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What is Rick Simpson Oil

Ever heard of RSO? Rick Simpson Oil was named after a medical marijuana activist. There are a ton of bold claims out there about this one, so you’re best to do some good research before using it. It’s a good thing you’re here! 

Let’s take a look at the famous RSO, what it is, the claims for RSO’s cancer treatment, and how RSO is used.


Rick Simpson’s Story - Rick Simpson Oil 

Right off of the bat - you need to know that there are absolutely no formal studies out there on RSO, specifically. Which means most of the effects you will read about it online are not based on scientific evidence, but peoples’ personal experiences.


What is Rick Simpson oil?


One of those experiences was of course, that of Rick Simpson himself. In 2003, Simpson was diagnosed with a skin cancer called basal cell carcinoma, after spotting 3 small bumps on his arm. He’d used cannabis to treat medical issues in the past, so he decided to create his own oil, and applied it topically with a bandage to the area. Allegedly, within days the bumps disappeared. 

Although his physician couldn’t acknowledge his oil as a treatment, Simpson became a believer in the medicinal qualities of the cannabis plant, spreading the word of the oil - later to be named after him by followers. 

You could argue Simpson might be right. If you follow modern medical news, we now know that certain compounds produced in the cannabis plant like its cannabinoids & terpenes, work hand-in-hand with your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS affects just about your entire body. These terpenes have documented effects, such as their ability to reduce inflammation. The terpene Limonene even reduced cancer cell expression over 6 weeks, during a study in 2013.


Scientific evidence and Rick Simpson Oil


So What Is Rick Simpson Oil?  

Simpson didn’t sell his recipe to anyone, he actually gave it out for free. So if it really worked for him, it’s hard to come up with a reason to demonise the guy. RSO is essentially a cannabis oil concentrate, made up of the Indica strain and a solvent like isopropyl alcohol.  

So what makes RSO different? The oil itself is super concentrated and contains high levels of THC. 

THC is a psychoactive compound, meaning it’s the part of the plant that gets you high. High THC content is what makes medicinal cannabis products like RSO legal only through your GP & a lot of paperwork - which also means you won’t find RSO for sale in your local pharmacy. 


Benefits of Rick Simpson Oil

Remember, there are no scientific studies that prove this oil recipe or treatment, in particular, is effective for anything. However, in addition to cancer, RSO allegedly treats


The list above may seem familiar, as it’s a list of common conditions that a whole range of cannabis products are showing promise in treating. Rick Simpson himself decided to try cannabis oil to treat his skin cancer after reading about the results of a 1975 study that tested the use of cannabinoids in mice with lung cancer. The study found that both THC and another cannabinoid called cannabinol (CBN) slowed the growth of lung cancer in mice. 

Since then, there’s been more research involving cell samples and animal models that look at the effects of cannabinoids on cancer growth.

RSO is a great alternative to other cannabis products because it's fairly easy to make, discrete, it doesn’t smell like much and isn’t consumed via smoking -  it can be taken orally on its own, or in food. 


How to Make Rick Simpson Oil 

Please do not try to make your own RSO! To ensure you are consuming a cannabis product that is safe, you should only use RSO made by professionals. It’s not the cannabis itself that can be harmful, but the flammable process of making RSO and the risk of solvent residue if not made correctly. 


How to Use Rick Simpson Oil


What is Rick Simpson oil?


If you’re a medical patient, please consult your GP before starting a treatment. Some physicians won’t recommend cannabis as a course of treatment. So if you want to try this out, do so with caution and at your own discretion. 

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.


Side Effects of Rick Simpson Oil

Depending on your tolerance to cannabis already, the main side-effect of an RSO regime is sleepiness. So you might feel like taking naps throughout the day. This should fade after 3-4 weeks of use as your tolerance rises. 

Other side effects of using RSO are similar to what anyone might experience when smoking marijuana - all thanks to the key ingredient, THC. THC is a psychoactive substance, meaning it can produce a range of temporary psychological symptoms, such as: 


It can also cause physical side effects, such as:

  • Low blood pressure.
  • Bloodshot eyes.
  • Dizziness.
  • Slow digestion.
  • Sleeping issues.
  • Impaired motor control and reaction time.
  • Impaired memory.


Some people might hate the taste. To avoid this, just mix it in with meals or have it with a banana.


Reviewed by Dr. Les Baxter. 

Featured image courtesy of HealthMJ.