By Steven Hager


Over a year ago, I wrote a feature article in HIGH TIMES, “Rick Simpson’s Hemp Oil Medicine,” which explained how a disabled hospital-maintenance worker in Nova Scotia, Canada, had cured his skin cancer with a topical application of homemade hash oil. Even more astonishing, after taking the same oil orally, Simpson discovered that it helped him considerably with a head injury he’d suffered. He began giving the oil to terminal cancer patients and discovered that about 70 percent of them were cured simply by ingesting 60 grams of oil in 30 days.


After the article appeared in HIGH TIMES, two things happened: 1) The Mounties raided Simpson’s home and forced him to flee to Eastern Europe to avoid jail; 2) Dr. Lester Grinspoon, the foremost medical-marijuana expert in the world, wrote a note of caution advising me (and others) not to take Simpson’s claims at face value, since there was zero scientific proof to back them up. In fact, all of the documentation that Simpson collected had been seized by the Canadian government in the raid, and while I’d met several people who swore that his hash oil had saved their lives, no one produced a biopsy or other evidence to support their claim.


When I spoke to Simpson about this, he said simply: “Put some oil on a case of skin cancer and watch it go away in a few days. How hard is that?” Since there are approximately two million cases of skin cancer reported in this country every year, I reasoned that finding people to test this theory wouldn’t be difficult. Yet even within the cannabis-law reform community, few people seemed to take Simpson seriously. In fact, some leading activists viewed him as a dangerous quack, and not one doctor seemed interested in testing or replicating his astonishing results.


Then along came Dr. Robert J. Melamede, former chairman of the Department of Biology at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Melamede is now the CEO of Cannabis Science, Inc., a company working closely with the Phoenix Tears Foundation and Rockbrook Dispensary to test this cannabis-oil medicine and document the results. A recent press release from the company asserts that a topical application of cannabis oil rapidly cured a documented case of basal-cell carcinoma.


Not mentioned in the release, however, is the fact that several cases of terminal cancer are also being treated with the same oil, and the preliminary results indicate that it works exactly as Simpson said it would. The only problem is getting these patients to release their medical data – it  seems no one is jumping at the chance to become the poster child for cannabis and cancer.


Actually, there had been one volunteer for that position: Michelle Rainey, who began taking the oil immediately after discovering that she had melanoma and lymphatic cancer which had metastasized into her liver. Sadly, Rainey died a few weeks after starting the treatment – but Simpson always said that not every cancer patient could be saved with the oil. So while Rainey’s death was a temporary setback to the hopes of proving that cannabis cures cancer, the evidence that Melamede is now collecting could prove to be the light at the end of the tunnel.


As soon as he has a documented case of internal cancer being cured with cannabis oil, all of that documentation will be sent for review to Dr. Grinspoon, who has already promised a mea culpa should that evidence emerge. I will keep you posted on these important developments.