“I want people to know how to heal themselves.”– Rick Simpson
Rick Simpson and Corrie Yelland both successfully used cannabis for cancer. Both treated their aggressive, life-threatening cancers using high-THC cannabis concentrates. Moreover, they have successfully helped others do the same, repeatedly. And yet there is currently no patented, pharmaceutically approved ‘Rick Simpson Oil’ or RSO for doctors to prescribe to cancer patients. And there are currently no ongoing clinical trials looking into it, either.
But there are hundreds of studies attesting to the efficacy of Bedrobinol, Bedrocan, and Marinol, pharmaceutically derived cannabinoid medications used to treat cancer’s comorbidities (Salami et al, 2020). Undoubtedly, pharmaceutical companies, cancer research institutes, and medical science are aware that cannabis holds promise for treating cancer.
National Cancer Institute’s Position on Cannabis
Certainly, treating comorbidities is different from treating cancer itself. And the National Cancer Institute (NCI) admits that cannabis effectively treats nausea, poor appetite, pain, and insomnia. Furthermore, NCI points out the proven anti-tumor effects of cannabis demonstrated in preclinical animal studies (NCI, 2021).
It blandly concludes that “No ongoing clinical trials of Cannabis as a treatment for cancer in humans were identified in a PubMed search”.
A Troubling Lack of Urgency
On the one hand, their statement is understandably dry. Copious scientific literature is absent. But this language reveals a troubling lack of urgency towards proactively pursuing this viable non-invasive treatment for cancer.
Since a well-endowed Cancer Institute has the power and authority to initiate clinical trials, it is bewildering to read that they had to conduct a PubMed search to detect an absence of important developments in cancer research. At the bare minimum, it is their job to know what they don’t know!
Chemotherapy is Traumatic and Terrifying
This isn’t comforting to fearful and suffering cancer patients. Chemotherapy and radiation therapies for cancer come with a host of awful and frequently life-threatening side effects. In the best-case scenarios, it is still guaranteed to devastate the patient’s quality of life for an undefined duration. Under these circumstances, given this brutal reality, tight-lipped medical gatekeeping can no longer be excused for being ‘conservative’.
Stress Increases the Likelihood of Poor Outcomes
When a treatment as traumatizing as chemotherapy is regularly pushed, a patient must be provided with alternatives, if only to improve their psychological outcomes. Indeed, emotional stress compounds disease and provably worsens physical outcomes (Maté, 2003).
Cannabis is a safe, viable, cost-effective, natural, readily available, and unpatentable alternative to the trauma of chemotherapy. To not aggressively pursue and fund research into cannabis as a medicine is unscientific and offensive. Cancer patients should have a say about how research funding is spent.
American Cancer Institute’s Position on Cannabis
Sadly, the American Cancer Institute’s (ACI) position is equally toothless. On the one hand, it also acknowledges that more scientific research is needed. Unfortunately, like the NCI, it also uses language that warrants concern.
Instead of addressing the need to explore cannabis as a cure for cancer, it vaguely concedes that “better and more effective therapies that can overcome the often debilitating side effects of cancer and its treatment” are needed (American Cancer Society, 2020).
American and National Cancer Institutes are Equally Vague on Cannabis
That deliberately vague statement admits that yes, chemotherapy is debilitating and cannabis helps to treat that. What it won’t admit is that perhaps chemotherapy needn’t be initiated in the first place.
Indeed, cannabis has the potential to become an undaunting and appealing initial treatment protocol. This could be administered immediately while the necessity for more extreme measures can be more calmly evaluated. Clearly more human-based clinical studies were urgently needed yesterday.
Rather than highlighting the anti-tumor effects of cannabis in mice, as NCI does, ACI instead concludes that it “opposes the smoking or vaping of marijuana and other cannabinoids in public places because the carcinogens in marijuana smoke pose numerous health hazards to the patient and others in the patient’s presence.” (ibid)
Ditto for NCI, in an extensive section labeled “Cancer Risk” makes no effort to distinguish safely vaporized cannabis from combusted, PCH-laden cannabis. The undeniable fact is that these polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons cause cancer, not cannabis.
Old News: Combustion Causes Cancer (NOT Cannabis)
In ‘Smoking vs Vaping’, we address this issue. Needless to say, cannabis never needs to be combusted to be inhaled for therapeutic use. Both Cancer Institutes have unscientifically lumped “smoking or vaping” together in their problematic sections on Cannabis and Cancer. To learn more about vaping, read ‘Vaping Cannabis: What You Need to Know’.
It has been repeatedly, scientifically proven that “vaporization is associated with less toxicant exposure (eg, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) relative to traditional smoking methods” (Spindle et al, 2018).
“…utilize vaporization as a smokeless delivery system.”
Furthermore, many studies have unambiguously endorsed it: “Vaporization of cannabis is a safe and effective mode of delivery of THC. Further trials of clinical effectiveness of cannabis could utilize vaporization as a smokeless delivery system.” (Abrams et al, 2007).
Cancer Institutes Invalidate Patient’s Lived Experiences
“People are dying for no damned reason. I’d like to see the most medicinal plant in the world get the recognition it deserves.”– Rick Simpson
A disingenuous and disproportionate focus on the harmful effects of combusted cannabis appears to be a calculated excuse designed to ignore its potential for treating cancer. This is invalidating and insulting to the brave, lived experiences of cancer survivors like Rick Simpson, Corrie Yelland, and the thousands of cancer patients they have given hope to.
Societal Gaslighting is Abuse
It is a form of societal gaslighting when someone proves that Rick Simpson Oil healed their cancer and the American Cancer Institute’s response is: “There are no studies in people of the effects of marijuana oil or hemp oil.” (American Cancer Institute, 2020)
While it is true that no clinical studies have proven cannabis oil’s efficacy, this statement is still a lie. Any individual who follows a protocol, carefully documents it, and successfully replicates the results, can call that a scientific study. Citizen science is legitimate; institutions don’t have a monopoly on the scientific method. So the statement is a deliberate lie cowering behind institutional legitimacy.
Not only does this directly invalidate legitimate citizen science and research, it amounts to needless fearmongering. The extremely harmful effects of psychological gaslighting in relationships are well-known and well-documented. And gaslighting is routinely used to instill fear and compliance in abusive relationships. These are not just limited to dyadic relationships, but also family systems, work cultures, and societal systems of oppression such as racism, sexism, and classism. (Joy, 2019, Loc 752).
In all of these abusive systems, individuals are compelled to doubt their own reality when their lived experiences are denied and invalidated repeatedly. It is a blatant abuse of power and authority, to omit Rick Simpson and Corrie Yelland from a public information webpage about Cannabis and Cancer. Why not simply mention them with relevant disclaimers, in the name of science and transparency?
And this should make everybody angry. Because directly or indirectly, cancer will or already has touched all of our lives. Each of us has cancer cells inside of us. There should be no barriers to studying what controls them.
Deliberately Ignoring Nuance
To add insult to injury, when pharmaceutical cannabinoids have been studied for their potential to treat cancer, they have been administered topically or ingested. Considering that combusted cannabis appears to be a massive concern for both ACI and NCI, these nuances were never positively noted.
In these studies, cannabis was never combusted and inhaled and therefore never posed a lung cancer risk. For a Cancer Institute to fail to point out these nuances, to fail to spread hope and bolster advocacy is a deliberately missed opportunity.
Weak Advocacy Is Worse Than No Advocacy
Even more concerning is its current (2020) position that “The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), the Society’s advocacy affiliate, has not taken a position on legalization of marijuana for medical purposes because of the need for more scientific research on marijuana’s potential benefits and harms.” (American Cancer Society, 2020)
So even the American Cancer Society’s advocacy wing admits to being entirely toothless.
Censorship by Omission is Harmful
None of this mirrors the intense urgency that colors the lives of cancer patients. And many have lost patience with the slow crawl of research to support alternative therapies. In response, they have fiercely seized control of their health. We owe thanks to these brave citizen researchers.
“Big lies,” according to legendary journalist John Pilger, “are delivered with the precision of a metronome: thanks to an omnipresent, repetitive media and its virulent censorship by omission.” (Pilger, 2015)
Pilger wasn’t writing specifically about cannabis research. But he was talking about the deliberate withholding of vital information for the sole purpose of controlling a narrative. Censorship by omission, along with overt misinformation, is a cornerstone of a successful Propaganda Model, as famously outlined by Noam Chomsky in Manufacturing Consent (Chomsky, 1988, Loc 1241).
Reefer Madness is an old joke, but its legacy continues to harm. And since the National and American Cancer Institutes are both US-government funded, ideological overlap shouldn’t take anyone by surprise.
Cancer Patients Need Safe Access to Alternative Solutions
Lucky for us, the landscape isn’t as dim as it once was. Sure, human-centered research on cannabis and cancer is practically non-existent. And advocacy from well-endowed Cancer Institutes is sorely lacking. But an abundance of well-documented, positive case studies is the light at the end of the tunnel.
And these powerful anecdotes are not just hopeful one-offs. Indeed, they detail compelling, specific protocols that have put devastating cancers into remission by successfully duplicating results without chemotherapy. This is citizen science and research in action, encouraging and inspiring.
Citizen Researchers: Cannabis and Cancer Case Studies
The rest of this article will quickly introduce you to the findings and protocols used by Rick Simpson and Corrie Yelland. Both are remarkable individuals who courageously implemented cannabis-based protocols to treat their cancers and succeeded. And through their collective work, advocacy, and community-building, we have access to thousands of positive case studies.
Rick Simpson: A Living Legend
After topically applying a homemade, Indica cannabis extract to his skin tumors, Nova Scotian Rick Simpson put his basal cell carcinoma into remission. By his account, after four days, the cancer was gone. He has since helped other individuals achieve similar results. Rick’s survival story is full of compelling twists and turns and available in full at his site phoenixtears.ca.
What Are Phoenix Tears?
This wonderful resource holds a wealth of well-organized, detailed information about his journey and the concentrate he developed. We highly recommend you explore this resource if you are as passionate about this subject as we are!
Start with Run from the Cure, a documentary detailing not just Rick’s story, but the story of those he has helped. Moving and hope-filled, it is a must-see!
Throughout their site, Rick and his partner Danijela issue disclaimers. They are not associated with the making of any brand of RSO and even have an excellent video warning about RSO scammers. Instead, Rick freely explains and demonstrates how he prepares his Phoenix Tears. All of the information on his site is free. And it is abundantly clear that his motivation stems from pure passion, certainty, and altruism.
Corrie Yelland: Cancer Survivor and Cannabis Advocate
“I said all along, if this works, I’m going to spend the rest of my life telling people about it…how could I not tell people about it? That I know of, I know for sure, well over 1,000 people I’ve saved. At least 1,500 people, probably more.”– Corrie Yelland
Corrie Yelland discovered Rick’s cancer protocol after watching Run from the Cure. Of a similar mindset to Simpson, she went about treating her life-threatening anal canal cancer herself using the homemade high-THC concentrate. Now completely free of cancer, she shares her story and protocol, which is as compelling as Rick’s. Her cancer and cannabis advocacy is absolutely inspiring.
Today, she hosts Cannabis Health Radio, “a weekly podcast giving a voice to those who have healed themselves or a loved one with medical cannabis.” Another precious resource, we highly recommend you visit and listen.
We keep our eyes on these case studies and will continue to bring you the latest information as we discover it.
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American Cancer Society (2020) “Marijuana and Cancer,” American Cancer Society, [online] Available from: https://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatments-and-side-effects/complementary-and-alternative-medicine/marijuana-and-cancer.html (Accessed 7 July 2021).
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Chomsky, N., 1988. Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media. 3rd ed. New York: Pantheon Books, Kindle Edition.
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Huckin, T. (2019) “Propaganda by Omission: The Case of Topical Silence (Chapter 10) – Qualitative Studies of Silence,” Cambridge Core, Cambridge University Press, [online] Available from: https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/qualitative-studies-of-silence/propaganda-by-omission-the-case-of-topical-silence/2C828D5DFDECF4B8BF19EB5B37091FAA (Accessed 8 July 2021).
Joy, PhD, M., 2019. Powerarchy: Understanding the Psychology of Oppression for Social Transformation. 1st ed. Oakland, CA: Berett-Koehler Publishers, Inc. (loc 752, Kindle edition)
Maté, G. (2003) When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress, Kindle edition. Toronto, Canada, Vintage Canada.
National Cancer Institute (2021) “Cannabis and Cannabinoids (PDQ®)–Health Professional Version,” National Cancer Institute, [online] Available from: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/cam/hp/cannabis-pdq (Accessed 7 July 2021).
Pilger, J. (2015) “Why the rise of fascism is again the issue,” johnpilger.com, [online] Available from: http://johnpilger.com/articles/why-the-rise-of-fascism-is-again-the-issue (Accessed 8 July 2021).
Salami, S. A., Martinelli, F. and Giovino, A. (2020) “It Is Our Turn to Get Cannabis High: Put Cannabinoids in Food and Health Baskets,” Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), MDPI, [online] Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7571138/ (Accessed 19 June 2021).
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Spindle, Ph.D., T. R., Cone, Ph.D., E. J. and Schlienz, Ph.D., N. J. (2018) “Acute Effects of Smoked and Vaporized Cannabis in Healthy Adults Who Infrequently Use Cannabis: A Crossover Trial,” PMC US National Library of Medicine, [online] Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6324384/ (Accessed 16 January 2021).
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Woods, B. (2019) “‘Medical marijuana refugee’ Laurie Gaddis uses cannabis to treat her skin cancer,” baltimoresun.com, Baltimore Sun, [online] Available from: https://www.baltimoresun.com/citypaper/bcpnews-medical-marijuana-refugee-laurie-gaddis-uses-cannabis-to-treat-her-skin-cancer-20170421-story.html (Accessed 7 July 2021).