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What is RSO? Everything You Need to Know

Dr. Saira Zulfiqar, PharmD

Written by: Saira Zulfiqar

Updated on May 23, 2024


What Is Rick Simpson Oil?

Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) is a concentrated form of cannabis oil extracted from the cannabis plant, typically containing high levels of THC (Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol). It is named after Canadian medical marijuana activist Rick Simpson, who claims RSO has potential therapeutic effects for treating cancer and other health conditions. RSO is believed to possess analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer properties, but its use and legal status may vary across different regions.

Who Is Rick Simpson?

Rick Simpson is a Canadian medical marijuana activist known for his advocacy of cannabis oil as a potential treatment for various medical conditions, notably cancer. He gained prominence after claiming to have cured his own skin cancer using homemade cannabis oil in the late 1990s.

Simpson subsequently shared his extraction method, known as the Rick Simpson Method, and promoted its use through a documentary titled “Run From The Cure.” Despite legal challenges and skepticism from some medical professionals, Simpson continues to advocate for the medicinal use of cannabis oil, making him a prominent figure in the alternative medicine movement.

How RSO Work?

Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) is believed to exert its effects primarily through its high concentration of cannabinoids, particularly THC. THC interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which plays a crucial role in regulating various physiological processes, including mood, appetite, pain sensation, and immune function.

When RSO is ingested or applied topically, THC binds to cannabinoid receptors in the body, primarily CB1 and CB2 receptors, which are found throughout the central nervous system and immune system, respectively. This interaction triggers a cascade of biological responses, potentially leading to analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer effects. However, the exact mechanisms underlying RSO’s therapeutic properties are still not fully understood, and further research is needed to elucidate its pharmacological actions.

What Does RSO Taste Like?

Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) is often described as having an intensely bitter and earthy flavor, with a strong herbal aroma. Due to its concentrated nature and high levels of cannabinoids, particularly THC, RSO can have a harsh and pungent taste that may be challenging for some individuals to tolerate. Some users also report notes of sweetness or spiciness, depending on the specific strain of cannabis used in its production. Overall, the taste of RSO can be quite distinctive and may vary slightly depending on factors such as the extraction method and the quality of the starting material.

CBD Oil vs. RSO

CBD oil and Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) are both cannabis extracts, but they differ significantly in their composition and potency.

Feature CBD Oil RSO (Rick Simpson Oil)
Source Derived from hemp plants Derived from marijuana plants
Cannabinoid Composition High CBD content, low THC content High THC content, varying levels of CBD
Intoxicating Effects Non-intoxicating Psychoactive, may cause euphoria
Potential Uses Pain relief, anxiety management, anti-inflammatory effects Potential anticancer properties, pain relief, anti-inflammatory
Legal Status Legal in many regions due to low THC content Legal status may vary depending on THC content and local regulations

CBD oil is primarily derived from hemp plants and contains high levels of cannabidiol (CBD), a non-intoxicating compound known for its potential therapeutic effects without causing a “high.” In contrast, RSO is extracted from marijuana plants and typically contains high levels of THC (Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive component responsible for the euphoric sensation associated with cannabis use.

While both CBD oil and RSO are believed to possess medicinal properties, they are often used for different purposes. CBD oil is commonly used for its potential anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and anxiolytic effects, making it popular among individuals seeking relief from pain, anxiety, and other health conditions. On the other hand, RSO is primarily associated with its purported anticancer properties and is often used by cancer patients as an alternative or complementary treatment alongside conventional therapies.

Additionally, the legal status of CBD oil and RSO may vary depending on the jurisdiction, with CBD oil being more widely available and legally accessible in many regions due to its lower THC content and non-intoxicating nature. Overall, while both CBD oil and RSO offer potential health benefits, it’s essential for individuals to understand their differences and consult with healthcare professionals before incorporating them into their wellness routines.

Potential Benefits of RSO

Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) has generated interest for its potential therapeutic benefits, particularly in alternative medicine circles.

Pain Relief

RSO is often used by individuals seeking relief from chronic pain, including neuropathic pain, arthritis, and migraines. The high concentration of cannabinoids, particularly THC, is believed to exert analgesic effects by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system.

Anti-inflammatory Properties

Some users report that RSO helps reduce inflammation associated with conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and multiple sclerosis. This anti-inflammatory effect may contribute to its potential benefits for various inflammatory conditions.

Potential Anticancer Effects

While scientific evidence is limited, anecdotal reports and preclinical studies suggest that RSO may have anticancer properties. The high THC content in RSO is thought to induce apoptosis (cell death) and inhibit the growth and spread of cancer cells. However, more research, including clinical trials, is needed to determine the efficacy of RSO as a cancer treatment.

Improvements in Mood and Sleep

Some users of RSO claim improvements in mood, sleep quality, and overall well-being. These effects may be attributed to the interaction of cannabinoids with neurotransmitter systems involved in mood regulation and sleep-wake cycles.

Potential Risks and Interactions of RSO

While Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) may offer potential therapeutic benefits, it is essential to consider the potential risks and interactions associated with its use.

Psychoactive Effects

Due to its high THC content, RSO can cause psychoactive effects, including euphoria, dizziness, impaired memory, and cognitive dysfunction. Individuals sensitive to THC or with a history of mental health disorders may be particularly susceptible to these effects.

Drug Interactions

RSO may interact with certain medications, particularly those metabolized by the cytochrome P450 (CYP450) enzyme system. THC and other cannabinoids in RSO can inhibit or induce CYP450 enzymes, potentially altering the metabolism of medications and leading to unexpected side effects or reduced efficacy. It is essential to consult with a healthcare professional before using RSO, especially if taking other medications.

Adverse Reactions

Some individuals may experience adverse reactions to RSO, such as anxiety, paranoia, rapid heart rate, or respiratory issues. These adverse effects are more likely to occur at higher doses or in individuals with underlying health conditions.

Legal Considerations

The legal status of RSO varies depending on the jurisdiction and the concentration of THC. In some regions, RSO may be classified as a controlled substance, leading to legal consequences for possession or distribution.

Quality and Safety Concerns

The production of RSO, particularly homemade versions, may lack quality control and standardization, leading to variations in potency and purity. Contaminants such as pesticides, heavy metals, or solvent residues may also pose health risks if present in RSO.

Dependency and Withdrawal

Prolonged use of RSO, particularly at high doses, may lead to dependency or addiction, with withdrawal symptoms upon cessation of use. Individuals should use RSO responsibly and av

How Is Rick Simpson Oil Made?

The production of Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) typically involves a simple extraction process that can be performed at home using readily available equipment and materials. While there are variations in technique, the general method follows a few basic steps:

  1. Starting Material: High-quality cannabis buds or trim are commonly used as the starting material for RSO extraction. The choice of strain may impact the final composition and potency of the oil.
  2. Extraction: The cannabis material is typically soaked in a solvent, such as ethanol or isopropyl alcohol, to extract the cannabinoids and other desirable compounds. The solvent acts as a solvent to dissolve the cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant material, creating a concentrated cannabis extract.
  3. Evaporation: After soaking for a period of time, the solvent-cannabis mixture is strained to remove the plant material, leaving behind a liquid extract containing cannabinoids and other compounds. The solvent is then evaporated off using gentle heat, typically in a well-ventilated area or using a heat source such as a rice cooker or double boiler. This process allows the solvent to evaporate, leaving behind a thick, viscous oil.
  4. Purification: Some individuals may choose to further purify the extracted oil using methods such as filtration or winterization to remove any residual impurities or plant material. However, purification steps are optional and may depend on personal preference and desired purity of the final product.
  5. Storage: Once the extraction process is complete, the RSO is typically stored in a dark, airtight container, such as a syringe or small glass jar, to protect it from light and air degradation. Proper storage helps preserve the potency and quality of the RSO over time.

How to Use RSO?

Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) can be administered in various ways, depending on individual preferences and the intended therapeutic effects. Here are some common methods of using RSO:

  • Oral Ingestion: One of the most common methods is to ingest RSO orally. A small amount of RSO is typically placed under the tongue or mixed with food or beverages for consumption. This allows the cannabinoids to be absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the mucous membranes in the mouth and digestive system.
  • Topical Application: RSO can also be applied topically to the skin to target localized pain, inflammation, or skin conditions. It is often mixed with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil or olive oil, to facilitate absorption and improve skin hydration. The oil can be applied directly to the affected area and massaged gently into the skin.
  • Suppositories: Some individuals may choose to use RSO rectally by inserting it into the rectum as a suppository. This method bypasses the digestive system and allows for rapid absorption of cannabinoids into the bloodstream. Suppositories can be made by mixing RSO with a carrier oil and molding it into a suitable shape for insertion.
  • Inhalation: While less common, some users may opt to inhale RSO vapors using a vaporizer or dab rig. Heating the oil produces vapor that can be inhaled, allowing for rapid absorption of cannabinoids into the bloodstream through the lungs. However, inhalation of RSO vapor may be harsh on the throat and lungs and is not recommended for novice users.

While Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) has gained attention for its potential therapeutic benefits, it’s important to remember that the information provided in this article is not intended as medical advice. RSO should be used with caution, and individuals considering its use should consult with healthcare professionals, especially if pregnant, nursing, taking medications, or dealing with underlying health conditions.

Additionally, RSO should not be viewed as a substitute for conventional medical treatments, and its efficacy for specific health conditions has not been conclusively proven. For personalized guidance and to learn more about the potential benefits and risks of RSO, it’s advisable to seek advice from qualified healthcare providers or medical experts.

Frequent Ask Questions

Dr. Saira Zulfiqar, PharmD