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What Is Rick Simpson Oil (RSO)?: The Facts You Need to Know


    9 min Read

    Unless you're a cannabis aficionado, you probably don't know who Rick Simpson is. In fact, being somewhat of a private person, it's safe to say Rick wouldn't mind if it stayed that way.

    But Rick's work and contribution to the growing global cannabis community are too important not to share! In this article, we'll introduce you to Rick Simpson.

    We'll tell you just who he is and answer the burning questions about his work; what is Rick Simpson oil, otherwise called RSO?

    Ready? Let's dive in.

    Who the Heck Is Rick Simpson Anyway?

    Rick Simpson is just a guy. A Canadian man who believes in the healing power of cannabis.

    Back in 2003, Rick was diagnosed with a type of skin cancer. Basal cell carcinoma. Not long after his diagnosis, he read about a study where THC was used to successfully cure cancer cells in mice.

    At this time, Rick was already a big fan of using cannabis as medicine. He found it useful in treating tinnitus and dizzy spells that were a result of a fall he'd had some years prior.

    Now, he had been using various pipes or bowls to inhale the stuff. But to treat his skin cancer, he wanted something topical. During routine cleaning of his bowl, he wondered if perhaps the resin that had built up had any medicinal value left.

    In most cases, once heat or light is applied, the cannabinoids will start to break down. But with the resin in the bowl, they weren't burned per se. He had a hunch and went for it.

    And we should all be glad he did!

    His experiment's result is what we now lovingly call Rick Simpson Oil or RSO for short. Some of the most potent stuff there is. He alleges to have applied this oil to his cancerous spots, covering them with a bandaid, and within a few days, they were completely gone.

    Pretty incredible, right?

    What Is Rick Simpson Oil Exactly?

    Rick Simpson hemp oil is a super potent cannabis concentrate. It's quite thick, almost like syrup. You can apply it topically, like Rick did, or ingest it on food or in a drink.

    RSO tends to have levels of THC up in the 90% level. It's strong stuff.

    It's made by washing your cannabis buds with a solvent; Rick recommends pure light naphtha, at least once, preferably twice if you have high-quality bud. Then you boil off the solvent, which leaves behind the precious oil.

    You Can Make RSO Yourself

    Rick is big on open-source. On his website, you can find very detailed instructions on how to make this gooey wonder yourself. The process isn't difficult, but it does take some time and attention to detail.

    If you aren't suffering from immediate challenges, making your own RSO could be a fun activity. If not, you can certainly purchase some at your local dispensary.

    While there aren't any official medical claims to support Rick's personal anecdotes yet, he stands by RSO. He believes it helped him and wants to help others the same way.

    Rick's kind of a great guy.

    What Are the Benefits of Rick Simpson Oil?

    More research is needed to be certain of the benefits of RSO and cannabis products more generally. However, preliminary studies are quite promising.

    For example, one such study looked at the effects of usingTHC and CBD alongside chemotherapy. The study was done on lab mice who had brain cancer. Lo and behold, the researchers found that the cannabis extracts seemed to increase radiation therapy's effectiveness!

    Along the same thread, there has been ongoing research into the antitumor properties of cannabinoids in animals. While the results are promising, more human trials are needed to really determine the efficacy.

    Cannabis products, in general, are said to help with pain management, inflammation, sleep disorders, and epilepsy. Perhaps the best-known case of cannabis used in that manner is Charlotte Figi.

    Charlotte’s Story

    Charlotte Figi was a remarkable person. She and her family's efforts really helped catalyze change around marijuana laws. In fact, the popular Charlotte's Web brand of CBD products is her namesake!

    Charlotte had epilepsy and would sometimes have 300 seizures in a week. After nothing else seemed to help, her parents tried CBD out of desperation, and it worked! Up until her recent death, Charlotte was able to live a somewhat normal life.

    It's also worth noting that the positive results seem to be amplified when cannabinoids are used together rather than isolates. This is what's known as the entourage effect.

    A great example of this concept in action is how non-psychoactive CBD tempers the psychoactive effects of THC. Giving the user a nice balanced sensation.

    Again, more research is needed using human patients, but the existing data looks hopeful. As cannabis becomes more and more normalized, you can expect more money to do this kind of research.

    What Does RSO Look Like?

    Because of the way RSO is processed, it is thick and usually a very dark amber color. The color is from all the (potentially) healing plant resins left after the solvent evaporates. An ooey, gooey, THC packed glob of resin-like material.

    It's most often sold in small syringes, which is great for a few reasons.

    First, because it makes it easy to work with, second, it's super easy to dose, and lastly, it gives it a nice long shelf life since it's protected from oxidation.

    In most cases, a syringe of RSO will have somewhere in the neighborhood of 600 mg of THC. The actual number is totally dependent on the type of bud that was used.

    The Rick way to make RSO is to use pure Indica strains with high THC content; however, you can really use any strain you like to make RSO. Your results will vary depending on the strain(s) you choose and the moisture content of the plants themselves.

    How Do You Use Rick Simpson Oil?

    There are a couple of different ways that you can enjoy Rick Simpson Oil.

    We'll start with the Rick method. This is really meant for people who have acute or chronic conditions they need help with. His recommendation is to slowly ingest 60 grams of RSO over the course of three months.

    It should go like this:

    In your first week, dose three times a day. Once in the morning, once in the afternoon, and then once more night. The first dose should be about half the size of a rice grain since RSO is very potent.

    After your first week, you will start to double your dose every four days. By week five, you'll be at a full gram of RSO in a day.

    Depending on the person, it will take somewhere between three to five weeks to get to the gram of RSO a day level. Once you're there, you'll carry on with the full gram a day until the 60 grams is consumed. Usually, that looks like 8-9 rice size doses every eight hours.

    You would maintain that for about 12-weeks and start to ease up once satisfied with the results.

    Can You Smoke RSO?

    Technically yes, because it's an oil. But this depends on what solvent was used to make it. If it's a highly flammable one, you shouldn't try to smoke it.

    If you made it at home, you shouldn't try to smoke it unless you have great testing equipment. If you're getting it at a dispensary, make sure to ask your budtender about the solvent used if you are trying to smoke it.

    Can You Cook With RSO?

    Totally! You can cook with RSO much as you cook with cannabutter or infused oils. Just keep in mind that RSO is potent and sticky. So it wouldn't necessarily be delicious with every meal.

    If you plan to bake with it, cakes, sweetbreads, or brownies will serve you better than cookies. More liquid batter means it would be easier to integrate.

    You could also do a fancy little Rick Simpson hemp oil drizzle over top of your masterpiece, but it will definitely impact the overall flavor. So keep that in mind while you create.

    Are There Any Side Effects?

    It depends on the person as everyone experiences varying side effects, but for the most part, it should just be the normal cannabis side effects you’d expect like dry mouth, dry eyes, potential munchies and similar.

    If you are new to cannabis and RSO, be sure to start low and go slow. Even just the smallest amount of RSO can send you into the stratosphere. The usual sleepiness that comes with high dose THC can also be present, but if you get more than your tolerance allows for, you may notice some anxious feelings as well. It’s worth us repeating, start low and go slow when trying Rick Simpson Oil for the first time.

    The taste isn't something most people enjoy. Kind of sticky, bitter; it's resin, after all. That's what it tastes like. Some people like to put it on chocolate, which actually can boost the effects.

    Where Can I Find RSO?

    Now whenever someone asks, 'what is Rick Simpson Oil?' you can regale them with your newfound knowledge! Or better yet, you can share your stash!

    If you don't want to DIY it, we do have some available at our various locations, but check your specific dispensary location for info on what is in stock.

    Have you already tried RSO? Has it changed your life or helped you in some way?

    Please drop us a comment and share your RSO story!

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