Rick Simpson has become something of a legend in the marijuana field. The Canadian medical marijuana activist gained fame for creating Rick Simpson Oil (RSO), which is an extremely potent weed oil product. It was different from other oils on the market at the time due to its enormous THC content.
At that point, CBD oils were in vogue and concentrates had yet to gain the mainstream attention they have today. Perhaps the biggest claim made by RSO proponents is that it treats cancer. It is interesting to note that Simpson didn’t seek to make a profit from his creation. Instead, he helped treat thousands of people and gave his oil to those that needed it.
Simpson was hassled a lot by the authorities, but he never gave up his mission to help others. Now that marijuana is federally legal in Canada, Simpson and his followers up north have less to fear from the police. In this article, we look at the man behind the legend and his special oil.
Who Is Rick Simpson?
Rick Simpson didn’t seek fame, nor did it seem particularly likely. He was a hardworking engineer with no apparent aspirations to become the poster child for marijuana oil! In 1997, something happened that changed the course of his life.
One day, he was covering asbestos on a hospital’s boiler pipes with duct tape. Using a potent aerosol glue in poorly ventilated rooms resulted in him falling off his ladder and hitting his head. He was subsequently rushed to the emergency room. After a few hours of dizziness, he was sent home to rest.
Hoping it was a one-off incident, he went back to work, but the dizziness returned, and again he was forced back to the ER. The incidents were becoming more frequent and also leaving him with an unpleasant ringing in his ears, also known as tinnitus.
He was dismayed to discover that the dizzy spells and tinnitus continued for over a year after the incident. Rick received prescription medication, but not only did it not help his condition, but it also made certain symptoms worse. One day, Rick saw a documentary which outlined the potential benefits of marijuana.
Eager to try something new since traditional medicine wasn’t working, Rick asked his doctor about medical marijuana but was shot down. He risked the wrath of the law by taking weed anyway. Soon enough, he experienced an improvement in his symptoms. However, his joy was short-lived.
In 2003, he discovered three ominous bumps on his arm. Rick went to the doctor who performed a biopsy on the offending tissue. Unfortunately, the doctor’s suspicions were confirmed: Rick Simpson had a form of skin cancer known as basal cell carcinoma. Rather than rely on traditional medicine, he once again went down the cannabis route.
On this occasion, his decision was influenced by an old study by Munson et al. It was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute way back in 1975. In it, the researchers found that THC killed cancer cells in mice. Rick applied potent cannabis oil to a bandage which he placed over the bumps. He left the bandage on for four days.
When he took off the bandage, he was stunned by what he saw. The cancerous growths had vanished. While his doctor was skeptical, there was no turning back for Rick; he was now 100% convinced that cannabis had healing powers.
Healing Cannabis Oil
From that point onward, Rick started growing cannabis at home and used it to create the cannabis concentrate oil now known as Rick Simpson Oil. Rather than taking advantage of people, he chose to give it away for free to those in real need. It is estimated that Rick used his oil to help over 5,000 people.
While Canada had begun a medical marijuana program in 2001, it only offered patients access to homegrown weed or sales directly from Health Canada. As such, what Rick was doing attracted the attention of the authorities, who raided his home on numerous occasions. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police destroyed at least 2,600 of his plants. However, he refused to bow down and continued on his worthy mission.
What Makes the Rick Simpson Oil So Special?
In essence, true RSO is an unrefined potent cannabis oil that is extracted using ethanol. It contains an estimated 50-60% THC along with many other cannabinoids. In other words, it is a very powerful full-spectrum marijuana oil. These days, CBD oil is gaining lots of traction as a potential alleviator of symptoms of medical conditions.
RSO is drastically different because of the extremely high THC content. CBD oil is supposed to contain less than 0.3% THC and is marketed as providing ‘healing without the high.’ It can be used by kids suffering from epilepsy and is legal in almost every American state. RSO, on the other hand, will get you high if you use enough, and is illegal in a number of states.
It is said to treat a wide variety of conditions (aside from cancer) including:
- Chronic inflammation
- Multiple sclerosis
- High blood pressure
- Drug addiction
Please bear in mind that THC has psychoactive effects and you may be more sensitive to it than others. High doses of THC could result in the following side effects:
- Panic attacks
- Impaired memory
- Dry eyes
- Low blood pressure
Is Rick Simpson Oil Legal?
RSO ‘should’ be legal in the 33 states (plus D.C.) where medical marijuana is legal. However, each state has rules and regulations regarding home cultivation. Therefore, you may find that it is legal to purchase RSO in your state, but illegal to grow the weed yourself. Please refer to your state’s medical marijuana laws.
There are also limits on how much cannabis oil one can possess. For example, in California, you are allowed to have possession of a maximum of 8 grams of cannabis concentrate. You also can’t consume your RSO in any public place/area or any location where tobacco smoking is forbidden. Once again, research your state’s laws on this matter.
Using Rick Simpson Oil
First and foremost, we recommend discussing your potential use of RSO with a physician before proceeding. We CANNOT make any claims as to the efficacy of Rick Simpson Oil. In any case, Simpson himself has outlined a specific dosing schedule that involves a total consumption of 60 grams of oil in 12 weeks. You start slowly and gradually build up your tolerance as follows:
- Week 1: Begin with 0.25 drops of RSO three times a day (approximately once every 8 hours). A good visual aid is to imagine half a grain of rice; that’s about the size of each thrice daily dose.
- Weeks 2 –5: Double week one’s dose every four days. Ultimately, the goal is to reach the full RSO dose of one gram a day.
- Weeks 6 –12: By the end of week 5 or the start of week 6, you should be using a full gram a day. You continue to take the oil three times a day, but by now, each dose is akin to 8+ rice-sized drops.
RSO is very potent, and the taste may be unpleasant. You can mix it with other foods to help reduce the impact of the flavor. Please don’t dab RSO, because the cannabinoids are extracted via ethanol or another solvent. Some users report feeling sleepy during the first few weeks. Once your tolerance level increases, these episodes will be reduced.
By week 13, you can continue using the oil but cut down your intake. If you are to derive any benefits at this stage, you won’t need more than a couple of grams per month.
Medical Research and Rick Simpson Oil
As RSO is made from marijuana (although Simpson does use hemp as well), it is a federally illegal substance. Therefore, the FDA does not recognize any of the purported health benefits of weed. It is hard enough for researchers to study marijuana, let alone a potent cannabis oil. Therefore, there is no hard evidence relating specifically to RSO’s possible medical benefits.
There are plenty of studies that look into the medical effects of THC, however. As Rick believes the oil helped cure his skin cancer, it is worth looking at a few relevant studies. A study by Scott et al., published in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics in 2014, found that a combination of CBD and THC enhanced the effects of radiation therapy in rodents.
An intriguing case study by Singh and Bali, published in Case Reports in Oncology, looked at cannabis extract treatment in a 14-year old girl with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Various concentrations of THC and CBD appeared to be effective in treating her condition. Tragically, the girl died from an unrelated gastrointestinal condition just two months after beginning treatment.
A 2019 review by Sharafi, He, and Nikfarjam looked into the potential use of cannabinoids when treating pancreatic cancer. The researchers wrote that cannabinoid extracts could have anticancer properties which would improve the outcome of cancer treatment. They concluded that cannabinoids could be an effective adjunct for treating pancreatic cancer. However, there is still a lack of information on the most effective formulations, the precise mode of action, and dosing; not to mention a lack of clinical studies.
Even if marijuana doesn’t help kill cancer cells, patients find it useful when trying to combat side effects such as pain, vomiting, and nausea.
How to Make Rick Simpson Oil
If you live in a state where marijuana is illegal, we can’t recommend proceeding because making RSO will get you into serious trouble if you are caught. There are also risks involved in making the oil. Simpson advocates DIY creation of his oil. The issue here is that the ingredients could include toxic agents such as isopropyl alcohol, naphtha, or petroleum ether.
You should also be wary of any online vendors who claim to sell RSO. Remember, Simpson is not affiliated with any of them, and unless they have a stellar reputation, there is no telling what is in the oil! In any case, if you are comfortable using a solvent to extract the cannabinoids from marijuana and are willing to follow correct safety procedures, here is how to make RSO.
- Approximately one pound of dried marijuana. Simpson recommends using an indica strain.
- Two gallons of solvent. 99% Isopropyl alcohol is the most widely used, but you can try ethanol or butane – just be careful!
- A 5-gallon bucket & a large, deep bowl.
- A cheesecloth & a wooden spoon.
- A rice cooker.
- A plastic catheter tip syringe – 60ml.
Rick Simpson Oil Steps
- Place your dry cannabis material into the bucket and pour in the solvent over it until it is covered. While pouring, stir and crush the cannabis. Stir for about 3 minutes, allowing for the THC to dissolve into the solvent. This process should dissolve up to 80% of the available THC into the solvent.
- Drain the solvent from the mixture into your bowl using the cheesecloth.
- Place the mixture back in the bucket and add more solvent. Stir for another 3 minutes. Drain again into the same bowl and discard the remaining mixture.
- Transfer your solvent to your rice cooker until it is about three-quarters full and turn on your rice cooker. (Don’t let your solvent mixture heat above 300 degrees Fahrenheit, otherwise, it will become unusable.)
- The rice cooker should maintain a steady heat, allowing for decarboxylation. Keep the temperature between 210- and 230-degrees Fahrenheit to decarb the weed properly.
- As the rice cooker heats and the solvent evaporates, add more mixture.
Once the solvent has fully evaporated, place the oil into a syringe for easy use. RSO is thick, so if you find it hard to squeeze it out, place the syringe under very hot water to make the mixture less thick and easier to dispense.
Final Thoughts About Rick Simpson’s Oil
RSO was originally conceived because its creator experienced a miraculous recovery after using cannabis concentrate oil on his skin cancer. He claims the oil eliminated his cancer within four days! Physicians have since refused to credit cannabis oil as the reason for the ‘cure’, but have been unable to offer a concrete explanation.
However, as research into marijuana is still in its infancy, it would be unwise to make many claims about its efficacy when treating any medical condition, let alone one as serious as cancer. There are also studies which claim that THC and CBD increase the growth of cancerous tumors in the brain and lungs for certain cancers.
If you are a cancer patient or suffer from another medical condition that hasn’t responded positively to traditional medication, it is only natural to become desperate for a solution. Thousands of people claim that RSO helped them, but all we have to prove the effectiveness of the oil is anecdotal evidence.
If you decide to take Rick Simpson Oil, make sure it is legal to use in your jurisdiction. Also, as it is extremely potent, begin with a very small dose to assess your tolerance before increasing the dosage as necessary.
Remember, it contains a high dose of THC, which means you can expect some psychoactive effects; and possible side effects such as drowsiness, red eyes, anxiety, and paranoia. Consult with a doctor before using RSO, and if you experience side effects, discontinue the treatment. Let us know if you have used Rick Simpson Oil, and whether it worked for you, in the comments section below.