If you’re trying to learn more about the medical benefits of marijuana, you’ve most probably come across something called Rick Simpson Oil or RSO. This kind of marijuana extract is often touted as a cure for certain kinds of cancer but as you may have read, there is also a bit of controversy surrounding it. To help you decide if RSO is something that suits your needs, let’s begin by looking at its colorful origins and how it got its name.
Rick Simpson and his cannabis cancer cure
RSO is a type of high-THC hash oil invented in the early 2000’s by a cannabis activist named Rick Simpson. Wanting to avoid radiation therapy, Simpson created RSO to treat the skin cancer (basal cell carcinoma) on his arm after reading a study that showed the effectiveness of THC against cancer in mice. Simpson claimed that his cancer disappeared only after four days of using RSO as a topical. Previously, he also claimed that marijuana cured his dizziness spells and tinnitus that he got from a concussion.
However, Simpson earned the criticism of medical professionals since his claims were not backed by proper studies. Authorities also tried to stop him from giving away his oil and advocating RSO as a cure for a number of conditions including cancer. This prompted Simpson to publish his extraction method so that others can freely make their own RSO.
What are the benefits of RSO?
Rick Simpson Oil is one of the most basic forms of cannabis extract. It is also one the most potent since the process of making RSO leaves almost all of the important cannabinoids and compounds intact in a highly concentrated liquid with a thick, syrupy consistency.
RSO is basically liquid marijuana that is typically used for medicinal purposes. This versatile, full-spectrum cannabis extract is usually taken sublingually, as an edible, or topical. Although it is not meant to be vaped, RSO made with CO2 as the solvent can be refined and thinned so that it can be used on vaping devices.
Marijuana advocates and those into cannabis strongly believe that RSO can cure a great number of illnesses including various forms of cancer. Here are just some of the conditions it can supposedly treat:
- Anxiety, depression, and other mental issues
- Appetite loss
- Chronic pain and inflammation
- High blood pressure
…and many more!
This isn’t surprising since these are just some of the benefits that can be gotten from most forms of medical marijuana. However, what most medical professionals have a problem with are the bold claims that it can cure cancer completely but with supporting evidence that are mostly anecdotal. Because of this, a growing number of patients opt for RSO instead of conventional medical treatment.
How is RSO made
One of the most appealing things about RSO is that it is easy to make at home, but this is another problem that authorities have with it. RSO can be made with a regular rice cooker and chemicals that you can easily buy anywhere but it can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing since some of the solvents used are toxic and highly combustible.
Rick Simpson already wrote detailed instructions on how to make the oil on his website but to give you a good idea what you’ll need to make RSO, here’s a list of stuff you need to pick up:
- Cannabis buds – Simpson recommends using Indica strains for greater therapeutic effect.
- Coffee filters, finance cheesecloth or similar filter types
- High-proof, food-grade alcohol (if RSO is to be ingested). Naptha, isopropyl alcohol and other denatured alcohols can only be used to make topical RSO. CO2 can also be used and is the safest among solvents but this is not common for homemade RSO.
- A rice cooker
The basic idea is to use the solvent to extract all the precious medicinal resins out of the plant matter. Crush the buds in the solvent for a couple of minutes and then pour off the solvent mix into a cheesecloth to filter it. The remaining plant mass can still be used for a second or third wash but the resulting oil will likely not be as potent as the first wash.
The solvent mix will then have to be cooked in a rice cooker to evaporate the solvent. Since alcohol is highly combustible and will emit toxic fumes when heated, you should only cook in a well-ventilated area with no sparks or open flames! The cooking temperature should also remain somewhere around 210–230 °F (99–110 °C), if it goes higher, your cannabis oil will burn and become unusable. You will occasionally have to add the rest of your alcohol to prevent the mix from overheating.
After all the solvent has been evaporated, what will be left is a thick, dark-colored oil which you can siphon using a syringe. You can then store these oil-filled syringes in your refrigerator for later use.
Frequently Asked Questions on Rick Simpson Oil
Rick Simpson Oil or RSO is a type of full-spectrum cannabis extract that is mainly used for medicinal and therapeutic purposes. It is said to be an effective remedy for a number of conditions including certain forms of cancer.
At present, studies only suggest that RSO can help mitigate the symptoms of cancer and its treatment such as pain, nausea, loss of appetite but evidence pointing to it as a cure for cancer is mostly anecdotal.
Only RSO made using CO2 solvent will be suitable for vaping but even then, it may be too viscous for most vape devices. RSO is still best used sublingually or orally, or as a topical.
RSO and marijuana in general has been observed to be effective in alleviating conditions such as anxiety and depression, pain and inflammation, insomnia, high blood, and symptoms associated with cancer.
Rick Simpson oil is one of the easiest and most inexpensive cannabis extracts to make and a great number of people vouch for its effectiveness. Although the medicinal properties of marijuana are well-documented, there are not a lot of studies on RSO itself. Although Rick Simpson provides a dosage guide on his website, it may not be wise to take it as valid medical advice since it is not backed by studies nor vetted by medical professionals so even if RSO is effective, it may still pose a health risk to the patient if taken improperly.