The Man. The Medicine.
Cancer and cannabis have been connected for a long time. Though its Schedule One status makes cannabis hard to study, both anecdotal and clinical research have shown that cannabis can kill cancer cells.
Rick Simpson has been lauded for helping provide education and treatment with his recipe for high-cannabinoid dosed oil extracts designed to address myriad symptoms. Rick Simpson Oil, or RSO, has helped countless medical patients find relief for years. But who is Rick Simpson? And how did he become such a leader in cannabis advocacy?
Rick Simpson was working in a hospital in Canada in 1997 when he fell and sustained a serious head injury. His doctors prescribed medication after medication, leading to symptom upon symptom and still more medications. His head grew cloudier with each added chemical and his symptoms never seemed to subside. His family and friends watched his light diminish and his faculties begin to fail.
After a while of suffering and struggling, Rick remembered he had seen research in the ’70s that indicated that cannabis could help mitigate some of the symptoms of his medications and condition. Though his doctors conceded that there could be potential, they still would not prescribe him the herb.
So, he sought it out illegally.
Did it work?
I think you already know the answer to that one. It didn’t just help ease the symptoms of his medications, it helped ease the symptoms of his condition! Through smoking cannabis daily, Rick Simpson returned to good health. His friends and family watched in amazement as he weened himself off every medication and his personality returned.
But this wouldn’t be the last time Rick had to rely on the healing properties of the cannabis plant.
The Scare of a Lifetime
In late 2002, spots had popped up on Rick’s face and neck. By January, the doctors had surgically removed a spot next to his eye. The biopsy concluded: basal cell carcinoma—skin cancer. They scheduled Rick for another surgery to remove the other two lesions.
Taking the sticky, thick substance, Rick liberally smeared hash oil on the remaining two cancerous growths and covered them with Band-Aids. Four days later, Rick returned to the doctor.
The growths were gone.
The doctors were baffled, but agreed Rick was cancer-free! But when he told them he had treated his cancer with cannabis oil, they shut down. The receptionist even went so far as to begin shaking her head rigidly repeating, “The doctor won’t go there, the doctor does not prescribe [cannabis].”
Rick was baffled by the response. Here were medical professionals—who specialize in oncology—refusing to hear about a potential breakthrough for curing a devastating disease.
When he reached out to contacts from the Canadian Cancer Society and their only response was “The society does not endorse or support medical products or dietary supplements.”
After trying to work within the medical community to legitimize cannabis as a potential cure for cancer, Rick became a major advocate for access to the plant.
The Path of Advocacy
By 2003, Rick had begun growing his own cannabis plants and processing it into hash oil. He had developed a recipe that provided the highest quality yield with the most consistency batch to batch. Reaching out to anyone suffering, not just from cancer, but from glaucoma, chronic pain, insomnia, blood clots with pain and swelling, hemorrhoids, arthritis and more, to provide free hash oil and education to anyone who needs it.
Despite his outreach to help those suffering, the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) came for him. Raids confiscated over 2500 plants from 2005 to 2006.
In 2009 they came after him again, raiding his property and claiming to have found 70 pounds of cannabis. How did they get such a radically high number? They included the weight of his compost, which did have cannabis plant material decomposing along with the rest of his gardening waste.
They also claimed Rick had weapons on the premises, which was actually a perfectly legal pellet gun. The best claim? Booby traps. Those were curtesy of Rick’s son, who had hammered nails through a couple boards and left the boards around the garbage on the porch. Because when you live in the woods in Canada, bears are a thing.
The charges were eventually completely dropped, but it still meant that Rick had to replant and start over several times—denying patients relying on his oil access to their medication.
What’s Rick Up To Lately?
Rick continues to advocate for cannabis access and works with people around the world to spread knowledge about the benefits of hash oil and other cannaproducts. His passion continues to help those suffering from numerous diseases by providing his famous recipe for free for anyone who wants to check his webpage.
Rick also helped make a movie to spread awareness of the healing benefits of cannabis.