from all the chemo and other drugs that have been pumped into my system I can say from experience as a legal medical patient…
    I do not smoke but do use cannibus in eatible forms. It is amazing the difference since starting this. I am completly of pain meds and can actually sleep at night for up to 4-6 hours without leg and arm pain. To those who protest the use, let them or a family member suffer from a disease that could actually benefit from the use of Medical Marijuana. Luckly I have a oncologist that is on board and has learned from his patients.

  7. Perry says

    Thank god for OZ
    Good job getting out some good info insted of the BS the govt.and big wigs hand out for 30+years
    ( there is nothing to be afrad of but are GOVT.) ITS ONLY A PLANT!

  8. Leisa Hanson says

    I can’t believe marijuana wasn’t legalized yrs. ago. alcohol is much worse, it is addictive and damaging to our state of mind and health. Marijuana is not physical addicting and you cannot overdose.
    I was on kidney dialysis for 14 yrs. You exp. flu like symptoms daily, along w/vomiting and a loss of appetite . My weight went down to 88 lbs due to these factors and it was suggested to meby my Dr. and the nurses to try marijuana as it may alleviate these symptoms, I was skeptical but would of tried anything at this point, I tried it and it was everything they claimed. I got my appetite back and stopped the daily vomiting. After yrs. of dialysis I did receive a transplant and no longer use marijuana, it was no problem to stop using it. It has no physical addicting qualities.
    Also, when my Father had cancer and couldn’t stop vomiting and had no appetite, I got him some marijuana and he was able to stop vomiting and got his appetite back. He’s was the last person I would of thought would try it as he was very outspokenly skeptical/against it for medical use.

  9. Judy V says

    Dr. Oz’ show on whether marijuana should be legalized for medical purposes only was very enlightening. Certainly there are a lot of controversy out there.
    It was brought to the voters in Montana a couple of years ago, and passed. There have been problems ever since because there were not guidelines and we have had some criminal acts because of it.
    I know that many prescription drugs come with a long list of side effects, so can see why many patients are so relunctant in taking them and are looking for something that will work that doesn’t carry all that with it.
    However, according to a magazine put out by a local medical team, show that a study of 302 people who had made serious suicide attempts, 16.5%met the criteria for cannabis dependence or abuse at the time of the attempt, compared with 1.9% of 1,028 randomly selected control subjects (Psychiatric Association). Some other side effects from the use of marijuana they list: risk of paranoia, smoked or burned product increases risk of certain cancers & pulmonary complications; driving under influence is same as driving drunk; negative effects on heart & lungs. That is just a few of the side effects that were listed as space and time does not allow for me to list it all.
    It seems to me that we always “jump into” doing something that looks or sounds good before studies are done and certain requirements made for all involved in dispensing and using.
    As the person before me wrote “legalize and legislate”. I would add, and regulate!!

  10. Rob Ennor says

    More a question than an opinion. Two years ago a family member was fighting cancer. Her doctor prescribed Oxycontin, her hospital administered it as well as morphine. Her first and second hospice care facilities administered them as well. Her cancer was among the most painful forms. Friends that visited on Sundays were amazed at how quickly she went downhill. She died.

    When we returned home, we began to hear about these painkillers possibly speeding up the death of patients. Our feeling was that an earlier death was preferable to the pain and misery she was in. having heard the show, I now wonder if marijuana would have made her slide more bearable. The end result was inevitable but we wonder if marijuana could have provided the pain relief and avoided the spaced-out effects of morphine and Oxycontin. We also wonder if her life might have been prolonged. She was in DC and Va. and MD.

    As for the debate, I have great difficulty with those that rail against marijuana use when doctors and patients both say it provides relief. Pain and brain disorders seem to be the most frequently referenced applications. As for addition, how does marijuana compare to Oxycontin or Morphine on that front? As for lung cancer, give me a break. For someone like my family member, she was facing certain death. Screw lung cancer concerns. As for the lady that spoke of her seizures, she is down to every couple of weeks smoking. Quality of life. Patients should have rights that supersede the concerns of the deniers


  11. Rochelle says

    I just got done watching the “dr. Oz Debate on medical marijauna” I believe that it should be legalized for medicinal uses across theU.S. I am living proof as is Montel Williams and thousands f others that marijuana can and does help. A big “argument” is how it will effect younger generations along with crime rate etc. I would just like to state that if kids think its “ok” to use because it’s a medicine and that will cause it to be abused than those that use that way of thinking will use that to abuse other medicinal narcotics like oxycotin and methadone along with many others. Which happens to be the most abused drugs in the U.S. are those that are precribed. I dont feel that because I live in Iowa instead of California that I should not be allowed to use marijuana for medical purposes when I have found it to be the only thing to help, where the prescribed methadone, oxycotin, morpine, and multiple other drugs they have had me on do not help. In fact I had more problems and suffered more while being on those drugs then off. Not to mention the physical and mental withdrawl I suffrered getting myself off of those meds. Where I have never suffered a withdrawl symptom from not using or stopping the use of marijuana. I think alot of people are using its medicinal uses as an excuse and I am in full agreement with Dr. Oz that if its “legal” then it needs to be treated as so and that it should be used to help keep life and allow us to live our lifes not to be used to escape it!

  12. George says

    I’ve had cronic pain from nerve damage from an accident 3 years ago, I became addicted to pain medication prescribed by my doctors. After rehab, I was unable to control the pain with over the counter medication. An aquaintaince told me she had been using cannabis for years for cronic pain from lung cancer so the only method she can use for ingestion was her vaporfection unit which doesn’t combust/burn the herb but uses hot air vapor to release the ingredience. I tried hers and having been using vaporization of my cannabis ever since with more relief than I ever got from perscription pain medication. This government needs to stop this prohibition in support of the Drug Co Lobbies and allow free Americans the right to use these God given natural remedys!

  13. Nancy Robert says

    For gods sake, how can the gov,t and those against marjuana say that it can not be ok to tke as a drug to kill pain, there are worse legal drugs out there, l am fortunate not to need it but if l did, l would be using it.
    Montel and all in his situation my heart goes out to you all.
    These negative people need to open their eyes and god forbid if anyone of these ever wake up a one day and find out that they are sick and need it.
    Open your eyes………
    BC Canada

  14. starla shaver says

    Well i must say that your program today,was very,very,interesting.As i have Mayotinic distropy.and when i somke some pot,must say not offen,however it helps a great deal.

  15. bill m. says

    I think that a lot of the addiction treatment people would be out of work if pot was legal. When or if it is made legal it would be a lot better than klonopin and the other legal drugs that can cause birth defects. No one has ever laid in the bathroom vomiting and then go out and rob to get more pot as they do for the opiates. Also the association is where you get the harder drugs, hey here try this said to a vulnerable person is just wrong. legalize and legislate.

  16. teresa loberg-dumas says

    I use pot very day, for my bipolor
    I vote for the use. I love u dr oz u rock
    Go montal w

  17. Chris in WI says

    I don’t get it. Do you know why you all believe Cannabis is bad? The government has LIED to you since the 30s!

    A few big rich powerful men (WR Hurst, dupont brothers, mellon, anslinger-related to dupont by marrage) didn’t want to compete with industrial hemp. “Marijuana” and the later “War on Drugs” were tools. It was a medicine used for THOUSANDS of years with ZERO deaths before them.

    It is no more addictive then a cheesburger (you won’t shake, vomit, and convulse without it). Anyone who says otherwise has not ever used it. You may WANT it but you don’t NEED it and that defines a physical vs mental addiction. You can be addicted mentally to anything and that is NOT a good reason to make something illegal.

    A wise man once said:

    “Prohibition will work great injury to the cause of temperance. It is a species of intemperance within itself, for it goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man’s appetite by legislation, and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A Prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded.”

    -Abraham Lincoln (1809-65) U.S. President.
    Speech, 18 Dec. 1840, to Illinois House of Representatives

  18. mcshaunzie says

    I’ve used cannabis for almost ten years now and have never even had the desire to try a “harder” drug. I’m currently on day 2 of a voluntary 24 day tolerance break. Does that sound like I’m an addict? A junky? I’m not.

    Do I use it to treat a chronic condition? No.
    Do I use it to help me sleep? No.
    Do I use it to help me eat? No.
    Do I use it as a safer alternative to cigarettes/alcohol? Yes.

    The body is sovereign. No government should have the right to tell me what I can put in my body. Period. Stop wasting our tax dollars enforcing these failed drug policies! Instead let’s tax and regulate this plant, help those in need and start spending all of the money we’re saving and making on things like education.

    Seriously America, wake up.

  19. anonymous says

    to bad they only had one hour for this show.I have been on both sides of the issue. 20 years ago an ounce of pot was @$20,Now that will get @1-2 joints(cigs).Now they add so many things to it, including formaldahide(embalming fluid). Also on the con side is that there is no way toregulate the strength, dose etc like perscription drugs wwhich are so much more addictive with tolerance buiding up,people going to several doctors at the same time,selling one pill depending on strength up to $100. people say pot leads to coke and heroin,many never go beyond pot but most heroin and coke addicts did smoke pot first.Pot does inhibit ambition and slow down reflexes especially in youth, but you don’t hear about pot smokers being violent,destructive,killing people in cars or the addictive results that alchohal does. 15 years ago, I had an MS patient that was prescibed Merinal(SP?) a synthetic pot or THC(not sure which) that was a measured,regulated dose which I’m surprised wasn’t mentioned. I don’t know if it is even still on the market and this was PA…not even on the list of potentual states.Medical pot is a fantastic thing FOR THOSE THAT NEED IT. California has turned the business into negative idea. Dr Oz was so right regarding not using it for anxiety etc due to the factthat some people already get paranoid using it which can lead to suicidal thoughts etc. This was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen.

  20. Danny Washington says


    MAKE THEM LEGAL.SO GOD BLESS AMERICA !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. Ruth Fiedler says

    I was injured in an auto accident and am in chronic pain. I have used many massage balms for pain relief, none ever relieving pain without an uncomfortable burning feeling. My daughter is a Burt’s Bees fan, and she gave me their Muscle Mend to try. I did and it helped the pain! My local box stores didn’t carry it, so I went online to order more. I found that one of the active ingredients is cannabis. I was quite surprised, and can only believe that was the difference!

  22. Betty Hall says

    I personally think it’s about
    time some looks out for
    the rest of us.I have
    suffered from chronic joint
    &musle pain for 3years my
    doctor decided to call it
    fibromyalgia after multiple
    tests showed up NOTHING
    but yet Ifeel like a”human”
    labrat since nothing has helped
    my pain to this day!!!

  23. Anonymous says

    Please do not use my name. I would lose my job.

    I am a woman in my fifties. I work full time and have raised three successful, professional children. I have never before used any illegal drug for any reason. I rarely drink alcohol. I never smoked cigarettes.
    I was suffering from severe hot flashes. My ob/gyn recommended HRT but I was afraid of side effects as well as risking breast cancer. A friend suggested marijuana. It changed my life.

    I use it only at night before sleep. I never drive with it. I do not go to work after using. After only 3 or 4 inhalations, I get about 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep (before I could only manage about half an hour between hot flashes throughout the night, every night.)

    Why is this relief illegal?

    Also, I read about a doctor in Haifa, Israel who is doing research with THC in pill form. It produces no “high” at all. I would use that in a flash (no pun intended) as I am interested in only the medicinal use.

  24. Amanda says

    In my opinion,there are some people who NEED it and there are some who just WANT it.Thoes who want it are called addicts,but thoes who need it are just looking for a better way to live,eat,sleep,and to cope with everyday.I think that being addicted to marijuana is alot better than being addicted to pain killers,nerve pills, and all the other pill form drugs.There is a difference though,if someone is prescribed something and they take it like they should, than them taking it to just get high off of.You can get addicted to alot of things,pills,cigs,junk food,video games,ect.,Some people have the will power to stop on their own,others dont.For example,I used to smoke marijuana because I had went through this time of my life where I was very depressed,it helped me eat,sleep,laugh about things,and be more calm when I got into nervous situations.I smoked it for almost 3 years,I didnt do it to get high and party,I done it to help me.One joint would last me a week most of the time,a few hits is all some need to take.I have a very low tolerance when it comes to drugs or anything like that because I have never liked to take a pill everytime something came up,the only time I would take an over the counter drug for a headache was when it would get so bad that I really had to.After a while I didnt need it anymore and I stopped smoking it.I havent smoked it for over a year now.I remember a few weeks after I had stopped,I started having anxiety attacks,and took a couple hits off one but it didnt help the situation any.So the part about Dr.Oz saying that it shouldn’t be used for anxiety,stress,and stuff like that,I agree with him %100.I aslo agree that people wit medical reasons should be the only ones prescribed the marijuana.Thoes that are addicted can get it on their own like they have been the illegal way and get punished when they get caught.I also think they should put an age limit on it too(21 unless they have cancer or any other reason for it to be prescribed).Oh and another thing,all the other prescirbed drugs that they give you usually make you have withdrawls afterwards and in my opinion,plus from my own experience,you don’t have withdrawls as much by stop smoking marijuana.I hope by what I have said has gave some people more insight on this sitituation and helped someone to make a better decison when it comes to what they should do about thier own problems.God bless you all and have a nice day =)

  25. diana harness says

    I believe marijuana is a lot better than alchol, cigarettes, and a lot of other pain pills. I have seen people become addicted to pain medicine, people act like they are in more pain than they really are to get these type of pills. If some one truly has severe pain it would be really easy to become addicted to pain killers. The pain killers would alter there life in a negative sense. I believe government needs to get out of some much of the health field. The doctors are the ones that have the education to decide whats best for their patients. Not governement or insurance companies. I believe marijuana should be legal under certain qualifying diseases. Not for every ache or pain. If I had chronic pain I would prefer marijuana rather than oxy, valium and the other pills thats truly addicting. I also have the greatest respect for Montel Williams to know he has the best interest in the country wellness as much as he does for himself. I’d assume see mariuana legalized for proper medical use and cigarettes and alchol illegal. I’ve never heard anyone getted killed by a person driving under the influence of marijuana as you hear about drunk driving!

  26. Steven Gray says

    With a safe place for me acquire medicinal cannabis as a veteran and a person addicted to living; and with an addictive personality I am not subjected to illicit drugs such as cocaine or other drugs found through the so called gateway. If the path in life I choose leads me through the gateway of a known drug dealer on the street then illicit drugs will be in my face. It is at that point when I would make the decision to say no and walk away. With a prescription and a safe place where people know my condition and are directly involved in my rehabilitation there will not be a time where I am confronted with a choice to do harm to my livelihood by means of illicit gateway drugs. I am sick of hearing cannabis being labeled as such. Who says that without first considering where potential patients (…”if you are human you will benefit from the effects of the ingestion of cannaibiniods…”) where confronted with cannabis: on the streets from the guy with bad intentions and a lab.

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