Who’s Rick Simpson and what’s Rick Simpson Oil (RSO)?


If you're interested in medical marijuana, you've inevitably heard of a form of cannabis known as Rick Simpson Oil or RSO. RSO is a concentrated form of cannabis oil that is known to have medicinal benefits, especially for cancer. But where does RSO come from? Who is rick simpson Can you smoke RSO? Read on to learn more about Rick Simpson and how to make your own RSO at home.

What is RSO?

(Courtesy of Rick Simpson)

RSO is a cannabis concentrate that is used for many different medical benefits, including the relief of cancer symptoms. It has a thick, syrupy consistency and can be applied topically or ingested in foods or beverages.

In 2003, Rick Simpson created the oil after it was found that three suspicious bumps on his arm were basal cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer. Simpson had used cannabis to treat medical problems in the past, so he made a cannabis oil to treat his skin cancer topically, put it on a bandage, and covered the cancer sites for several days.

The cancer growth had disappeared within a few days. Although his doctor refused to recognize cannabis as an alternative treatment, Simpson firmly believed in the medical powers of cannabis and spread the word about his cannabis oil, which was later called RSO.

How to use RSO

For medical patients, it is always recommended to consult your doctor before starting a new treatment regimen. However, some doctors can reject cannabis as a treatment. If you choose RSO, proceed carefully and at your own discretion.

When looking for symptom relief or medical benefit for a patient, the goal is to gradually consume 60 grams of Rick Simpson oil over a period of 90 days.

Week 1: Start with three doses a day

Each dose should be about the size of half a grain of rice and administered every eight hours (morning, noon, and evening). The first dose is approximately 1/4 drop of RSO.

Weeks 2 to 5: Double your dose every four days

The average person needs between three and five weeks to reach the full dose of one gram of RSO per day.

Weeks 5 to 12: Take one gram of RSO daily until you have used the full 60 grams

Finally, the patient will take approximately 8-9 rice-sized drops of RSO every eight hours.

The taste of the RSO can be slightly bitter or uncomfortable, so patients may prefer to take the oil by swallowing it directly or mixing it with foods such as bananas to mask the taste.

Side effects

Mainly drowsiness, which is a natural part of the healing process. Gradually increasing the dose will help minimize the psychoactive effects and keep your tolerance at a functional level. Daytime sleepiness should subside within three to four weeks.

Continuation of the regime

After 12 weeks of RSO therapy, you may want to continue treatment, but it should be significantly reduced. About one to two grams of RSO per month are enough for a regular maintenance dose.

Rick Simpson Oil should not be considered a panacea for disease, but many patients have experienced significant relief from their medical symptoms and conditions through the use of RSO.

Can you smoke or pat RSO?

Since RSO is an oil, it can be smoked or spotted. However, this depends on the solvent with which it was made.If a flammable solvent has been used, do not try to smoke or dab RSO. Always ask your budtender how the product was made and whether it is safe to dab or smoke.

If you make RSO at home, you need to make sure that you burn all of the alcohol completely. Since this can be difficult and the product has not been tested for chemicals, we recommend that you do not smoke or dab RSO that you make at home.

How to do RSO

how to make RSO, DIY Rick Simpson oil

(kmatija / iStock)

It is not difficult to make your own RSO at home, and the process is not significantly different from making cannabutter or other types of infused cannabis oil. Rick Simpson recommends using indica cannabis strains for best results. However, you can use any variety, especially if a particular variety is best suited to your condition.

Too lazy to cook? Buy RSO products here

Note: This recipe produces the full 60 grams of oil for a 90 day treatment regimen. If you're looking for a smaller course of treatment, you can easily split the prescription into smaller amounts. For example, an ounce of cannabis produces 3-4 grams of RSO.

Rick Simpson oil recipe


1 pound dried cannabis material (Indica variety)
2 gallon solvent – 99% isopropyl alcohol (can also use butane, ethanol or another solvent)
5 gallon bucket
A deep bowl
Wooden spoons to stir
Cheese cloth
Rice cooker
Plastic catheter tip (60 ml)
Place dry cannabis material in the 5 gallon bucket and pour in the solvent until the plant material is covered.
Stir and mash the plant material with your wooden spoon while adding the solvent to your mixture. Continue to stir the mixture for about three minutes while the THC dissolves in the solvent. This dissolves approximately 80% of the THC in the solvent.
Drain the solvent into the bowl with the cheese cloth from the plant material. Put the plant material back in the bucket and add more solvent. Stir for another three minutes.
Drain the solvent from your plant material into your bowl with the cheese cloth and discard the remaining plant material.
Transfer your solvent into your rice cooker until it is about ¾ full and turn on your rice cooker.
Note: In this case, while you don't necessarily need a rice cooker, rice cookers are extremely useful for maintaining a slow, steady temperature if you've never made RSO before. When your mixture warms up to over 148 degrees Celsius, the cannabinoids boil and the RSO is unusable. It is not recommended to use a crockpot or slow cooker as this can overheat your mixture.
The rice cooker should maintain a constant temperature between 100 and 110 degrees Celsius (210 and 230 degrees Fahrenheit). This is the correct heat setting for decarboxylation.
When the rice cooker warms up, the solvent evaporates slowly. Gradually pour your mixture into the rice cooker.
Note: Make sure your rice cooker is in an open, well-ventilated area and avoid all flames, hobs, sparks, and cigarettes as the solvent is easily flammable.
Once the solvent has evaporated, suck the oil into your syringe for easy dosing. The RSO is thick. If you have trouble dispensing, run the syringe under hot water and the RSO mixture should be easy to dispense.

Buy RSO products today for medical purposes

Cooking with RSO

You can also cook with RSO, as well as cannabis butter or cannabis cooking oil. Look at the dish you want to prepare and note the texture and stickiness of RSO.

As for baking, it may be easier to mix it with something that contains more liquid ingredients, like cakes or brownies, than cookies.

RSO is great for drizzling over any type of food, but the taste can be a little off-putting for some. You may want to mix it with a sauce or something else to mask the taste.

The story of Rick Simpson

Rick Simpson came across cannabis fame by chance. In 1997, long before "Rick Simpson Oil" was coined as a term and long before cannabis was considered mainstream, Rick Simpson was an engineer and worked in a Canadian hospital.

When working in the hospital's boiler room, where asbestos on pipes was covered with a strong aerosol adhesive, toxic fumes formed in the poorly ventilated room and caused a temporary shock to the nervous system, causing it to fall off the ladder and hit its head. He was knocked out and when he woke up, his colleagues took him to an emergency room.

After the accident, he suffered from dizziness and ringing in the ears for years, but his prescribed medication had little effect and even made his symptoms worse. After watching a documentary about the positive benefits of cannabis, Simpson asked about medical marijuana, but his doctor refused to consider it a treatment. Simpson eventually got cannabis himself and found a significant improvement in his tinnitus and other symptoms.

In 2003, three suspicious bumps appeared on Simpson's arm. His doctor agreed that the bumps looked cancerous and did a biopsy. Sure enough, the bumps turned out to be basal cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer.

Simpson, who has successfully used cannabis in the past, heard about a study from the National Cancer Institute's journal that found THC kills cancer cells in mice. He decided to treat his skin cancer topically, apply concentrated cannabis oil to a bandage, and leave the cancerous areas covered for several days.

After four days, he removed the bandages and the cancer growth had disappeared. Although his doctor refused to recognize cannabis as an alternative treatment, Simpson now firmly believed in the medical powers of cannabis.

From then on, he started growing his own cannabis and harvesting plants to create his own special form of cannabis concentrate, now known as Rick Simpson Oil or RSO. It became his mission and goal to distribute cannabis oil free of charge to those who needed it. He helped treat more than 5,000 RSO patients, but his trip was not without setbacks and problems.

Simpson's own doctor refused to recognize the benefits, and Simpson was arrested and persecuted in his native Canada. His home was searched several times and he had over 2,600 plants cleared and confiscated by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, but Simpson persisted and continued to distribute cannabis oil. He continues to spread his knowledge to this day.

Have you ever used RSO? How did that affect your life? Let us know in the comments!

This entry was originally published on May 12, 2017. It was last updated on July 6, 2020.

Lisa Rough's bio picture

Lisa Rough

Lisa is a former co-editor at Leafly, where she specializes in legislative cannabis policy and industry issues.


Beth Edmonds