Sat, Jun 6, 2020

July 04, 2017 | NORTHWEST LEAF

Yes, there is a better way. By Cat Jeter.


In 2003, a quiet revolution began unnoticed in Canada when a smarter than average and frustrated gardener reached into history and resurrected a healing method nearly forgotten after almost a century of prohibition.

Rick Simpson tweaked the re-discovered method and watched surprised as he eradicated his own basal skin cell cancer.  That gentleman tried to tell as many people as he could about his success, gradually gained a following and when the first “Run from the Cure” You Tube video appeared, a revolution was born even as he was persecuted by his own government.


Good intentions abound in Simpson’s story and often amazing effects of the product have been observed. But there are several negative aspects of the preparation of Rick Simpson Oil, also known as RSO, that are rarely highlighted and easily overcome.

Yet to this day, Simpson and other purveyors of the Simpson method including Phoenix Tears refuse to discuss the danger in both production and product choosing to stand by their method, rather than supporting a safer herbal based approach, or Full Extract Cannabis Oil (FECO).

This dilemma is much like the lead pipe situations in many communities today. Certainly, when those pipes were laid a century ago, the improvement of water cleanliness was more important than any danger the encapsulated lead pipe presented. However, in an age of improved delivery materials, it is important that we take advantage of those opportunities when we can. RSO is much like this scenario. It was once a leap forward in reclaiming knowledge, but now it is oversold as a miracle, uses questionable production methods and suggests no safety testing is necessary, in contrast to the safer FECO.

Yet our industry, and worse yet, the average person encountering the herbal healing tradition is lead by casual reference to the name RSO, rather than honoring the herbal tradition which Mr. Simpson clumsily revived with an unnecessarily perilous method.


Sanity:Claimsof better quality of life with FECO, used during cancer and other severe chronic condition therapies, tend to be true in my own experience. At times remission or returned health is another observed downstream effect following the treatment, however, there is no single regimen that is successful for all consumers. Run far and fast from any “guarantee of a cure” for cancer, or anything else, including RSO. This includes the claims from the Phoenix Tears and other Rick Simpson-type organizations that make routine exaggerated curative claims that appeal to desperate people. Stay sane and engage in many smart behaviors to improve your overall health. Cannabis is just one therapy among many.

Solvent:FECO uses a human grade consumption ethanol or alcohol. One could even drink the solvent, although most of us would choose not to do so. Rick Simpson Oil by Mr. Simpson’s own instruction advocates for unsafe solvents including Naphtha and Isopropyl alcohol, both known poisons. Perhaps worse yet, Simpson himself suggests preparations made with anything other than Naphtha or Isopropyl alcohol are inferior products in spite of the obvious danger in the hands of the inexperienced and distressed patients or loved ones.

Safety: Above all, we want our herbal oil making to be safe.

It’s not going to do us any good if we blow ourselves up making it.

Naphtha, Mr. Simpson’s stated preferred solvent, is a hydrocarbon, extremely explosive in the best ventilation and poisonous as well. Unfortunately, we will never know how many people have been burned by Naphtha explosions in prohibition states where desperate people exploded their RSO cook, or how many were poisoned by a poorly purged product. Alcohol on the other hand is not nearly as explosive. And best of all, if the final product is not fully purged in a low tech or untested environment, the rough equivalent of the solvent ingested might be similar to that of the alcohol remaining in a chocolate chip cookie from the vanilla, not liver-destroying Naphtha.

Surety:Testing and quality assurance are excellent final steps when those services are available in legal states. Washington is fortunate that labs will accept personal samples for testing. However, it cannot be stressed enough that in addition to explosion, this is the single most important step to assuring quality medicine especially when using noxious solvents to extract.

Mr. Simpson finds this step laughable in a number of his commentaries, relying on the “follow my instructions” assurances and insisting that anyone who doesn’t subscribe to his poisonous method is a criminal misusing his name.    

It is important that those who are leaders and thought leaders in the growing Cannabis industry set the correct standards, expectations and use the correct terminology so those who will follow observe an admirable example of best practices and are not confused. Most of us who are medically inclined in Washington know that Naphtha isn’t safe. So why do we continue to call our safe FECO made with human consumption alcohol “RSO”?

It is time for us to shed the sketchy, semi-educated appearance of dangerous extractions and give up the name RSO, choosing to refer to the more credible Full Extract Cannabis Oil. Rick Simpson himself wants you to quit calling your fine extracts RSO. From his Phoenix Tears website, “There are many criminals who say that they are producing RSO, and who are using Rick’s name. Rick Simpson has no connection with these suppliers.” When you begin referring to your full plant extract of cannabis by the name FECO, you are telling your patient or loved one that you care enough to be safe for them, and with them. It is time to run from the prohibitionist world of RSO and toward a legitimized future of herbal healing with FECO. I think Mr. Simpson would be proud of us.