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GUIDE: What is Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) and How Do You Use It? - RSO Cancer Free

With so many cannabis products geared towards medical cannabis patients specifically, what about Rick Simpson Oil (RSO)?

You’ve got topical creams; you’ve got microdose THC capsules; you’ve got sublinguals and tinctures; and you’ve got a wide range of different flowers and oils for people treating both mental and physical ailments.

RSO, however, is one product that’s been around for decades, and is still quite popular in the medical cannabis community.

Let's explore.

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What is Rick Simpson Oil (RSO)? 

Called RSO for short, Rick Simpson Oil is a type of cannabis extract that has been around since the early 2000s. It was invented by a Canadian engineer named – you guessed it – Rick Simpson. 

Rick Simpson Oil has a thick and syrupy consistency, an unpleasantly bitter taste, and can be used as a topical on the skin, or ingested orally as an edible of sorts. 

Normally, RSO is a high-THC cannabis extract, oftentimes with percentages ranging as low as 20% THC and as high as 90% THC (50-70% THC on average). 

Because of its high potency, RSO has been heralded for its relief for physical pain and insomnia, amongst other issues. There is also high CBD RSO and balanced 1:1 THC:CBD RSO, but for the most part, you’ll be seeing THC-dominant Rick Simpson oil on dispensary menus. 

Who is Rick Simpson?

Rick Simpson is a Canadian engineer famous for inventing Rick Simpson Oil. He created the cannabis extract in order to treat his skin cancer, at a time when his doctor was completely against using cannabis as medicine.

As the story goes, in 1997, Rick Simpson was working as an engineer at a Canadian hospital full of asbestos and poor ventilation. One day, while on a ladder, the fumes in a room caused him to pass out and fall to the ground. As he fell, he hit his head on the ground, which resulted in years of dizzy spells and headaches that the medication prescribed to him never helped fix. 

After seeing a documentary on cannabis, he asked his doctor about medical cannabis, but was quickly shut down. In response, he sourced cannabis on his own, tried it, and found that the plant helped improve his symptoms. 

In 2003, Rick developed a skin cancer called basal cell carcinoma. After reading a study about cannabis treating cancer in mice, he once again turned to the plant for treatment, only this time it was in the form of a homemade topical: Rick Simpson Oil. 

After four days of using RSO, the mysterious skin cancer disappeared, convincing Simpson of cannabis’s healing powers once and for all. For the next several years, Rick Simpson traveled the world to spread the gospel of his oil, working out of homebase in Europe due to criminal charges awaiting him in Canada. 

Now RSO is one of the most popular ways to administer medical cannabis.

What does Rick Simpson Oil (RSO)  do?

While some medical cannabis patients swear by Rick Simpson Oil, it’s important to know that at this point, there has not been sufficient scientific research on RSO’s efficiency as a medicine. Evidence has been purely anecdotal. This will continue to be the case until the government legalizes cannabis, allowing scientists to really delve into the healing powers of cannabis and why they exist.

That said, the medical ailments that Rick Simpson Oil is believed to help with includes pain reliefs, cancer symptoms. Though no research proves this, there are several studies about the healing properties of cannabis compounds. 

The National Cancer Institute’s website says “A number of small studies of smoked marijuana found that it can be helpful in treating nausea and vomiting from cancer chemotherapy.” 

Additionally, they say “Studies have long shown that people who took marijuana extracts in clinical trials tended to need less pain medicine.” Still, much more research will need to be done on its specifics before people can make any concrete claims about the oil.

How do you use Rick Simpson Oil (RSO)?

Rick Simpson Oil is most commonly distributed via syringe. Though technically possible, RSO is not meant to be dabbed or used in vape pens. Instead, RSO is to be applied to the body as a topical, or taken orally. With its extremely bitter taste, many people mix RSO into their food and beverages. 

A dose of RSO is a very small drop, about the size of a grain of rice. According to Leafly, when looking for medical benefits, for one patient, the goal is to gradually consume 60 grams of Rick Simpson Oil over the course of a 90-day period. Leafly suggests dosing yourself with RSO three times per day for a week; then doubling that dosage for the next three weeks; and then upping your dose to a gram of RSO per day until your syringe is completely empty.

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