A prominent cannabis activist and medical marijuana pioneer finds himself in an hour of need.
Rick Simpson, best known for the development of an eponymous cannabis oil that some have touted as an effective treatment against cancer, is recovering from a stroke he suffered more than two years ago, his wife revealed this month, a health trauma she says has kept him out of the public arena in recent times.
“For the past few years Rick has been absent from the public arena and most of the communication with the world and our much valued connections amongst the cannabis media community have been put on hold,” Danijela Simpson said in an email to High Times this week. “Rick and I have now, due to a change in our circumstances, decided to inform the public, that in May 2018, Rick suffered a stroke and has since then been in the process of recovery.”
The Simpson family launched a GoFundMe campaign earlier this month to help pay for Rick’s medical expenses. As of this writing, the campaign has raised a little more than $5,000, with an ultimate goal of $160,000.
“It has been a very challenging time for both Rick and myself in more ways than one, so we have now organized a fundraising campaign – the ‘Rick Simpson Campaign’ to help cover some of Rick’s medical expenses, those incurred during the last two and a half years and those which are still on the horizon,” Danijela Simpson said in the email.
Rick Simpson And His Healing Oil
“Rick Simpson Oil” (or “RSO,” for short) has become a well-known form of medical cannabis that advocates say can be used as a treatment for cancer. According to WebMD, while there is “no solid evidence for” such claims, there is “some early research suggests that some chemicals in marijuana have future potential as a cancer treatment.” WebMD described “Rick Simpson Oil” as “an oil made by washing cannabis buds with a solvent, such as pure light naphtha, and then boiling off the solvent leaving behind the oil,” that is “high in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).”
WebMD also provided a brief backstory on how Rick Simpson came upon his medical discovery. “After a bad fall, he found that marijuana helped lessen his dizziness and other symptoms,” the website noted. “Later, when he developed basal cell skin cancers on his arm, Simpson used cannabis oil as a treatment. As the reports go, his skin cancers went away.”
“RSO” is “not a branded product,” according to WebMD, adding that Simpson “explains how to make his namesake oil” on his website but does not “sell a version of the oil for profit.”
In 2016, Rick and Danijela Simpson founded “Simpson RamaDur LLC,” a publishing company they said “was started with the goal to provide the public with all the relevant information about the healing powers of cannabis.”
In a write-up on the company’s website, Rick Simpson detailed what amounts to a life’s mission.
“I have been spreading awareness about the healing powers of cannabis since 2001, when I first treated myself,” he wrote. “I am not trying to seek credit for finding the cure for any disease. My only aim is to show people how they can heal themselves.”