Rick Simpson Oil, or RSO, is a cannabis concentrate used for many different medical benefits, including relieving cancer symptoms. It has a thick, syrupy consistency and can be applied as a topical or ingested in food or drinks.
In this article we’ll go over who Rick Simpson is and why he created this oil, how it’s used, how to make your own RSO at home, and whether or not you can smoke it.
What is RSO?
In 2003, Rick Simpson created a cannabis oil after three suspicious bumps on his arm turned out to be basal cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer. Simpson had used cannabis to treat medical issues in the past, so he made a cannabis oil to treat his skin cancer topically, applying it to a bandage and covering the cancerous spots.
Within days, the cancerous growths disappeared. Although his physician refused to acknowledge cannabis as a treatment alternative, Simpson became a true believer in the medicinal powers of cannabis and spread the word of his cannabis oil, later called RSO after him.
Benefits of RSO
It’s important to note that there are currently no scientific studies that prove the effectiveness of RSO. However, it is mainly used to help treat skin cancer, and many people report that it helps relieve symptoms of other conditions.
Compared to other forms of cannabis, RSO is great because it’s easy to make, it’s discrete and odorless, and can be taken orally on its own, or mixed with any food.
How to use RSO
For medical patients, it is always recommended to consult your physician before starting any new treatment regimen. However, some physicians may be adverse to cannabis as a course of treatment. If you decide to use RSO, proceed with caution and at your own discretion.
Below is a recommended RSO regimen. When look for symptom relief for a condition or for medical benefits, for one patient, the goal is to gradually consume 60 grams of Rick Simpson Oil over the course of a 90-day period.
Week 1: Start with three doses every day
Each dose should be about the size of half a grain of rice and should be administered once every eight hours (morning, noon, and night); the first dose will be about ¼ drop of RSO.
Weeks 2 through 5: Double your dose every four days
The average person will take between three and five weeks to reach the full dosage of one gram of RSO per day.
Weeks 5 through 12: Take one gram of RSO daily until you’ve consumed the full 60 grams
Eventually, the patient will be taking about 8-9 rice-sized drops of RSO every eight hours.
Mainly sleepiness, which is a natural part of the healing process. Increasing the dose gradually will help minimize the psychoactive effects and keep your tolerance to a functional level. Daytime sleepiness should fade within three to four weeks.
The taste of the RSO may be slightly bitter or unpleasant, so patients may prefer to ingest the oil by swallowing it directly or mixing it with food, such as bananas, to help mask the taste.
After a 12-week regimen of RSO, you may want to continue the treatment but it should be at a significantly reduced rate. About one to two grams of RSO per month is enough for a regular maintenance dose.
Rick Simpson Oil should not be considered a cure-all for medical conditions, but many patients have experienced significant relief from their medical symptoms and conditions with the use of RSO.
Who is Rick Simpson and Why Did He Create RSO?
In 2003, Canadian Rick Simpson was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma, a skin cancer. Soon after his cancer diagnosis, he read a study from the Journal of the National Cancer Institute that showed THC could kill cancer cells in mice. Simpson was already a fan of medical cannabis — he’d been using it to treat tinnitus and dizzy spells caused after falling and hitting his head several years earlier — so he decided to try to treat his skin cancer with cannabis oil.
According to Simpson’s account, he whipped up a homemade extract, applied it directly to the cancerous moles, and covered them with a bandage. Four days later, he removed the bandages and claimed the growths were gone.
Simpson then began growing and cultivating his own cannabis to perfect a custom oil blend, and, after health and government groups like the Canadian Cancer Society ignored his discovery, he set out to promote the medicinal effects of cannabis to others. He created a YouTube documentary, “Run From the Cure,” and wrote a book, “The Rick Simpson Story.”
Until 2009, when he was ordered to stop for legal reasons, he gave away his oil — dubbed Rick Simpson Oil, or RSO — for free. Since 2013, Simpson has lived in Europe, and, according to his website, he cannot legally enter the U.S. due to the criminal background he received from the Canadian government.
Controversy and Copycats
While one of the most well-known personalities within the medical cannabis community, Simpson has also drawn some controversy and skepticism in his career. He has drawn some ire from physicians and medical professionals for his lack of scientific research or clinical trials to back up his claims.
Simpson still has his share of defenders who have claimed to have successfully used his blend of oil to cure cancer.
On his website, Simpson states that he no longer produces or supplies his oil due to its illegality in many countries. He makes note to disassociate himself with any online vendors who claim to supply “Rick Simpson Oil.”
Simpson claims that the only way to ensure patients have his blend of oil is for patients to produce it themselves. Simpson’s site has instructions and an FAQ. In addition to solvent, which is highly flammable, the recipe for RSO includes a number of random household items, including small containers, coffee filters, an electric rice cooker, a large fan, a stainless steel measuring cup, as well as a coffee warmer or oven. The recipe available on his website demonstrates how to produce the full 60 grams of RSO oil for a 90-day treatment period.
However, in the US be aware it’s often illegal at the federal level and in most local jurisdictions, even if cannabis is legal in that state. In addition, making RSO can be dangerous — work areas need to be well-ventilated with no agents (sparks, open flames, etc.) that could ignite the solvent fumes.
Despite Simpson’s claims, if you have the option, you may want to search for where to buy RSO locally.
Is RSO Considered a Full Spectrum Cannabis Oil?
Full Spectrum Cannabis Oil (FSCO), sometimes referred to as Full Extract Cannabis Oil (FECO), is a term used for cannabis oil products that capture the full range of bioactive compounds created within the plant’s glandular trichomes without altering their composition in the process.
This includes flavonoids, phenols, fatty acids, and, most importantly, a variety of terpenes and cannabinoids in their natural acid form.
While the RSO extraction process is capable of extracting the full range of compounds, the process of removing the solvent from the solution requires heat. Heat changes the cannabinoids from their acid form into their neutral, or activated, form in a process called decarboxylation (i.e. THCA decarboxylates into THC and CBDA into CBD). The heat also volatilizes most of the terpenes that were initially extracted, leaving an oil that may not have all the bioactive compounds that were available in the plant’s trichome glands.