Rick Simpson, the Canadian man famous for curing his skin cancer with cannabis, believes that cannabis can help all people suffering from all types of cancer. He took his experience to India recently to make the key note speech at the inaugural Medical Cannabis Conference.
During the conference, Simpson called on government officials to stop restricting medicinal use of the plant. He noted that in the U.S., where there was once heavy opposition, there are now 23 states that have legalized marijuana as a therapeutic plant, and 13 more that have approved more limited medical cannabis oil legislation. During his speech at the conference in Bangalore, Simpson said:
“But India, which has a history of using the herb, has restrictions.”
Traditional treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy can harm a patient, Simpson noted, while medical marijuana has no side effects. He elaborated,
“Some oncologists around the world have realized the medical benefits of the herbal plant and have raised their voice for using it to treat cancer.”
Simpson also explained that he has used cannabis oil, a concentrated form created using solvents such as butane, as a curative treatment for his patients for the past 12 years. He blamed pharmaceutical companies for convincing or paying governments to only approve the expensive drugs made by the corporations, instead of allowing people to choose the cheap, herbal alternative. He called on the citizens of India to join together to fight against restrictions.
Conference founder Viki Vaurora pointed out that the plant was sacred, according to the Hindu religious text “The Atharva-Veda.” She said the book also explains that there are many medicinal properties in the plant. The top oncologists in India agree, and have already started lobbying for legal access to medicinal marijuana.
Vaurora added that cannabis could be called the first agricultural crop in India. Cannabis is known to it clean the soil in which it grows. It adds nitrogen back into the earth, improving the growing conditions for future cultivation as well.
Organizers say the conference is intended to bring an open and honest study of cannabis and its ability to cure and treat a variety of ailments. Meetings will continue each weekend in May in the cities of Pune, Mumbai and Delhi.
Although this conference will not end in legalization, it will undoubtedly be a stepping stone for future policy reform.