What is RSO and what's so great about it?

According to WebMD:

RSO is an oil made by washing cannabis buds with a solvent, such as pure light naphtha, and then boiling off the solvent leaving behind the oil.

RSO is not a branded product. That means there's no one "Rick Simpson Oil" for sale. On his website, Simpson explains how to make his namesake oil. But he does not sell a version of the oil for profit.

Rick Simpson: Who Is He and Why Is His Medical Marijuana Oil So Special?

One of the earliest examples of modern medical marijuana extracts is Rick Simpson Oil, often referred to as RSO. Due to its powerful potency and therapeutic effects, it has since become a staple for many medical marijuana patients since it was introduced in the early 2000s. In order to better understand RSO, its use and its benefits, let's first learn about its inventor: Rick Simpson.

Is Rick Simpson a real person?

Rick Simpson is best known for cultivating medical marijuana and actively advocating for its use. Simpson worked as an engineer in Nova Scotia, Canada, before becoming a pioneer of the medical marijuana industry. His life changed forever when he was injured at work. During asbestos removal in a poorly ventilated hospital boiler room in the late 1990s, Simpson collapsed and was knocked unconscious by toxic fumes. Despite receiving immediate medical attention, Simpson continued to suffer from dizziness and tinnitus for years afterward.

A medical marijuana activist and cultivator, Rick Simpson has gained an international reputation.
Simpson was unable to find relief from his pain with traditional pharmaceuticals or prescription painkillers. Soon, he began growing and using marijuana as an alternative form of treatment. 

In 2003, Simpson was diagnosed with a type of skin cancer known as basal cell carcinoma. As a result, he further explored marijuana as a medicine. Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC (the main psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana) killed cancer cells in mice according to a study published in The Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 

As a result of finding the study, he applied oil extracted from his plants to his skin. In less than a week, the cancerous growths on his arm disappeared. As a result, Simpson was a true believer in the medicinal benefits of marijuana and determined to spread the word.

Simpson never patented his oil or extraction method. Instead, he called for RSO to be accessible to everyone.

Rick Simpson, creator of Rick Simpson Oil (RSO)

RSO: What is it and how is it made?

RSO can be defined as a full-spectrum extract. In full-spectrum cannabis oil, all compounds of the marijuana plant (e.g., flavonoids, phenols, fatty acids, terpenes, and cannabinoids) remain intact during extraction. 

Full-spectrum extracts might be able to offer more therapeutic effects to patients, but there is still need for more research. It is believed that marijuana compounds create an even greater effect when taken together, commonly referred to as "The Entourage Effect.". 

Stabilization and maintenance of compounds depend on the extraction method. It is possible to obtain full-spectrum extracts with ethanol, low heat, and patience. Food-grade ethanol is the best method for extracting RSO, but alcohol and butane can also be used.
A full-spectrum extract can be obtained with ethanol, low heat, and patience.
Any cannabis strain can be used for RSO extraction; however, strains with a high level of THC, as well as indica-dominant strains, are preferred.

Different marijuana strains produce different colors and textures. Some produce a light amber color with a gooey consistency, while others produce a thick and dark color like molasses. Regardless, the final product is highly potent with over 60% THC, which makes it ideal for patients with conditions that require a high dose of THC.

What are the ways in which RSO is typically consumed?

Patients with a variety of conditions can benefit from RSO because it can be consumed in a variety of ways. Generally, however, RSO is applied topically or ingested. Capsules provide more precise dosing, while syringes can deliver oil under the tongue (sublingual), onto the skin (topical), and in food and liquids (oral). The effects of oral consumption last longer than other methods, but the onset is slower.
Oral or topical application of RSO is common.
RSO can be pungent and bitter to some patients since it is a full-spectrum extract. A bit of food or drink can easily mask its taste, which is a good thing. You can increase your body's absorption rate by eating good 'fatty' snacks such as peanut butter, avocados, or yogurt. The oil can also be diluted in your morning coffee or tea by freezing individual doses on parchment paper.


In addition to his RSO extraction method, Rick Simpson also shared his treatment experience. His findings led him to develop a regimen that others can use. As Simpson suggests, patients should begin slowly, build up a tolerance for THC, and then acclimate to its effects as the body adapts. You can find detailed dosage instructions on Simpson's affiliated website. 

Among other factors, dosing should be determined based on your health conditions and biometric data. A licensed medical marijuana physician can help you develop a treatment plan that meets your specific needs.

Rick Simpson on the history of the medicinal use of cannabis: