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The CULTA Blog

Who is Rick Simpson?

cannabis oil on marble table

If you’ve been paying attention to our blog, you may have read our piece about RSO. RSO is a high-THC cannabis oil that gets lots of attention online from people who claim it cures cancer. And no, in case you’re curious, it doesn’t cure cancer -- as of August 2021, there is no scientific evidence linking RSO to a cancer treatment or cure. The full name of the cannabis oil is Rick Simpson Oil (RSO), and you’re probably wondering who Rick Simpson is and why there’s a cannabis oil named after him. 

Read on to learn more about Rick Simpson. 

So, who is Rick Simpson?

Rick Simpson is a medical cannabis cultivator and activist. Before he invented RSO, he was an engineer who worked in Canada. In the late 90s, he suffered an accident at work that left him unconscious. Although he was given medical attention right away he continued to suffer from dizziness and tinnitus in the years following the incident. Traditional pharmaceuticals and treatment plans failed to provide him with relief, so he started researching alternative medicines. Inspired by a documentary on cannabis, Simpson used medical cannabis and found relief from many of his symptoms. 

For more on Rick Simpson, check out this interview. 

The invention of RSO

Simpson used medical cannabis for the next decade or so, and was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma (a form of skin cancer) after noticing some bumps on his arm in 2003. After learning about a study from the National Cancer Institute in which THC was used to treat mice with cancer, he tried to treat his own cancer with cannabis oil. After applying cannabis oil directly to the affected area and covering it with a bandage, he noticed that the cancerous growths on his arms seemed to disappear in less than a week. 

Although his doctor refused to admit that cannabis “cured” Simpson’s cancer, Simpson became a firm believer in medical cannabis and was determined to share his story with the world. Some users claim that they prefer to use RSO rectally, as they feel their body absorbs it more quickly. 

Rick Simpson’s mission

Simpson believed so heavily in medical cannabis that he didn’t want to patent and profit from his oil. Instead, he shared his experience and knowledge with the rest of the world for free, so anyone could benefit from it, regardless of their financial situation. Since the mid-2000s, Simpson has been a vocal cannabis advocate, and participates in speaking engagements, consultations, and political activism, especially in Europe. Unfortunately, Rick had a stroke in 2018 and his recovery has been a burden, both medically and financially. If you’d like to support Rick, you can purchase one of his books or donate to him directly. 

Other notable cannabis activists 

Rick Simpson isn’t the only cannabis activist who hails from Canada. Other Canadians who work towards cannabis reform include movie stars Pamela Anderson, Tommy Chong, and Seth Rogen, and politician Brian Taylor. Most agree that one of the best ways to work towards reform is to call attention to the matter at hand; in this case, cannabis decriminalization and legalization. If you’d like to learn more, read our blog What You Can Do to Legalize Cannabis in Your State


Although there are instructions for making RSO oil online, we strongly advise against making your own cannabis oils. For one, it is illegal in most states. Second, it is very dangerous; DIY cannabis oil operations have resulted in fires, explosions, and injuries. And finally, professional manufacturers (like CULTA) have the tools and expertise that are required to do it right. 

To learn more about CULTA’s high-quality RSO, visit our Baltimore dispensary.