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 weren’t yet en vogue, and concentrates had yet to gain the mainstream attention they enjoy today. Perhaps the biggest claim made by RSO proponents is that it can help to alleviate the symptoms of cancer. Unfortunately, these claims are still nothing more than claims. There is no substantial clinical evidence that supports the use of Rick Simpson Oil for 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 essentially gave his oil away to those that needed it.
Simpson, a Canadian, 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 – as well as everything you need to know about Rick Simpson Oil.
Rick Simpson and His “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. Some estimates suggest 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.
CBD Oil vs. Rick Simpson Oil
In essence, true RSO oil is a rather crude, unrefined (yet very potent) cannabis oil that is extracted using ethanol. It contains around 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 quite different from CBD oil in that it contains a much higher THC content.
Most CBD oil available today comes from hemp and contains less than 0.3% THC. Many companies have marketed it as providing ‘healing without the high.’ In fact, CBD is actually now an approved prescription medication (under the name Epidiolex) for two rare forms of child epilepsy. RSO, on the other hand, will get you high if you use enough. And of course, it’s still illegal in a number of states.
Also, 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 oil is a general term for simple cannabis oil that is made/extracted using a certain technique. In other words, it’s not a “product” that you go and buy at a marijuana dispensary.
As such, there’s not an explicit answer to the question ‘is Rick Simpson Oil legal.’ It depends on where you live and also on the specific laws of your state. If you live in a state where cannabis is legal either recreationally or medically, and if you meet the appropriate criteria to possess/use cannabis (i.e. if you’re 21 or older in a recreationally legal state, or if you have a valid MMJ card in a medically legal state), and if it is legal to grow cannabis in your state, you should be able to legally make RSO oil in your own home.
With this in mind, remember that each state has its own rules and regulations regarding home cultivation. You may find that it is legal to purchase a cannabis oil concentrate that’s similar to RSO in a licensed dispensary in your state, but illegal to actually grow the weed and make the RSO yourself. Please refer to your state’s specific marijuana laws.
Even in states where it is legal to grow your own cannabis and/or possess cannabis oil extract, there are often limits on how much oil one can possess. For example, in California, you are allowed to have possession of a maximum of 8 grams of cannabis concentrate. Once again, be sure and research your state’s laws on this matter.
How to Use Rick Simpson Oil
First and foremost, we recommend discussing your potential use of RSO with a physician before proceeding. We DO NOT make any claims as to the efficacy of Rick Simpson Oil. That being said, 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 by taking RSO oil three times a day (approximately once every 8 hours). In terms of dosage, 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, maintaining the same schedule of consuming three doses of RSO per day. 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 until you consume the entire 60 grams. Ultimately the consumer will take around 8-9 grain of rice sized drops every eight hours.
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. It’s likely that these episodes will reduce once your tolerance level increases.
By week 13, you can continue using the oil but cut down your intake.
Can you smoke or dab RSO?
As RSO is an oil, it can be smoked or dabbed, however, it depends on what solvent was used to make it—if a highly flammable solvent was used, do not attempt to smoke or dab RSO. Always check with your budtender on how the product was created and whether or not it is safe to dab or smoke.
If making RSO at home, you must be sure to burn off all the alcohol completely. As this can be tricky and the product will not have been tested for chemicals, we recommend not smoking or dabbing RSO you make at home.
Cooking with RSO
You can cook with RSO as well, just as you can with cannabutter or cannabis cooking oil. Consider the dish you’ll be making and keep in mind the texture and stickiness of RSO.
As far as baking, it will be easier to mix it in with something that has more liquid ingredients, like a cake or brownies, as opposed to 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 flavor.
The Dangers Of Using Rick Simpson Oil For An Opioid Detox
An individual seeking to detox from opioids by using Rick Simpson Oil could be endangering their safety and sobriety.
Opioids cause some of the most severe addictions. Specifically, opioids cause people using them to form strong physical dependencies. Dependency happens when a person suffers from withdrawal when they stop using an opioid drug.
Opioid withdrawal should never be treated at home, without medical supervision. Doing so cuts a person off from medical treatments, which could be necessary should a person relapse or face unforeseen complications.
Though the symptoms of opioid withdrawal are not in themselves life-threatening, certain complications which result from them may be.
A medically-supervised detoxification program uses evidenced-based medications to ease and reduce cravings and other symptoms of withdrawal. In addition, the highly-trained medical staff is on hand with medical services, should any complications arise.
Opioid withdrawal can become very overwhelming, especially the intense cravings which accompany it. Without the intervention of trained addiction specialists, a person is far more likely to return to opioid abuse to alleviate these feelings.
Other Dangers Of Using Rick Simpson Oil
While there are many claims touting the benefits of Rick Simpson Oil as a “cure” for cancer, there isn’t evidence substantiating that this is a complete cure or of its efficacy to a reliable extent. While cannabis oils may offer medical and therapeutic value to patients, relying on this oil as a cure could have dangerous, and even deadly, results.
By believing that RSO is a cure, many people may effectively cut themselves off from life-saving medications, treatments, and advice from trained medical doctors. This could cause a disease to worsen, even to the point of becoming life-threatening.
On Rick Simpson’s website, he notes that the oil may react with certain medications. As a response to this, he suggests that individuals reduce, and even stop, their medications. Stopping any prescribed medication without a doctor’s express guidance can be harmful to a person’s health and recovery. He even goes so far to suggest that diabetics may not need as much, or even any, insulin, a claim which could be very dangerous.
In order to make RSO, individuals need large amounts of marijuana. It could be illegal to possess these amounts, exposing an individual to the risk of legal prosecution, fines, and jail time.
Lastly, Rick Simpson Oil contains THC. When made at home, this amount isn’t standardized, meaning it isn’t a set, measurable amount. This means that an individual won’t know exactly how much they’re taking in a single dose, potentially leading to extreme intoxication. Even more, individuals accustomed to CBD oils may not expect to get high. CBD isn’t psychoactive, meaning it doesn’t create the mind-altering properties that THC does.
Contrary to popular belief, marijuana is addictive. As taking THC-infused Rick Simpson Oil will elicit a high, an individual could develop patterns of drug-seeking and used to obtain these pleasurable feelings in the future. Or, an individual may progress to using marijuana in other forms, further increasing the risk of substance abuse and addiction.
The story of Rick Simpson
Rick Simpson stumbled upon cannabis fame purely by accident. Long before “Rick Simpson Oil” was coined as a term, and long before cannabis was considered remotely mainstream, Rick Simpson was an engineer working in a Canadian hospital in 1997.
Working in a hospital boiler room covering asbestos on pipes with a potent aerosol glue, toxic fumes built up in the poorly ventilated room and caused a temporary nervous system shock, making him fall off his ladder and hit his head. He was knocked unconscious and when he awoke, his colleagues took him to an emergency room.
He suffered dizzy spells and a ringing in his ears for years after the accident, but his prescribed medication had little effect, even making his symptoms worse. After seeing a documentary highlighting the positive benefits of cannabis, Simpson inquired about medical marijuana, but his doctor refused to consider it as a treatment. Simpson ended up sourcing cannabis on his own and saw a significant improvement in his tinnitus and other symptoms.
In 2003, after being diagnosed with skin cancer, Simpson did some research and heard about a study from the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in which THC was found to kill cancer cells in mice. He created the oil that would become RSO to treat his skin cancer topically. After four days, the cancerous growths had disappeared. His physician wouldn’t believe it, but Simpson was convinced of the medicinal powers of cannabis.
From then on out, he began cultivating his own cannabis and harvesting plants to create his own specialized form of cannabis concentrate, now known as Rick Simpson Oil, or RSO. It became his mission and goal to distribute cannabis oil to those who needed it, free of charge. He helped treat more than 5,000 patients with RSO, but his journey was not without its setbacks and struggles.
Simpson’s own doctor refused to acknowledge the benefits, and Simpson faced arrest and persecution in his native Canada. His home was raided on multiple occasions and he had over 2,600 plants cut down and confiscated by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, but Simpson persevered and continued to distribute cannabis oil. To this day, he continues to spread the word of his findings.
Final Thoughts on Rick Simpson’s Oil
RSO originated because its creator used a cannabis concentrate oil on his skin cancer. He claims the oil eliminated his cancer within four days. As we’ve emphasized, however, these are still nothing more than anecdotal claims. In fact, most physicians would probably refuse to blatantly credit cannabis oil as the reason for the disappearance of Simpson’s cancerous growths.
Research into marijuana is still in its infancy. Therefore, it would be unwise to make claims about its efficacy for any medical condition – let alone one as serious as cancer.
That said, there are studies (some of which we discuss above) suggesting that cannabinoids can have an inhibitive effect on the growth of cancerous cells, and a galvanizing effect on the programmed cell death of certain cancer cells. In fact, the U.S. National Library of Medicine lists CBD (a cannabinoid) as having “anti-proliferative, antineoplastic, chemopreventive, anti-angiogenic, and pro-apoptotic” activity.
All in all, 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. Regardless, please be wary of blindly accepting any and all information that’s available out there online as the truth. It may well be that the Rick Simpson story and the anecdote on his RSO oil for cancer is true. However, there’s simply no clinical data that validates it.
And lastly, if you decide to take Rick Simpson Oil, make sure it is legal in your state and/or city. Also, as RSO is extremely potent, begin with a very small dose to assess your tolerance before increasing as necessary.
You can expect psychoactive effects when consuming RSO oil. As such, you can expect possible THC-related side effects such as drowsiness, red eyes, anxiety, and paranoia. If you have made or used Rick Simpson Oil in the past, be sure and let us (as well as the greater cannabis community) know what you think of it by leaving a comment below.