What Is The Difference Between Rick Simpson Oil And CBD Oil?

Rick Simpson v cbd oil

If like me, you’re a regular news reader, you will have noticed an ever growing presence of articles relating to medicinal cannabis (CBD) and its benefits when it comes to treating certain ailments.  You may have read about Billy Caldwell, a 12 year old boy with a rare form of epilepsy, who’s mother has been administering CBD Oil in order to prevent him from having seizures.  In March 2018, we heard about Joy Smith, a lady who claims she cured her terminal cancer with Rick Simpson Oil (RSO).  Whilst this is fantastic news, it leaves us with a little confusion and raises the question as to what these medical cannabis products are and the difference between them?


Who is Rick Simpson?

Ricks story started in Canada 1997, when he was an Engineer working in the boiler room of a Canadian hospital trying to cover the asbestos on the pipes with aerosol glue.  Due to a combination of toxic fumes from the glue and the lack of ventilation, Rick suffered from temporary nervous system shock, which caused him to fall from his ladder leaving him with a head injury.  For years after his accident, Rick suffered from a ringing in his ears (Tinnitus) as well as dizzy spells.  The medication he had been prescribed had little to no effect on his symptoms.  After watching a documentary about the positive medical benefits of using cannabis, he started to make enquiries as an option to treat his own symptoms.  Ricks Doctor wouldn’t consider cannabis for his head injury so Rick started to acquire cannabis through his own accord and saw a significant improvement in both the dizzy spells and the Tinnitus.

As things were starting to improve for Rick, in 2003 he was diagnosed with Basal Cell Carcinoma, a form of skin cancer.  He had 3 spots of cancer on his arm, 2 on his face and 1 on his neck.  Recalling the documentary he’d watched and a study from the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, which stated that THC was found to kill cancer cells in mice, he decided to take matters into his own hands.  He developed a highly concentrated cannabis oil, which is now known as Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) and applied this topically to his Basal Cell Carcinoma lumps and covered them with a bandage.  A few days later, Rick removed his bandages and much to his satisfaction, the lumps had disappeared.  His Doctor and other medical practitioners refused to acknowledge cannabis as a cure but Rick believed in the medicinal, healing properties of the plant and started to cultivate and harvest his own cannabis to create Rick Simpson Oil (RSO).  From this point on, this became Ricks mission, to provide his wonder oil, free of charge to whoever needed it.


So, What is the difference between Rick Simpson Oil and CBD Oil?

There are very few individuals that understand the unique nature of the cannabis plant.  It is a complex herb made up of almost 500 different compounds and because of the various ways they can effect human receptors, it can be like comparing oranges with oranges when looking at different cannabis products.

Both Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) and CBD Oil share a common bond with the compound Cannabidiol however, the likeness ends there.  Rick Simpson Oil also uses a second cannabinoid, Tetrahydrocannabinol or as its more commonly known, THC.  The main effects of THC are psychoactive , stimulating parts of the brain, which leads to the release of dopamine.  Depending on the strain that is used, Rick Simpson Oil can contain 50-60% THC and 10-15% CBD.  Studies have shown, that when both THC and CBD are used together, the painkilling properties of them are much more powerful than when either cannabinoid is taken on its own.

CBD is a non-psychoactive compound and can be used alone to help with various problems that occur in the nervous system.  CBD oil traditionally contains a maximum of 0.2% THC and was readily available to buy as a food supplement until November 2016, when the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) deemed that it had medicinal benefits and should therefore be sold as a medicine.  Since then, some sellers are offering CBD oil that is sourced from Hemp rather than cannabis, the legitimacy of which is often called into question.


In Summary

THC and CBD are thought to have a multitude of medicinal benefits in different areas.  A review conducted by Professor Dame Sally Davies shows conclusive evidence that CBD and other medicinal cannabis products can benefit those with one or several conditions.  There is still more research to be done in regards to what conditions, illnesses or ailments can be helped or cured with CBD and THC however, because cannabis has been controlled and listed under Schedule 1 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, it has been difficult for clinical trials to be carried out.  Last week (26th July 2018), Home Secretary Sajid Javid announced that Doctors will be able to legally prescribe medicinal cannabis products (CBD) as of Autumn 2018.   It is still unclear as to how these products will be rescheduled but for now this is a huge leap in the right direction.




Legal Cannabis Oil In The UK

Where To Buy Medicinal Cannabis UK

2018 is turning out to be a key year for cannabis legislation in the UK. Since the Daily Mail reported in March that Joy Smith claimed that she cured herself from inoperable bowel and stomach cancer, we’ve seen similar stories published in the press ever since.

In May we read about Billy Caldwell and his mother Charlotte who were forced to fly to Canada to obtain medicinal  cannabis for epilepsy. The whole case is thought to have triggered the government to set up a panel to assess medical cannabis requests.

Whilst this is good news for millions of people, it’s still taking time for the panel to make their recommendations and more importantly to get medicinal cannabis to those who need it most.

Cannabis Regulation in the UK

Legislation changes rarely happen overnight, especially when it concerns a controlled substance. The good news however is that things are moving faster than we’ve seen in many years. Over the past couple of months the pace at which the regulatory system has progressed has been impressive to say the least. At the time of writing this article we’ve seen a flurry of activity over the past few weeks especially.

An expert panel has been set up to asses medicinal cannabis, in addition, the department for health and social care published an review conducted by Professor Dame Sally Davies that explores the therapeutic and medicinal benefits of cannabis based products.

The review identified that conclusive evidence existed that shows that various cannabis derived products are of benefit to those with several conditions.

Below is an extract of the review:

Conclusive or substantial evidence that cannabis or cannabinoids are effective:
a) for the treatment of chronic pain in adults (cannabis);
b) as treatment for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (oral cannabinoids)
c) for improving patient-reported multiple sclerosis spasticity symptoms (oral

6.2 There is moderate evidence that cannabis or cannabinoids are effective for:
a) Improving short-term sleep outcomes in individuals with sleep disturbance
associated with obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome, fibromyalgia, chronic pain,
and multiple sclerosis (cannabinoids, primarily nabiximols)

6.3 There is limited evidence that cannabis or cannabinoids are effective for:
a) Increasing appetite and decreasing weight loss associated with HIV/AIDS
(cannabis and oral cannabinoids)
b) Improving clinician-measured multiple sclerosis spasticity symptoms (oral
c) Improving symptoms of Tourette syndrome (THC capsules)
d) Improving anxiety symptoms, as assessed by a public speaking test, in individuals
with social anxiety disorders (cannabidiol‡)
e) Improving symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (nabilone; a single, small
fair-quality trial)

6.4 There is limited evidence of a statistical association between cannabinoids and:
a) Better outcomes (i.e., mortality, disability) after a traumatic brain injury or
intracranial haemorrhage.

6.5 NASEM found no or insufficient evidence to support or refute the conclusion that
cannabis or cannabinoids are an effective treatment for:
a) Cancers, including glioma (cannabinoids)
b) Cancer-associated anorexia cachexia syndrome and anorexia nervosa
c) Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (dronabinol)
d) Epilepsy (cannabinoids)
e) Spasticity in patients with paralysis due to spinal cord injury (cannabinoids)
f) Symptoms associated with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (cannabinoids)
g) Chorea and certain neuropsychiatric symptoms associated with Huntington’s
disease (oral cannabinoids)
h) Motor system symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease or the levodopainduced
dyskinesia (cannabinoids)
i) Dystonia (range of movement disorders that cause muscle spasms and
contractions) (nabilone and dronabinol)j) Achieving abstinence in the use of addictive substances (cannabinoids)
k) Mental health outcomes in individuals with schizophrenia or schizophreniform
psychosis (cannabidiol)§

‡ Cannabidiol is not a controlled substance and is therefore not included in Schedule 1.

The review goes on to recommend that because of the evidence, cannabis be reclassified, Here is the quote:

There is now however, conclusive evidence of the therapeutic benefit of cannabis based medicinal products for certain medical conditions and reasonable evidence of therapeutic benefit in several other medical conditions.

This evidence has been reviewed in whole or part, and considered robust, by some of the leading international scientific and regulatory bodies, as well as the World Health Organization (WHO). As Schedule 1 drugs by definition have little or no therapeutic potential, it is therefore now clear that from a scientific point of view keeping cannabis based medicinal products in Schedule 1 is very difficult to defend.

Moreover, I believe that it would not make sense to move cannabis and its
derivatives out of Schedule 1 whilst leaving synthetic cannabinoids, which the
evidence suggests have potentially greater therapeutic benefit and less potential for harm, in Schedule 1. I therefore recommend that the whole class of cannabis based medicinal products be moved out of Schedule 1.

This review in itself, is a clear indication of just how quickly things are changing. This in part is due to social pressure.

Frustration from the general public and from industry has been fuelled by the apparent lack of communication or cooperation from the regulatory bodies. Some in the industry even considered that some government departments could have been accused of malfeasance simply because questions went unanswered for months, requests for clarification went ignored and obstacles came from left field as different government offices contradicted each other.

In October 2016, the MHRA issued a statement to the effect that they’d come to the opinion that CBD did indeed have medicinal benefits and as such could no longer be classified as a food supplement. In order to continue to sell CBD products, businesses were told that they’d have to apply for a  product licence.  Since then, trade associations and businesses involved in CBD production, import and retail have had little to no guidance or clarification. Not only has this affected many businesses but more importantly it has seen people who depend on CBD struggling to find supplies.

To make matters worse, CBD from overseas sellers has still been available despite the MHRA statement, no regulation seems to have been in place and so the quality of the products that were openly marketed in the UK has been unknown.

Where Can I Buy Medicinal Cannabis In The UK?

The simple answer at the moment (July 2018) is that you can’t. The supply of medicinal cannabis is imminent although the availability and the actual composition of the products is as yet unknown.

It seems that various tinctures, oils and compounds will be available, some will be prescription only due to THC levels whilst others will continue to be available online such as these Hemp based CBD Oils that are currently available on Amazon.

If you want to be considered for medicinal cannabis then perhaps the best way forward is to speak to your GP. It’s expected that things will continue to move at a fast pace and that once cannabis is rescheduled then we’ll see medicinal cannabis prescriptions being issued nationwide.

This massive change in legislation is unlikely to affect recreational cannabis. Instead, isolates will be researched and should lead to some exciting clinical research and trials that will substantiate the claims of many who have self medicated using cannabis extracts. Exciting times!