It’s hard to deny the medicinal properties of cannabis and hemp, especially for those who have used CBD and THC to treat cancer and other illnesses. Rick Simpson, creator of Rick Simpson Oil (RSO), celebrates these healing properties. Devoted to fighting the profit-obsessed world of big pharma, Simpson spent years producing an incredibly potent and medically effective cannabis oil. Simpson distributed this oil to sick people for free until 2009, when the Canadian government raided his house. Though he hasn’t produced his oil in years, he spends his life educating people on RSO production and effects—some of which border on miraculous.
Simpson’s journey was not an easy one—a simple discovery made while vaporizing cannabis oil led to a federal raid, a criminal record, and a move from Canada to Europe. Having witnessed the benefits of his creation in patients with skin cancer, including curing his own, Simpson tried to go public with this knowledge. According to Simpson’s website, he contacted all the major Canadian political parties, the Canadian Cancer Society, even the United Nations. Nobody took his claims seriously. So Simpson took up his mission to educate the public on his own.
A Cannabis Crusader
As editorialized on Simpson’s website, PhoenixTears, Simpson believes the pharmaceutical industry is deliberately cloaking the medicinal benefits of cannabis.
“The pharmaceutical industry has been trying to hide the fact that cannabis extracts […] are a cure-all that [they] can’t patent,” he argues.
Simpson abhors big pharma, stating that many of the expensive medicines commonly prescribed to patients are ineffective and toxic compared to RSO. For this reason, Simpson seeks to make access to RSO readily available by providing free knowledge on the production process.
Simpson’s devotion to the common good is evident in the blog posts on PhoenixTears. Simpson complains about those who try to use RSO to line their own pockets, and has similar disdain for anyone who would try to patent the oil or the equipment needed to produce it. He fills the instructions with inexpensive alternatives to equipment and ingredients. It’s clear that Simpson truly believes everyone should have access to this healing oil.
But What Is RSO?
RSO is not the typical THC extract. It is used for medicine rather than recreation. RSO can often contain up to 90% THC and takes the form of a thick oil or greasy substance. Patients suffering from painful diseases can consume the oil on the tongue, in food, or in suppositories. Simpson even mentions having smoked early versions of RSO. However, he recommends patients place the RSO as close as possible to the site of pain or disease.
Though Simpson welcomes the accompanying high as a medical form of relaxation, he notes that it is not the purpose of this oil. In fact, many users on the typical treatment plan of 1 mL a day will sleep through the oil’s effects. Their bodies use this much-needed rest to speed up healing.
In simple terms, RSO is resin rich with cannabinoids, usually from indica strains. A pure solvent (such as 99% alcohol) washes the resins off the cannabis bud and absorbs them. Once the solvent is evaporated and the cannabis is decarboxylated, users are left with a golden, transparent oil.
Simpson describes this process on his website with instructional blog posts and videos. Though he says the process is easy and accessible to nearly everyone, he does warn about the risks associated with using certain solvents, unclean cannabis, or unsafe production methods.
Will RSO Cure Cancer?
The short answer… we don’t know yet. Simpson has been working with cancer patients for years. Many of those patients report incredibly positive changes in their health after using RSO.
One such patient included a 14-year-old girl suffering from leukemia, for whom chemotherapy, radiation and a bone marrow transplant had failed. Though the girl eventually passed away from GI issues, a clinical observation found that her rapid dose RSO treatment plan had a strong correlation with a decrease in cancer cells and symptoms. However, some studies have found THC actually increases the growth of cancer cells, while some have found it reduces tumor growth. Other studies show no correlation at all.
Though more research on the medicinal effects of cannabis is necessary, Simpson’s website is filled with testimonials from patients who are positively affected by RSO treatment. One details a man’s path to stop his opioid treatment. Another details a woman’s discharge from her multiple sclerosis (MS) physical therapy program after a “miraculous” improvement while taking RSO. Additionally, another patient treated skin cancer lesions with RSO and was told by a Veterans Affairs doctor that one lesion was completely free of cancer.
The Future of RSO
There are tens of thousands of testimonials from people all over the world who used RSO. It can be easy to take these testimonials as a sign that RSO is a divine gift, a miracle cure-all. However, many websites that detail the benefits of RSO also recommend conversing with your doctor before starting treatment. Although many doctors recommend that patients use RSO as a supplementary treatment alongside traditional treatments, not enough is known to advocate using RSO on its own due to the restrictions on research.
Simpson is a cannabis crusader and an inspiration to healthcare professionals. There’s no doubt that RSO has incredible potential for medicinal purposes. In fact, in states where cannabis is legal, some dispensaries already sell versions of RSO for medicinal use. We can only hope that one day, as researchers learn more about THC, cannabis becomes widely accepted as an effective treatment for devastating diseases.