Rick Simpson rose to internet fame among the cannabis community following the 2008 YouTube release of Run From The Cure, the documentary that publicized his method of making a cannabis concentrate which he claims can cure cancers and other diseases. Sensi Seeds interviewed him during his recent visit to Amsterdam.
The video above this article shows the exclusive interview that Sensi Seeds had with Rick Simpson in Amsterdam in June 2016. It was filmed in Hempstory, adjacent to the Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum, and conducted by Scarlet Palmer. We hope you enjoy it, be sure to give us your feedback in the comments section!
Hello Rick Simpson, thank you for talking to us. To begin, who are you and where would people know you from?
RS: I am from Nova Scotia, Canada and many years ago I discovered the healing properties of extracts that can be produced from the cannabis hemp [sic] plant. Particularly the indica strains.
I’m here really to turn the cannabis plant free. Especially the medicinal use. No-one has the right – actually no-one ever had the right – to outlaw this plant in the first place. But it’s so badly needed now, there’s so many people with diseases today. Our immune systems are compromised from the environment we’re living in. We live in a poisoned world and it’s getting worse every day.
Cannabis is not just for health, it can supply our energy needs
We’ve got to set this plant free because what we need really is a hemp-based economy, instead of this nonsense we have today that’s all based on fossil fuels. Cannabis is not just for health, it can supply our energy needs, it can put an end to starvation, put people back on the land. I think it could put an end to unemployment. It gives humanity a future. And we can bring this planet back, but if we keep going the rate we’re going right now, I really think within 10, 15 years we could wind up extinct. Because our immune systems are compromised by our environment and everything in it, practically. If your immune system is compromised, you have nothing to fight back with.
S: You’re in Amsterdam right now, I know that you were here in 2009 for the Cannabis Cup where you received the Freedom Fighter of the Year Award, but is this the first time that you have met the Dronkers family?
R: In 2009, after I had finished the Cannabis Cup, I went on to Vienna, and I met two of Ben’s sons there, but nothing really came out of it. I was exhausted at the time, worn out from all the travelling I had been doing. But it was very nice of them to provide me with an apartment for this event. From what I see, they’re doing good work, so I’m happy to know them.
S: Recently you were the guest of honour at Cannabis Liberation Day, where you received the Koos Zwart Award (which Ben Dronkers won last year) for your contribution to cannabis activism. Can you tell us a bit about that?
R: The whole event was wonderful, I thought. At a lot of these cannabis events there’s some strange people, quite often, but at this event I found that I came in contact with many people that are really on the right track to try to get cannabis legalized, and in the proper way. So I was quite thrilled to get the award, and I was really happy to attend the event. The Cannabis Cup is just like one big party, but this was more serious in nature, so I was really pleased with it.
S: Do you think you’ll come again?
R: Oh yes. I’d be happy to.
S: You were working on Run From The Cure 2: Run To The Cure. There was a crowdfunding platform which was successfully completed, and the trailer came out in 2014. Can you tell us a bit about that, is it still going ahead? When can we expect to see it?
R: I wish I could tell you that. I get these emails all the time asking me about Run From The Cure 2. I’m in it, of course; and actually over one quarter of the money that was raised came straight out of my pocket, from book sales. So the idea was Christian Laurette [the director and producer of Run From The Cure and the planned sequel – Ed.] was supposed to complete the documentary and get it out there as soon as possible. But for the last two years, I haven’t been able to get in touch with him myself. So I don’t know if he was threatened… there’s many ways society can come at you to slow things down. I think Christian did a wonderful job when he made Run From The Cure, the original, so I really don’t know what’s happened here. It’s always been my goal to get as much information out there as possible but in this situation, with Run From The Cure 2, I really don’t know what’s going on.
Rick Simpson’s Wake Up Call
There’s other documentaries in the works now too. We shot a lot of footage in India when I was there last year. That was supposed to be ‘Rick Simpson’s Wake Up Call’. That hasn’t come out yet. There’s another gentleman in the US who has done some big documentary work, he’s interested.
What I recommend to most people is, the best thing you can do is stop reading the newspapers and stop watching the television. I shut off my television in 2003 and started watching documentaries, and that’s when you get a real education about the world we live in. Not everything on the internet is true, but you have to go through it yourself, and find your own truth. But believe me, I think those documentaries are a good education for anyone.
S: Can you tell us about your first awareness of cannabis?
R: We started hearing about cannabis in the 1960s. By the time I was around 20 years old, all my friends had started smoking cannabis. But of course I’m much smarter than they were, so I kept with the alcohol. I was about 35 years old when I finally started smoking cannabis myself and got away from the alcohol, and it was a very positive experience, because it helps take you away from the liquor. I never looked at cannabis as being a medicinal plant, never thought about it, really, until I got injured. I had this severe head injury in 1997 and it left me with post-concussion syndrome.
The doctors gave me all kinds of medications and it did nothing but harm, it just made me worse and worse. About a year after I was injured, I was watching an episode of “The Nature Of Things” with Dr David Suzuki, it was called Reefer Madness 2. It showed all these patients smoking cannabis and it was helping them a great deal, and those were serious conditions. At the time I didn’t even have any cannabis so I went out and got some from a friend. I smoked it and realized, this is doing more for me than anything the doctors are giving me.
The Marijuana Access Program
In Canada we have the Marijuana Access Program, and I thought I could get a prescription through a doctor. But every doctor I spoke to said the same thing – “it’s still under study”, “it’s bad for the lungs”. I believed in the medical system, you see, because I worked for 25 years in the medical system. I’m an engineer, I’m not a doctor, but I worked in a hospital. So I believed in what they did. But by 1999 the effects of these medications were making me suicidal. So one day, in desperation, I went to the doctor and asked him “What would you think if I made the essential oil from cannabis, and ingested it, as oppose to smoking it?” When I said that, the doctor hesitated, then he said: “Well, that would be a much more medicinal way to use it.”
But they still wouldn’t give me a prescription. I was growing cannabis at that point, so I made my own extract. I’m ashamed to say it, but I was afraid to take it. I knew from the effects of the indicas that it would be very sedative, but I was making a concentrate. I didn’t know what else it would do, so I was a bit afraid of it. Almost three years later, in late 2001, the doctor called me into his office. He said “There’s nothing more we can do for you, we’ve given you everything we have, so you’re on your own.” Again I asked for a prescription; again I was denied the prescription. So really I was put in the position where I had no choice. I started taking little doses at night, about an hour before bed, and as I upped the dosage I started getting the sleep and rest that I required. I hadn’t had any good sleep for five years at that point. My thinking processes cleared up, it brought my blood pressure under control, it cured the arthritis in my knees. It brought me back to a healthy weight; I lost 30, 40 pounds. It was just amazing to see all of this happening. People around me were seeing it too. The improvement was very dramatic.
Three skin lesions – but why would I have cancer?
In late 2002 I went to my doctor to see about three lesions I had, one close to my eye on the side of my nose, one on my cheek, and one on my chest. I’d had them since the 1990s. They wouldn’t heal. I suspected they were skin cancer. When the doctor looked at them, the one he was most concerned about was close to my eye. He said we’ll have that removed first, then at a later date you can come in and have the other two areas done. I had the operation, and about a week after, I took a magnifying mirror and was looking at where they had operated, and it was infected. That’s common in hospitals today, sadly. It was really quite ugly.
Right at that moment, I remembered a study featured on a local radio station back around 1975 that stated THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, had been found to kill cancer cells. At this point I thought “Well, this can’t be true,” because at that point I’d been ingesting the extracts for about a year, and if this was true, why would I have cancer?
Rick Simpson almost didn’t even try the oil
So I hate to say it, but I almost didn’t even try it. But I thought, well, I have these areas anyway, so I just put a drop of oil on the one on my cheek and the one on my chest, and I put a bandage on each one. Now anybody that has basal cell carcinoma, it feels like you have splinters in the affected area, like wood splinters. And it’s always irritating, and it’s usually puffed up or bleeding a little bit, and it’s usually an open lesion. I noticed immediately, as soon as I put the extract on, that splinter feeling went away. But I didn’t feel anything else. So I left the bandages in place.
Four days later I remember looking in the mirror when I took the bandages off and I was just shocked. Because it was completely healed, just pink skin. The one on my chest was the same. So I started telling friends and neighbours what I’d done, and saying, “I think this extract from the cannabis plant actually healed my cancers”. And of course everybody laughed at me! “Yeah right, Rick, marijuana cures cancer, you know you’re insane”. About seven weeks later the one they had surgically removed came roaring right back. So I watched it develop, the puffiness and the splinters in the face feeling.
S: Had they biopsied it when they removed it?
R: Yes, there was a biopsy done [on the one on his nose – Ed.]
S: And the other two?
R: Well they were all the same, the same feeling, the same appearance. This one came back so I just took a drop of the oil, put it on the affected area, put a bandage on, and left it for four days. And when I took the bandage off: completely healed. That’s well over thirteen years ago now, and I’ve never had to re-treat these areas.
I went to my doctor’s office a few days later, to get a copy of the pathology report, and it stated right there: basal cell carcinoma. The doctor’s wife was the receptionist, and she knew that I had asked the doctor many times for prescriptions for cannabis. I told her I would like to come back in the evening and have a conversation with the doctor about something I’d been working on. She looked at me and said “What’s this about?”. I said that the cancer they had removed came right back in seven weeks, so I cured it and the other two areas using hemp [sic] oil.
“I was already ingesting the extracts, so I knew there was no danger involved…”
So it was at that point that I started passing the extracts out to people. At first it was for skin conditions, like psoriasis, skin cancer, third degree burns; anything like that, it heals magnificently. A short time later I started giving it to people to treat internal cancers, because I just thought well, if it heals cancer on the outside, what would it do on the inside? And I was already ingesting the extracts, so I knew there was no danger involved… From there it just exploded. The results were astounding, and they would tell their friends and neighbours, and then more and more people kept coming.
S: Can you tell us about what’s coming up next for you?
R: I’ll be travelling back to Zagreb on Thursday, but I hope within the next two or three weeks to travel to Spain or Portugal. Some of these countries are now much more open even than here in the Netherlands. Behind closed doors, you can grow a certain number of cannabis plants, so I would like to go there and get these extracts perfected to the highest medicinal levels. This is my goal, perfect the medicine and get the price down.
This is the problem with the black market. Where did it come from? Our governments. Cannabis was grown for thousands of years as a farm crop, no regulations, nothing. So why do we need regulations now? The simple truth is, if they were allowed to grow cannabis properly the way they should be, you could go out and buy a kilo of high quality medicinal bud for ten dollars. It’s a farm crop, it’s no different from corn or anything else. We need freedom, and what I’ve always said is, when we set the cannabis plant free, we set ourselves free.