Who is Rick Simpson and What is Rick Simpson Oil?

If you have read anything at all about medical cannabis, you’ve probably heard of Rick Simpson Oil (RSO). RSO is a highly potent concentrate invented by, you guessed it, Rick Simpson, a great medical marijuana activist still alive today. 

In this guide, we will answer some of the most common questions about Rick Simpson Oil to help you decide if it’s the right medicine for you.

First, what is Rick Simpson Oil?

Rick Simpson Oil, or RSO, is a solvent-based cannabis concentrate. To be considered “true” Rick Simpson Oil, cannabis flower must be soaked in either alcohol or naphtha. The solvent is then cooked off at a temperature high enough to decarboxylate (“activate”) the THC, but not vaporize it. 

The end product is typically a thick, dark-colored, and incredibly potent oil. RSO usually ranges in 50% – 80% THC content. RSO is often sold in a medical irrigation syringe for easy dosing. Rick Simpson’s main goal was to concentrate THC, with less focus on CBD and terpenes. High terpene and high CBD oils can also be produced via the Rick Simpson method. Proof’s high CBD oil with applicator is an example of such.

Second, who is Rick Simpson?

Rick Simpson was an engineer born in Nova Scotia. In 1997, he was working in a poorly ventilated boiler room of a hospital when he suddenly became dizzy and fell off a ladder. For over a year, Rick experienced mysterious symptoms including ringing in his ears (tinnitus) and more dizzy spells. Inspired by a documentary on marijuana, he decided to take treatment into his own hands. He developed his signature oil and quickly found relief from all of his symptoms.

A decade later Rick Simpson noticed several bumps on his arm. These were later identified as cancerous. Rick applied his oil to the bumps, and they went away in four days! While his doctor believed these bumps would have disappeared eventually, Rick believes RSO greatly sped up his recovery. 

Rick Simpson’s Medical Cannabis Mission

Rather than patent and profit from his oil, Rick instead shared his experience and knowledge with the world for free. He has fought for medical cannabis ever since. He participates in speaking engagements, consultations, and political activism, especially in Europe where he lives today.

Sadly, in 2018, Rick suffered a stroke. His road to recovery has been difficult medically, as well as financially because Rick has rejected all opportunities to profit from his medicine. If his oil has helped you or someone you love, or if you just believe everyone should have the right to medicine, you can purchase one of his books or donate to him directly.

What Are The Benefits of Rick Simpson Oil?

Like many medical cannabis products, properly dosed RSO can reduce insomnia, pain, anxiety, and nausea. Because of its potency, it is easy to increase the dose if you gain tolerance and continue receiving relief from your symptoms. 

RSO and Cancer Treatment

There are no studies on using RSO to treat cancer in humans. However, there is some strong evidence that THC and other cannabinoids are anti-carcinogenic. Rick Simpson himself recommends an extended, two month treatment for cancer. RSO can be quite effective at reducing nausea and boosting appetite in cancer patients. Even if RSO was found to have no effect on cancer itself, it can provide dramatic improvements to quality of life. 

RSO for Skin Conditions

You can also apply RSO topically to treat skin or muscular conditions. THC and other cannabinoids are effective at killing melanoma cancer cells in mice and reducing tumor size. Because RSO has such a high concentration of activated THC, it may be uniquely capable of topical treatment of melanoma compared to other cannabis products. Cannabinoids can also reduce inflammation. Therefore, RSO might help treat inflammatory auto-immune conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

How Do You Consume Rick Simpson Oil?

RSO is commonly consumed directly as it does not have to be heated in any way. Some people prefer to mix it into a dish to mask its strong flavor. If you don’t mind the flavor, you can place it under your tongue for sublingual absorption. While not required, you can mix it with a carrier oil such as olive or other MCT oil to improve the flavor and absorption. Sublingual absorption is often much faster than through the stomach. Effects can occur within 10 to 20 minutes. If you are used to eating RSO, be sure to start with a smaller dose when consuming sublingually. It may potentially have a stronger onset.

Rick Simpson medical cannabis oil in small brown tincture bottle next to cannabis flower

Apply RSO Topically

RSO can also be applied topically to unbroken skin. You may wish to mix the RSO with a small amount of warm oil. This will dilute it slightly and make it more spreadable when applied to a larger area.

Do not Smoke RSO

It is generally not recommended to smoke, vaporize or dab RSO. Most RSO is made at a relatively high temperatures, which breakdowns many (but not all) of the terpenes that are present in other products. This means RSO generally does not taste as good when smoked compared to other concentrates. It also tends to contain a high concentration of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is harmless when ingested, but can be harsh when smoked. 

Can I Make Rick Simpson Oil at Home? 

Skilled manufacturers of RSO can precisely measure the amount of THC and other compounds in their products. Patients can therefore accurately dose their medicine with ease. For this reason, we recommend purchasing high quality RSO from a dispensary rather than making it yourself, when possible.

That said, yes, you can make Rick Simpson Oil at home. Rick Simpson provides detailed instructions on how to make RSO with a rice cooker on his website. The best method to produce RSO however uses an alcohol distiller. High quality stills are expensive and require a professional to safely use, but they can recapture the solvent, reducing waste. Always follow all safety precautions carefully!

Learn More About the Benefits of RSO and Other Cannabis Concentrates at Abide Dispensary in Napa

If we’ve piqued your interest in RSO, consider dropping by Abide in downtown Napa to view our selection of RSO and other concentrates. Our cannabis sommeliers are here to guide you through our selection of premium medical cannabis products. They can help you find the best options for your specific needs. You can also peruse our online store and order your favorite cannabis products for curbside pick-up or same-day local delivery in Napa!


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