Pharyngula

A little dose of hemp will cure everything

Do these claims make you at all suspicious? A few people on Twitter told me I should look into this panacea.

Cures heart disease!

Eases anxiety and depression!

Removes unsightly moles!

Arthritis! Snoring! Diarrhea! Acne! Diabetes! Removes warts! Mighraines! Lose weight! Alcoholism! Glaucoma!

IT CURES CANCER! All forms of cancer!

And all without any detrimental effects whatsoever!

Add to the extravagant medical claims, the additional accusation that you can’t get this treatment because of a conspiracy by BigPharma and greedy, grasping doctors who want people to suffer so they can charge them lots of money to fix them with agonising tortures that don’t work.

Are you suspicious yet?

These are all claims Rick Simpson and a small group of Canadians make for hemp oil in this video.

You may not want to watch it — I’ve already given you the gist of it, and it’s repetitious and very poorly edited (hint: just because your home movie editing software has a lot of exotic transitions, doesn’t mean you have to use them all). It looks like an infomercial, with a parade of Nova Scotians offering wild anecdotal claims of all the stuff a daily dose of hemp oil cures. These testimonials are presented as the evidence that hemp oil is medically efficacious; they aren’t. Quite the opposite, actually — it all says to me that the promoters found some marginally sick people and fed their desire for wish-fulfillment, and got a slew of meaningless accolades and bizarre conspiracy theories that tell me that what’s going on here is psychology, not medicine.

It’s not just religion that kills people. I watched Rick Simpson claim that he had skin cancer, and that rubbing his marijuana extract healed the lesions overnight, and I thought… people may well die from watching and believing this claim. Some forms of skin cancer (melanoma) are extremely aggressive and dangerous — do not delay, do not play games with weird magic topical creams, get a real doctor to check it out.

The information on the video also gives off a bad vibe.

The following presentation of RUN FROM THE CURE: The Rick Simpson Story was made possible by Rick Simpson and video producer Christian Laurette… made for free to teach YOU how to heal yourself of disease and illness using cannabinoids.

Comments will be moderated to protect those who need this information. We are not asking anyone if it works, we are telling you it works; it is not a debate. Too many uneducated people coming to this channel to speak their mind on a life-saving plant they know nothing about and giving bad advice and in many cases making horrible remarks about the people who brought the information out to you.

No argument! If you disagree with him, you’re uneducated…despite the fact that the pro side consists of rural citizens who seem to know nothing about how to interpret evidence, while his opponents are doctors and scientists.

The video also lies, lies, lies. I’ve often heard quacks say this: “FACT: Chemotherapy kills more people than it saves.” It’s not true. People who are on chemotherapy are more likely to die than people who are not on it, because the only reason those people are on chemotherapy in the first place is that they are really, really sick. It makes nonsensical claims: “THC attacks mutated cells while rejuvenating healthy ones”. How do they know? These aren’t scientists making the claims, these are ordinary townspeople — Simpson makes his formula by doing a crude extraction with naptha or isopropyl alcohol in a bucket he stirs with a stick, and boils it down to an oily residue in a rice cooker (there will be an explosion and fire at his house someday, I predict). He has no tools to examine specific cellular responses, so the source of these claims of a mechanism are being taken directly out of his ass.

At least Simpson is giving his cure-all away for free — all he’s doing is feeding his over-inflated ego at the potential cost of a few lives. He’s not quite like the odious Burzynski Clinic, which bilks people for hundreds of thousands of dollars for an extravagantly promoted therapy that has no good evidence for its efficacy. And at least he has not resorted to threats.

But he’s still a dangerous quack and a crank.

One other thing: I’m all in favor of legalizing marijuana and ending the phony drug war that turns harmless folk into criminals, jacks up the cost, and entices violent thugs into what ought to be simple farming. If you look up Rick Simpson, though, you find all these groups advocating legalization also buying into Simpson’s hazardous and dishonest game. That only discredits the legalization movement.

(Also on FtB)