Rick Simpson Oil (RSO): What is It, How is It Made, & More

July 19, 2023

Spend any time in the concentrate world, and you’re going to hear about Rick Simpson Oil (RSO). Its famed reputation spans both the recreational marijuana world and the medical marijuana market. For this addition to the cannabis glossary, we’ll share everything we know both about RSO’s storied past and the ways it’s being consumed today. 

What is RSO?

RSO, or Rick Simpson oil, is a cannabis concentrate that looks like oily tar. Its thick consistency mixed with its dark hue—typically a dark brown or even black color—make it look like a potent substance. (Spoiler: it is.)

RSO is created through a unique extraction process that preserves much of the plant material, including the trichomes that contain cannabinoids, in the final product. RSO can be smoked, applied topically, or taken orally, depending on your preference. It’s important to note though that because it is packed with THC and other cannabinoids, it’s best to start with a small dose—no bigger than half a grain of rice. 

Who Was Rick Simpson Oil?

Rick Simpson, the man who first created RSO, first got the idea to create his product when he heard members of the media suggesting medical marijuana could help treat conditions that weren’t helped by prescription medication. After a fall that led to post-concussion syndrome and tinnitus, Rick decided he would give cannabis a try. 

Thus, Rick Simpson Oil was born. According to Simpson, the ringing in his ears stopped with his cannabis consumption. Years later, he even claimed to have cured three small spots of skin cancer with regular application of his special cannabis oil. Soon after, Simpson started to share his results, which he attributed to cannabis, with others facing medical challenges.

It’s important to note that Simpson only had anecdotal evidence to share with others, so don’t rush out thinking it’s going to solve all your problems There is no definitive, scientific backing to Simpson’s claims, and while research is being done to understand the effects of cannabinoids in the body, there is no evidence that RSO cures any conditions. 

Does RSO Work?

If you’re asking if RSO can cure cancer, the answer is no—we have absolutely no evidence to indicate RSO can cure cancer. If you’re wondering if RSO and the THC in it can help with certain conditions associated with cancer treatment, it is possible. Cannabis has been shown to improve appetite, lessening pain, and reducing nausea and vomiting. 

That said, the short answer to the question, “Does RSO work?” is we don’t know. While there have been some studies performed that indicate THC and other cannabinoids can help patients with cancer, there are also older studies that seem to indicate THC can accelerate cancer growth. All of this is to say that you should enjoy RSO for its effects on your body and your endocannabinoid system, rather than any purported and unproven medical benefits. 

How is Rick Simpson Oil Made?

Rick Simpson Oil is made by submerging marijuana buds in a solvent. The mixture is stirred to help the THC dissolve into the solvent, which is then strained from the plant material. This process is repeated one more time until what’s left is a dark liquid that is then heated up to 230°F to both decarboxylate the concentrate and get rid of the solvent.

As the solvent evaporates, the concentrate will thicken to an oily consistency. Typically, it's then added to a syringe for easy dosing since you only need a tiny bit for it to be effective. 

RSO Oil vs Cannabis Oil: What’s the Difference?

The biggest difference between RSO and cannabis oil is that cannabis oil is typically made when cannabinoids (and sometimes terpenes) are added to a carrier oil of some kind, like olive or coconut oil. RSO is an oil created through an extraction process where the cannabinoids are separated from the marijuana plant material. This difference makes RSO much more similar to hash than it is to cannabis oil. Additionally, RSO is typically considered more potent than cannabis oil, but you should start slow and at a low dose with both products. 

How Do You Use Rick Simpson Oil?

Rick Simpson Oil can be consumed orally, applied topically, or smoked. The three most common ways you’ll be able to purchase RSO in a dispensary are:

RSO Syringe

RSO syringes are the best way to take your RSO if you’re interested in consuming it orally or topically. The syringes provide clear dosing instructions for you to dispense the RSO.

RSO Edibles

Rick Simpson Oil can be added to your food and drinks (though remember, it has a potent flavor) once they’re cooked to turn them into edibles. If you decide to cook with RSO, don’t let the temperatures exceed 300ºF or you will destroy the cannabinoids. 

RSO Capsules

If you want to try RSO but don’t like the idea of the flavor or texture of the product, you can always purchase RSO capsules. Capsules ensure you get all of the things you love about your RSO, like the cannabinoids, in an easy-to-consume form. 

How Do You Dose RSO?

For many cannabis enthusiasts, RSO is dosed over time in a specific regimen that spans months. This ensures that the cannabinoids remain in the body where they can benefit the consumer the most. To start, you’ll want to consume no more than a half-grain-of-rice-sized amount of RSO every eight hours. Continue this for the first month. 

For the first week of the second month, increase your RSO dose to a grain-sized amount at the same, eight-hour frequency. The second week, go to two grains of rice. The third, increase to four grains of rice. Continue dosing to a full gram of RSO every eight hours through the end of your 90-day period, and then, cut down to just a gram or two a month. 

Just remember, RSO is extremely potent. If you’re interested in dosing your RSO, but you want to be able to still be productive, consider lowering the doses even further. In all things cannabis-related, do what feels right for you.

Answering FAQs About Rick Simpson Oil

There’s a lot of information out there about RSO. Here are a few things you should definitely know about this product:

Can I make RSO?
No, you cannot make RSO. The process to make RSO requires professional equipment to prevent a dangerous situation and ensure a chemical-free final product. You should never try to make RSO at home.

Can I smoke RSO?
While most people choose to use RSO as a topical treatment or an oral treatment, it can be smoked. Many cannabis enthusiasts choose to add a tiny bit of RSO to their flower. This will keep the cannabinoids and terpenes safe from being burned out while also enhancing the intoxicating effects of your bud.

Can you dab RSO?
There are probably cannabis enthusiasts who have dabbed RSO, but we don’t recommend it. The consistency of RSO is such that it will create a colossal mess in your dab rig or nectar collector if you try to add it to the nail. RSO is best when it’s not heated to the super-hot temps a dab rig uses. 

Can you cook with RSO?
Technically, yes, as long as your recipe doesn’t need to be cooked over 300ºF. Above those temperatures, your cannabinoids and terpenes will be damaged and destroyed, creating an ineffective mess of a product. RSO shines when it’s added to food that’s already prepared and ready to be served, but just remember, you only need a tiny, tiny, tiny amount.

Purchasing RSO

The best way to get your hands on RSO is to find a dispensary near you and pay us a visit. Our RSO has been through rigorous testing, ensuring that it contains all of the cannabinoids and terpenes you want without anything you don’t. Talk to your budtender to find out what we have in stock and feel free to ask any questions you might have about Rick Simpson oil—they’ll be happy to answer. 

Use of Marijuana Concentrate may lead to: Psychotic symptoms and/or Psychotic disorder (delusions, hallucinations, or difficulty distinguishing reality); Mental Health Symptoms/Problems; Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS) (uncontrolled and repetitive vomiting); Cannabis use disorder/dependence, including physical and psychological dependence.   Please consume responsibly. This product may cause impairment and may be habit forming. There may be health risks associated with consumption of this product.  State laws impact what dispensaries can and can’t sell to recreational customers and medical marijuana patients. Not every type of product, consumption method, dosage form, or potency mentioned on this blog will be permitted in all locations.

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