By Samantha Yardley

A far cry from the former stigma of criminality, cannabinoid products are now ubiquitous in modern society and widely accepted for their medical benefits. One promising extract, Rick Simpson Oil, the high-potency THC-abundant counterpart to traditional CBD, has been hailed as the hemp holy grail. This cannabis variant might just weed out cancer.

Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) is named after its creator, medical marijuana activist Rick Simpson, who developed it to self-medicate after being diagnosed with skin cancer. He alleges its usage cured him completely of the disease and has remained a devout advocate ever since.

Hailing from the Cannabis indica strain, RSO is an intensely potent cannabis extract, which unlike conventional CBD oil, comprises high levels of THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis that gets you ‘stoned’. The concentrated tar-like oil is chemically stripped from the inactive plant, allowing users to calibrate dosage effectively and administer it both topically and orally.

Nathaniel Morris, a prolific expert on the creed of weed, whose work has been profiled on MSNBC, PBS, and the Discovery Channel says: “Thousands of people have successfully used RSO to help treat their cancer. Plant medicines are way underutilized in our society. I’m stunned that it’s not a more central part of the legalization movement. Only a very small portion of people who could benefit from cannabinoids are choosing to access this option. I think the cultural taboo is still the biggest factor.”

The concept of a naturally occurring plant, formally known for its mind-alternating recreational usage being utilized to cure the most fatal disease on the planet was staggering. I had to quiz Nathaniel for the science.

“Cannabinoids have been shown to induce apoptosis, also known as programmed cell death. It can literally signal to a cancer cell that it’s time to die. I know that saying cannabis can kill cancer cells makes you sound like a crazy person, but this is well-established science.

“The key is high doses (500 to 1000 mg) every day. Often, people try a little cannabis and because their cancer is not gone, conclude it doesn’t work. A big part of why RSO is effective is that concentrating the oil makes it easier to take the enormous amount needed to induce apoptosis.”

The medical applications of RSO and other cannabis derivates look decidedly hopeful, however, due to a lack of human studies, users should remain wary until further research has been documented.

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