What Is Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) and Why Does It Matter?

Have you ever wondered exactly what the acronym “RSO” means? The letters stand for “Rick Simpson Oil,” and the story of this homemade marijuana medicine is one of the most unusual in the cannabis world. If you’re curious about what RSO is or how to use RSO in a therapeutic context, today’s post is for you!


RSO Oil: The Story of Rick Simpson

Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) is a concentrated cannabis oil that is believed by many to have tremendous therapeutic value. This thick, sticky oil is a full-spectrum whole plant extract designed to harness the full therapeutic power of cannabis. But just who is Rick Simpson?

In an age when healthcare is practically synonymous with multimillion-dollar pharmaceutical companies, the story of RSO is nothing if not refreshing. In 1997, Rick Simpson was a maintenance technician at a Canadian hospital. One day as he was insulating pipes in the boiler room, the fumes from aerosol glue he was using shocked his nervous system. Falling off his ladder, he hit his head and was briefly knocked unconscious. Fortunately, he managed to call for help and was taken to the emergency room for treatment.

It appeared that Simpson wasn’t seriously injured, but in the following years he suffered from dizziness and ringing in the ears. Frustrated that no medications offered relief, he stumbled upon a documentary detailing the healing potential of medical marijuana. Although his doctor refused to recommend it, Simpson sourced his own and found that it significantly improved his symptoms.

Six years later, Simpson was diagnosed with a skin cancer on his arm. Inspired by his own healing experience and by a study demonstrating how THC can potentially kill cancer kills in mice, Simpson decided to take matters into his own hands. After slowly cooking down a concentrated cannabis oil himself, he placed it directly on the affected areas. Simpson bandaged them and waited for four days. After that, he claims, he found that the skin cancer had disappeared.

Because no medical professionals independently verified Simpson’s claim, there is doubt as to whether or not the cannabis oil actually “cured” his skin cancer. Simpson himself is clear on the point that there are many different kinds of cancer and that more research is needed to evaluate his claims. Still, in addition to Simpson’s testimony there is anecdotal evidence suggesting that others have treated cancer using RSO.

So while we can’t recommend that people use RSO instead of validated cancer treatments, we agree with those physicians who claim that RSO and other marijuana medicines may have the potential to become part of treatment regimens for certain cancers, as suggested by one animal study.

And that’s not to say marijuana doesn’t have a place in cancer treatments and other medical uses. It’s no secret that marijuana can help patients manage many of the side effects of conventional cancer treatment, helping them manage the symptoms and improve their quality of life.


What Is RSO Oil Used For?

Rick Simpson Oil is a thick concentrated oil, usually black in color. It’s quite sticky and often tar-like in its consistency. It’s typically made from heavy indica strains that are known for their therapeutic potential. Because it’s important to take only small amounts at a time—a topic we’ll explore further in just a moment—it’s typically sold in metered syringes (without the needles), for easy dosing.

There are many different ways to use RSO, depending on your specific needs and goals. Simpson maintains a website with detailed information, including a graduated dosing protocol for those who want to try RSO.

The dosing protocol involves taking very small amounts of RSO over a two-month period, with patients steadily increasing the dose as their tolerance allows it. Be aware that RSO generally contains high levels of THC, the cannabinoid responsible for marijuana’s euphoric “high.” It is definitely psychoactive and should be approached with care!

How To Take RSO

What’s the best way to consume RSO? If the dose is placed under the tongue, the cannabinoids are absorbed through the blood vessels found there. However, some people find that regularly using the oil this way can result in a scratchy or sore throat after a week or two of regular use.

To avoid this, the RSO can also simply be eaten. Just use the syringe to place the oil directly on your tongue or onto a spoon for you to lick. When eaten, the oil produces effects more similar to edibles. You can expect a strong body-focused experience that can last for as long as six to eight hours. If you don’t particularly like the taste, you can also spread it onto a piece of toast with jam, or put it into pudding or yogurt to dilute the taste.

RSO can also be used the way Simpson claims he used it, by being applied directly to the skin like a cannabis topical cream. Just place a dab of the oil on any suspected trouble spots, and cover it with a bandage so that it’s protected.

It’s very important to remember that RSO isn’t intended to be smoked, used in a vape pen or similar device, or ingested in any other way.


How Much RSO Should I Take?

Because it’s so potent, a good starting dose of RSO is a small drop of oil about half the size of a grain of rice, taken at most three times a day. As your body slowly builds a tolerance to the high dose of THC, you can raise the amount over time. Because of the high psychoactivity of the concentrated THC, taking too much RSO at once can result in anxiety and paranoia, although the most common side effects are sleepiness and drowsiness.

Rick Simpson Oil: Final Thoughts

Rick Simpson oil (RSO) is a potent cannabis concentrate that has been used medicinally among patients for decades. While research looking at the efficacy of this specific cannabis preparation is needed, anecdotally many people have found it to be helpful for managing chronic and severe illness. RSO is a highly concentrated cannabis concentrate that should be consumed with care: start with small measured doses and increase gradually as needed.

Do you have more questions about RSO? Just ask! We’re always here to help. Come visit our Venice Beach dispensary to speak with one of our knowledgeable budtenders or peruse our online menu to see what RSO products we may currently have in stock. We look forward to serving you!

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