You may have heard of Rick Simpson hemp oil. An essential oil derived from cannabis plants, it is rich in the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and, according to Rick Simpson and many others, has cured their cancer.
Does it really work? Anecdotal evidence clearly points in that direction. Unfortunately, because of the stigma surrounding cannabis and marijuana, few clinical studies have been attempted. This is rapidly changing, but for now, there is no concrete answer.
The Story of Rick Simpson Hemp Oil
Rick Simpson is a Canadian engineer who suffered a traumatic injury that gave him constant ringing in the ears. The condition severely affected his temper, his ability to concentrate, and his life. None of the medications doctors prescribed worked. An episode of “The Nature of Things” that talked about the medical potential of cannabis prompted Rick Simpson to extract oil from the plant to use to treat his ailment. Though the ringing was still there, the oil got it down to a manageable level. He was able to sleep again, his pain was under control, and so was his blood pressure. Rick Simpson got his life back.
A few years later, Rick discovered three spots on his skin that were diagnosed as skin cancer. One spot was surgically removed, and the other two were to be removed some time later. As Rick Simpson recuperated, he recalled a 1974 news report that mentioned the effects of THC on cancer cells in mice. He tried the oil on his two remaining spots, and four days later they were gone. When the cancer that had been removed reappeared a few weeks later, he treated it with the oil, and again his skin was healed.
Rick Simpson wanted the whole world to know about his discovery and started handing out his oil at no cost to cancer victims. Many were cured. Unfortunately, most professionals in the medical field reacted negatively to Rick Simpson’s story. He was finally able to present his story to a wider audience when filmmaker Christian Laurette made a documentary “Run From the Cure” about Rick Simpson’s life discovery. The documentary prompted a study by Spanish researchers on human cancer patients that analyzed the effects of THC on cancer cells. The study found that THC had attacked the cancer cells while leaving healthy tissue surrounding it intact.
However, Rick Simpson hemp oil is still not legal to use in most places, not just because it is derived from cannabis, but because it contains THC, the psychoactive compound in the plant. Another legal alternative is cannabidiol.
Cannabidiol and Cancer
Cannabidiol (CBD) is the other major cannabinoid found in cannabis plants. Unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive and is currently being used to treat children with intractable epilepsy.
CBD also suffers from low levels of clinical research, but just like research surrounding THC, the number of studies is increasing, and initial findings are promising. We now know that CBD can slow the progress of breast cancer and reduce its aggressiveness. In fact, it may actually be more effective than THC. Like its psychoactive cousin, CBD was found to leave healthy breast tissue intact. Other studies have found that CBD is effective against prostate cancer and lung cancer.
Legal Sources of Cannabidiol
Not all forms of cannabidiol are legal in all states. CBD extracted from medical marijuana is only legal in states where medical marijuana itself is legal. However, It can be extracted from industrial hemp, resulting in oil that contains virtually no THC. This “hemp oil” is approved for use as a food additive by the FDA in the United States and can legally be obtained and used countrywide.
Visit our resource page on cannabidiol and cancer to stay in touch with the latest research on the topic.