If you’re researching medical marijuana you’ll eventually stumble on Rick Simpson Oil (RSO). For the uninitiated, Rick Simpson Oil is a type of concentrated indica THC oil that was concocted by Rick Simpson to treat his skin cancer.
What is Rick Simpson Oil?
Rick Simpson Oil is typically made with indica or indica-dominant hybrid strains. It’s considered a full-spectrum extract that can contain a lot of THC and CBD. RSO is made by reducing the plant matter in alcohol, which helps concentrate the cannabinoids and essentially makes the oil stronger. Simpson doesn’t advocate for smoking his concoction; he instructs people to either eat it (or place it on the lower gum line and let it dissolve over a few minutes) or apply it directly to the skin.
The taste of the oil is described as bitter and chlorophyll-like. As for dosage, it’s recommended that people begin with three doses a day (every eight hours) of doses that are quite small (around the size of half a grain of rice). Beginners should start with a quarter of a drop and see how it affects them before ingesting more.
Rick Simpson’s Story
Rick Simpson had metastatic basal cell skin cancer back in 2002. Basal cell is a type of cancer that is viewed as being relatively harmless by most doctors and scientists in medical communities. Doctors typically recommend its removal because it still has the possibility for disfiguration and in rare cases, metastatic.
After finding a lack of success with conventional treatment, Simpson turned to THC oil in an attempt to cure himself based on a report he had heard on the radio 30 years prior.
“Why not put some oil on the other two cancers and see what happens?” I applied the oil, covered the affected areas with a bandage and left them in place four days. During this time, I felt nothing, so I assumed that the oil was not working.
-Rick Simpson, Nature’s Answer for Cancer
His account of the treatment states that after only four days his skin cancer was gone and he has been in remission ever since.
How to Make Rick Simpson Oil (RSO)
The above video is a step-by-step instructional tutorial on how to produce RSO. If you’re more of the reading type, Rick Simpson’s own website gives instructions on how to make RSO oil.
We highly recommend to use the sources above for more in-depth instructions, but to get a good idea of what you will have to do to make RSO, here are the basic instructions:
- Place dry cannabis into a container (Simpson recommends a deep bucket) and pour in a solvent (such as 99% isopropyl alcohol). Crush and stir the cannabis buds with something like a potato masher until the bud is completely broken up into the solvent .
- Drain the solvent into a separate container using a cheesecloth or a muslin material to separate the plant debris from the solvent.
- For ease, place the solvent mixture into a rice cooker and heat the oil to between 210 to 230 degrees fahrenheit. While your rice cooker heats add splashes of mixture in-order to prevent unwanted solvent evaporation. Stop adding mixture once your target temperature range is reached.
- Wait for the solvent to fully evaporate, this might take a while, and you should be left with a black and thick concentrate.
- Draw up the concentrate into a syringe and you will notice as it cools the concentrate will harden into a shatter-like material.
It should be noted that Simpson doesn’t sell any of the oil himself but he does provide the recipe for free. A disclaimer on his website reads:
“The only way to know that you have the real thing is to produce the proper oil yourself. There are many criminals who say that they are producing RSO and who are using Rick’s name. Rick Simpson has no connection with these suppliers.”
What Science Says About THC Oil
Before you follow Simpson’s path, you should be aware of the scientific community’s consensus on the effectiveness of cannabis as a cancer cure.
According to an article published by the Cancer Research UK, the world’s largest independent cancer research charity, there is no general consensus within the scientific community.
There are a few studies where researchers gained positive results from using cannabinoids on lab-grown cancer cells and on animal cancer cells. However, as Cancer Research UK highlights, cancer in a human is far more complex than these isolated studies and not all cancers are the same.
In 2017, a clinical trial published in the GW Pharmaceuticals, a cannabis-focused journal, showed positive results when they combined Sativex with chemotherapy drug temozolomide. The trial consisted of 21 patients and it found that patients injected with concentrated THC had an 83% one year survival rate vs 53% of patients in the placebo group.
It should be noted, however, that this trial doesn’t prove that cannabis cures cancer. This specific trial had too low of a sample size. But it does prove that there need to be more reputable clinical trials on cannabis and cancer.
Medical cannabis consumers should beware bad science or anecdotal evidence of “weed cured my cancer, therefore it will cure yours too.” Therefore, it might make the most sense for RSO users to not consider abandoning more conventional forms of treatment in-favor of RSO, but consider using it to supplement their current treatment.