Medical cannabis patients may have heard of RSO, or Rick Simpson Oil, but aren’t exactly sure what it is or what RSO is used for.
RSO is a cannabis extract that most people say is a full-spectrum cannabis extract, but is most noted for its extremely high levels of THC. RSO is not exactly the same as FECO or full-extract cannabis oil, but more on that later.
This article will cover who Rick Simpson is, why he created RSO for cannabis patients and what RSO is used for, where to buy Rick Simpson Oil, and how you can make your own at home.
Who Is Rick Simpson?
Rick Simpson is a Canadian cannabis activist for which RSO is named, as he is the creator of the oil that he claimed had miraculous health effects. An engineer, Rick Simpson fell off a ladder during an asbestos removal project, leaving him with a ringing in his ears, or tinnitus.
After finding no relief from traditional pharmaceuticals, he turned to cannabis, finally being able to get some peace from the persistent ringing in his ears and the other symptoms of tinnitus. In 2003, he was diagnosed with a skin cancer called basal cell carcinoma.
After reading about the potential anti-cancer properties of the THC in cannabis in a 1975 cancer and cannabis study, he extracted as much THC as he could from his plants and applied it topically on the skin cancer. It has become a part of cannabis history that Rick Simpson became cancer-free within a week of using his THC topical.
Simpson has since spread the recipe for his oil for free, rather than getting a patent. As such he has become one of the most important figures in medical cannabis history.
What’s Special About Rick Simpson Oil?
What makes RSO different than other concentrates is its high levels of THC and the fact that it is a full-spectrum extract, meaning that it uses all parts of the plant. When you buy or make this oil, you’re not only getting high levels of THC, but also the beneficial terpenes and other parts of the plant such as esters, thiols, and aldehydes.
Full-spectrum cannabis oils are beneficial to medical cannabis patients because it helps trigger the entourage effect.
Simply put the entourage effect describes the interaction of cannabinoids and terpenes within cannabis, with the idea that these compounds create greater effect on the body while working together than working separately in their isolated form. The best analogy to explain the entourage effect comes from prominent cannabis researcher Dr. Ethan Russo: “2 + 2, instead to equaling 4, it gives you an 8 in terms of the benefit.”
What is RSO Used For?
Many cannabis patients will use this oil are drawn to it because of its potential anti-cancer and anti-tumor properties.
A 2013 study looked at the case of a 14-year old who had leukemia that was resistant to other treatments. Her desperate family contacted Simpson who helped the family make a full-spectrum cannabinoid oil (that they called hemp oil), which was administered for a period of 78 days. The patient eventually went into remission, although the study says that there were several factors other than the RSO that contributed to this.
A 2022 article told the story of Brooklyn, who was three-and-a-half when she was diagnosed with anaplastic ependymoma, class 3, a rare and unique form of brain cancer. After seeing the negative side effects of chemotherapy, after much consideration and research, her parents decided to incorporate RSO into her cancer treatments. After seeing the way chemotherapy was affecting Brooklyn’s quality of life, they decided to pursue treatment with the cannabis oil alone. Her parents say it was “overnight” that Brooklyn got her quality of life back. Her tumors shrunk and she now uses RSO oil every night to stay cancer free.
The unfortunate thing is that RSO isn’t well-researched, and much of what is known about how it has affected peoples lives relies on word of mouth and the experiences of people who have received their medical cannabis certification. We cannot definitively say that RSO can “cure” cancer, and we always encourage cancer patients to disclose the use of RSO to their oncologist.
Are Rick Simpson Oil and FECO the Same?
Earlier we mentioned Full-Extract Cannabis Oil, or FECO. The main difference between RSO and FECO is the solvent that is used to extract the cannabinoids and other parts of the plant. With RSO, usually alcohol that is used, whereas with FECO, ethanol or CO2 is most common. FECO also uses lower temperatures within the extraction process.
Both oils hold similar benefits in that they use the other parts of the plant other than the cannabinoids to enact the entourage effect and provide maximum medical benefit.
When consuming the oil, people either place the RSO in a capsule that they’ll swallow. Some will use it in a dropper that they can administer directly on the tongue or put in edibles. As Simpson himself did, the oil can also be placed in topicals to be put on the skin.
Where to Buy Rick Simpson Oil
When you get your medical cannabis certification, the medical dispensaries near you may offer RSO products. Be sure to look at the menu of the medical dispensary of your choice to ensure that they have this product. Sometimes, you may see RSO referred to also as “Phoenix Tears”.
You will not likely be able to find products like RSO capsules in recreational dispensaries, at least not with the medical benefits of RSO in mind, which is one of the many reasons it’s beneficial to have your medical cannabis certification in a recreational state.
In addition, recreational dispensaries will not be able to discuss your medical outcomes when you’re buying RSO, which is another reason a medical dispensary is the best place to buy Rick Simpson Oil.
Make Your Own Full Spectrum Cannabis Oil
Many states where we provide medical cannabis certifications also allow home cultivation, from which patients can make their own RSO from home. Patients can also make RSO or RSO capsules by obtaining cannabis flower from a medical dispensary.
Here is a very brief run-down on how to make RSO:
What You’ll Need for Making RSO
- Rice cooker
- 1 oz. of dry cannabis flower
- 16 oz. of solvent, we suggest using isopropyl alcohol
- A large bucket or container
- A large, deep bowl
- Wooden spoon
Step-By-Step Guide to Making RSO
Pour the solvent over the cannabis flower that you have placed in your bucket until all the cannabis bud has been covered. Genrly stir the mixture for a few minutes to ensure all the THC is covered by the solvent. Do not stir too vigorously because you don’t want to upset the trichomes!
Using a cheesecloth, squeeze the mixture into a bowl. Return the squeezed out cannabis into the bowl, adding more solvent, stir again, and squeeze again through the cheesecloth.
Put about three-quarters of the mixture from what you drain from the plant in the cheesecloth into the rice cooker. Turn the rice cooker to 220 degrees Fahrenheit. You’ll see the alcohol begin to evaporate, at which time you add the remaining solvent. What will remain once all the solvent has evaporated is an oil-like substance. This can be put into a syringe or a capsule for dosing.
The best place to find the recipe for Rick Simpson Oil is from Rick himself. On his website PhoenixTears.ca, he gives a step-by-step guide on how to make RSO. His website also contains information on the solvent to use, what you’ll need to make it, and a few tips and tricks that only Rick himself can teach.
Explore More with a Medical Cannabis Certification
Whether you buy it at a medical cannabis dispensary near you, or whether you make your own RSO with cannabis you have grown or bought, obtaining a medical cannabis certification in your state has several benefits. Compassionate Clinics of America provides medical cannabis certifications and renewals for residents of Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Maine, Virginia, Texas, Louisiana, West Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa, Georgia & Minnesota. Connect with us today to access our compassionate, knowledgeable doctors and join us in reimagining health and wellness.