The use of cannabis has been growing, especially after many states and countries legalizing the use, both for recreation and medical purposes. Cannabis has been used for medicinal purposes for ages, and some studies have even found it extremely useful for chronic pain, arthritis, and even anxiety and depression. Cannabis has two significant components, Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
While CBD is a psychoactive cannabinoid, it doesn’t give you a high. It is non-toxic and non-euphoric, whereas THC is responsible for the high. CBD-based oil has been gaining a lot of popularity lately, and a THC-based product that is now trending is Rick Simpson Oil.
What is Rick Simpson Oil?
A cannabis oil product, Rick Simpson Oil (RSO), was developed by a Canadian medical marijuana activist, Rick Simpson. However, the difference between other oils and RSO is that RSO has higher THC content and a full spectrum of other cannabinoids from the whole plant. Rick Simpson doesn’t sell RSO but encourages people to create their own using his method.
Why is RSO gaining traction?
RSO’s central claim is its ability to treat cancer. In 2003, Rick Simpson was diagnosed with skin cancer. That is when he began applying RSO to the cancerous spot on his face and neck, and within a few days, the spots started to heal significantly.
As per Simspon’s website, a particular type of cannabis is used for making RSO, called Cannabis Indica. According to him, Cannabis Indica produces a sedative effect that helps to heal the body.
Simpson claims that apart from Cancer, RSO can also treat arthritis, multiple sclerosis, infections, asthma, inflammation, high blood pressure, depression, and insomnia.
Are the claims by Rick Simpson valid?
Rick Simpson tried cannabis oil after reading the 1975 study done on mice with lung cancer. The study found that THC slowed the growth of lung cancer in the tested mice. Since then, there have been numerous researches on the subject matter involving cell samples and animal models looking at the effects of cannabinoids on cancer growth.
A recent 2014 study done on mice checked the effects of THC and CBD along with radiation therapy. As per the study results, the cannabinoids helped prepare the cancer cells to respond to radiation therapy, improving the radiation efficiency.
However, one study also found that THC caused an increase in the growth rate of specific brain and lung cancer cells.
More studies have been conducted and are still being conducted involving humans with cancer. While most studies say that it is safe to use cannabis in cancer patients, the studies don’t fully show that cannabinoids help treat or control cancer. Even if the results are promising, much more comprehensive and longer-term studies must be conducted to fully understand the relationship between various cannabinoids, cannabis strains, and cancer cells.
Are there any side effects?
Due to the prevalence of THC, there are some side effects like confusion, hallucinations, and anxiety. It can also produce physical side effects such as dizziness, bloodshot eyes, low blood pressure, slow digestion, sleeping issues, impaired memory, impaired motor control, and reaction time.
It is important to note that these side effects last only for a bit of time, for a few hours, and do not pose any significant risks.
It is essential to note that there is very little research and proof that RSO can treat cancer effectively, and thus one shouldn’t stop the regular cancer treatments. Cancer, when left untreated, becomes dangerous.
Researchers are a long way from proving that cannabis can treat cancer. While results so far are promising, there is a long way to go. If you are looking at using cannabis oil for your cancer treatment or help with the side effects of chemotherapy, it is advisable to talk to your doctor first.