What is Rick Simpson Oil (RSO)?

This article first appeared on MadebyHemp.

When researching medicinal cannabis, we’re likely to stumble across a product called Rick Simpson Oil (RSO). After reading about the potential medicinal properties of RSO, we may be encouraged to learn more. What is RSO, and should we trust the claims? Let’s explore this product further.

As a note, RSO is a marijuana-derived product that is not carried by Made by Hemp. Under FDA regulations, we cannot prescribe cannabis for any illness. Any claims made here are purely testimonial.


The Story of Rick Simpson

Rick Simpson is famous in the cannabis industry, but he entered the space for personal reasons. Simpson began using cannabis as medicine after a work-related accident. For years after the accident, Simpson experienced dizzy spells and ringing in the ears. Prescription medication did little to help. In fact, it made his symptoms worse.

Simpson had watched a documentary on cannabis and inquired about using marijuana with his doctor, who refused to consider cannabis as a treatment.

Remember, this was in a time where a small percentage supported the medicinal qualities of cannabis. Plus, marijuana was still illegal in Canada. Simpson went on to source cannabis on his own and saw an improvement in his symptoms.

Then, in 2003, Simpson was diagnosed with a form of skin cancer called basal cell carcinoma. Conventional treatment didn’t work. He had seen an improvement with cannabis for his other symptoms, and he had heard about a 1975 study from the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in which THC, the psychoactive compound of cannabis, was found to kill cancer cells in mice.

Simpson again turned to cannabis and applied concentrated cannabis oil topically to his cancerous spots. He left the topical on for four days.

When he took off his bandages, Simpson claimed the cancerous spots had disappeared.

 His physician refused to recognize cannabis as a treatment, but Simpson was a true believer in the medicinal qualities of cannabis.

Simpson then began to cultivate his own cannabis and harvested the plants to create a cannabis concentrate now known as Rick Simpson Oil. He made it his mission to give the cannabis oil to those who needed it, at no cost. What Simpson was creating was nothing new, but his oil became popularized through his activism.

Today, Simpson is still an advocate for cannabis oil and, while he no longer provides RSO, he encourages others to create their own cannabis oil. According to the Rick Simpson website, The only way to know that you have the real thing, is to produce the proper oil yourself.” 


So, what is RSO?

RSO is concentrated cannabis oil with high levels of THC.As we remember, THC is the intoxicating compound of cannabis. Compared to the 0.3% THC in hemp-derived CBD oil, RSO contains 60-90% THC. Similar to our Proprietary Hemp Extract, RSO is a concentrated form of cannabis. Rather than CBD as the main cannabinoid (as with our concentrates), RSO is raw marijuana oil with high concentrations of THC. It is recommended that RSO be consumed sublingually (under the tongue) or applied topically.

Hemp Extract

Given the high percentage of THC in RSO, consumers can get high off the oil, even in low servings. This can produce side effects such as paranoia, impaired motor control, and impaired memory. These side effects are short lasting and, when consumed properly, RSO does not pose any major health risks.

Simpson recommends making RSO from “very potent and sedative medicinal Indica varieties” which help relax the body. Indica varieties are recommended for their sedative properties, which Simpson says will “aid in healing the patient’s body”.


Benefits of RSO

Many have heard of the medicinal qualities of RSO, particularly when it comes to cancer. While there are several studies that look at the effects of THC on cancer, it is dangerous to make claims that RSO can cure cancer or any other disease. RSO is not a cure-all, but it does contain therapeutic qualities that many find beneficial. To discover if RSO is right for you, we suggest researching the studies performed on THC. We do not recommend accepting any claim as fact.

RSO is a full-spectrum marijuana oil, meaning it contains all the available plant material. This extract includes terpenes, cannabinoids, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, phytonutrients and any other materials that are extracted from the marijuana plant. With all the plant components, full-spectrum oils benefit from the synergistic properties between the components. In what is called the entourage effect, researchers are finding components of the marijuana plant to work better together than on their own.


Risks of RSO

The biggest risk of RSO is the claim that it is a cure-all substance. Consumers may stop medical treatment in replacement of RSO. We always recommend speaking to a doctor before starting a new supplement or stopping any current treatment.

Additionally, Simpson recommends consumers make their own RSO, which comes with risks.  Making RSO requires a large amount of marijuana, which is illegal in many states. The process of creating RSO can be dangerous as well. The recommended solvents are flammable and can leave behind residue if improperly handled.

Dispensing CBD oil onto finger (for sublingual use).

To create our CBD concentrates, we use the CO2 method, which is the safest and cleanest method of extraction. If you are interested in a CBD concentrate, it is best to source it from a reputable manufacturer that uses the supercritical CO2 method. Here, we’ve done the work for you, ensuring a safe consumption every time.


Final Thoughts

There are many benefits of consuming cannabis oil (even for pets) which can be discovered through research. THC is an intoxicating compound, but it is also a therapeutic compound. The potential of cannabis oil is intriguing, but we do caution consumers to be wary of cannabis companies that make claims about their products. Currently, there is not enough research to support these claims. The best course of action is to perform your own research and try the product for yourself.