For those immersed in the medical cannabis scene, “Rick Simpson” is a household name. But, who is Rick Simpson, and how did he become one of the most legendary cannabis activists in history?
Rick Simpson was born in Canada in 1949, and earned a Ph.D. in Alternative and Complementary Medical Support Services from the University of Southern California in 1993. While working in a hospital in Canada in 1997, Rick suffered an accidental fall, resulting in a head injury and post-concussion syndrome. He suffered from dizzy spells, and intense ringing in his ears that plagued him even two years after his accident.
In 1999, he happened to catch a documentary on TV about the medicinal benefits of cannabis, and decided to try smoking it for the first time. He experienced much more relief from smoking a joint than the pharmaceutical medications given by his doctors, who refused to give him a marijuana prescription. So, he figured it out on his own, and successfully treated his symptoms with his own homemade cannabis oil.
After being diagnosed with skin cancer in 2003, Rick read a study from the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, which found that THC slowed the growth of cancer cells in mice. Since he already had experience in treating himself with cannabis, he decided to try it again. This time, he used his potent oil topically, and applied it directly to the malignant spots on his skin. After leaving them bandaged for four days, Rick removed the dressing to discover the cancer spots had completely disappeared.
His doctors, however, refused to acknowledge that cannabis was responsible for this incredible result. After government groups like the Canadian Cancer Society also ignored his discovery, Rick became inspired spread the knowledge of this medicine himself. He began giving away his oil for free, and treated over 5,000 patients before being arrested and persecuted by the Canadian government, forcing him to stop. However, he continued to share his knowledge, freely offering his exact methods of producing the oil to the public, through his website, his book, and the documentary Run from the Cure.
Rick Simpson Oil has been used to treat a wide range of ailments, including cancer, diabetes, skin conditions, melanoma, leukemia, chronic pain, warts, viral and bacterial infections.
So, what is Rick Simpson Oil (RSO)? RSO is a potent, concentrated cannabis oil produced by stripping the resin from the plant material with a liquid solvent (ethanol, naphtha, isopropyl alcohol, etc.) and then evaporating away the solvent. The result is a thick, sticky, resinous oil that contains the therapeutic compounds produced by the plant. According to Rick, heavy indica strains are ideal to use for this application due to their high THC content.
Rick Simpson offers the exact instructions for his method of producing the oil for free on his website. First, the dried plant material is soaked in the solvent, and agitated to ‘wash’ the resin from the plant matter and dissolve it into the solvent. The solvent/resin mixture is filtered for particulates and then heated, in order to boil off as much of the solvent as possible and decarboxylate the oil, leaving only the activated, high-THC resin. The resulting oil can be drawn up into needle-less syringes while still warm, and is ready for consumption.
The ‘Rick Simpson Protocol’ calls for ingesting 60 grams of the oil within a 90 day period, starting with a small dose the size of a grain of rice and incrementally increasing the dosage until reaching 1 gram per day. This way, the body will have a chance to acclimate and build up a tolerance to avoid the patient becoming uncomfortably ‘high’. Typically, a patient will work up to a dose of 1 gram per day until completing the full 60 gram regimen. To treat skin cancer, Rick recommends applying the oil directly onto the skin.
Compared with the high cost and severe side effects of traditional chemotherapy and radiation treatments, the Rick Simpson oil and protocol is a more natural, lower cost treatment with fewer side effects. But, that doesn’t mean that it’s safe (or even effective) for everyone. While there is plenty of anecdotal evidence of its efficacy, including Rick Simpson’s own experience, there is a lack of actual evidence and clinical research that RSO is effective. It would be unwise and potentially dangerous for a patient to cease other treatments and medications without their doctor’s supervision, or to stop following their doctors’ advice.
Additionally, the process for making RSO does involve potentially dangerous, toxic, and flammable solvents. The risks include explosions or fires, inhalation of fumes, or even accidental ingestion of the toxic solvent (if it isn’t fully removed from the RSO). Also, the possession of cannabis plant material or RSO oil in the quantities required for the RSO Protocol is still illegal in many jurisdictions. While the risk of dying from cancer would outweigh the risk of arrest and persecution for many, it is worth noting the potential legal troubles that could come with making and using RSO.
In conclusion, much more research is needed to determine the safety and efficacy of RSO (and medical cannabis in general). If you are interested in trying it, it’s best to be aware of the risks and consult your physician.
DISCLAIMER: Producing cannabis extracts such as Rick Simpson Oil (RSO), is illegal or requires licensing in many jurisdictions. It also involves volatile, flammable solvents that can be dangerous to work with for inexperienced extractors and without proper equipment or facilities. Any action you take upon the information provided here is strictly at your own risk.
– https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDJX7GqsQoA – Run from the Cure
– https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1326727540796694 – process video