One of the things that attracted me most to the cannabis industry were the stories of cancer patients who used cannabinoids to help in the treatment of their disease. As an entrepreneur in the cannabis sector, I always try to stay up-to-date on the latest developments in medical marijuana; however, the product that’s most recently peaked my interest has been around for a long time—Rick Simpson Oil (RSO).
With the aid of RSO, along with lifestyle changes and an accompanying diet, many cancer patients, some of whom are now in remission, are living a much healthier life. It has been long established that weed can be a vital weapon in the fight against cancer, but I wanted to understand what makes it so effective. Cannabis’ well-documented anti-inflammatory properties may play an important role. You might not have learned about this in school, but every human cell contains an endocannabinoid receptor, so the anti-inflammatory benefits of cannabinoid can be felt throughout the body.
This becomes relevant as the link between chronic inflammation and cancer becomes stronger and stronger. An article from the Yale Journal of Biology states that there is a correlation between inflammation and the progression of cancer cells. Many people with whom I spoke credited the powerful anti-inflammatory properties of RSO, alongside a healthier diet, as one of the most important steps in their recovery. RSO, named after its eccentric creator Rick Simpson, is a potent extract made from one pound of good plant material and food grade alcohol. Simpson first came up with the recipe in his kitchen with little more than a rice cooker. Since then, he has educated thousands of people via his website, while living in hiding. Some of his claims are “out there,” to say the least, but the anti-inflammatory benefits of RSO are hard to deny.
While there haven’t been any specific studies on RSO due to the USA’s draconian laws regulating medical marijuana, anecdotally, it has helped countless people.
Frank Brown, a Wharton Business School grad and entrepreneur, found his life’s calling when he launched the Emerald Room, a Pre-ICO/Prop. D compliant boutique dispensary in Los Angeles, which specializes in the highest quality of organic, medicinal Rick Simpson Oils to effectively benefit his patients battling cancer, as well as the side effects of chemotherapy and anxiety. Brown has facilitated the treatment of 300 patients using Rick Simpson’s method of extraction and protocol for dosage. He recommends that his patients work up to taking a gram of RSO a day over the course of 90 days, combined with a strict vegan diet, which excludes sugar as well. To be clear, Frank’s method is not meant to be a replacement for traditional therapies.
To give you a little perspective on Frank’s dosage recommendation, a standard edible brownie contains 100 mg of THC. That’s 10 individual servings by Colorado standards. One gram of RSO has over 600 mg of THC. That’s a lot by anyone’s standards. When an individual ingests this amount of cannabis, they will be incapacitated and need a great deal of help doing simple tasks, so it is important that they have assistance during this period. Out of the 300 people Frank has helped, many see improvements to their quality of life, and 100 are currently living cancer-free. Jay Moon, owner of Village Flora Collective, explained inflammation to me by saying, “the body is on fire, and it’s trying to fight this fire. Eating dairy, sugar and gluten is adding gasoline to it.”
Many cancer patients feel like their disease has stolen their autonomy from them; however, they can control their attitude and what they eat. The diet that Frank recommends with the help of his nutritionist and partner, Miranda Graczyk, not only helps fight inflammation, but gives his patients back a much needed sense of control. Among the things that can help cancer patients exert control over their lives is mindfulness meditation, which has been linked to a decrease in depression, anxiety and pain. A short walk outside is proven to alleviate depression. For those who are unable to move, a massage with cannabis-infused massage oil is a perfect way to treat oneself.
It is unclear why the treatment works for some and not others.
Some have followed the diet perfectly and died, while one person, whose cancer is now in remission, ate hotdogs and drank Coke on a routine basis. The patients that don’t make it are always on Frank’s mind. He showed me one video of a dying mother and daughter sitting around eating pie and laughing their asses off. Regardless of RSO’s efficacy in cancer treatment, cannabis allows those in great pain to die in dignity, with moments of joy near the end. Everyone knows someone who has cancer, and the only way cannabis can help a great number of people is if we start to discuss it out in the open. Next time the conversation comes up, maybe consider suggesting Rick Simpson Oil to someone who could be living in less pain.