Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) is a cannabis-derived oil with a unique composition. Unlike traditional solvent extracts that strip trichomes from cannabis buds, RSO retains all the cannabinoids, terpenes, and additional compounds present in the entire cannabis plant. The extraction process for RSO is intricate and time-consuming, somewhat similar to the production of tinctures. The resulting oil typically has a near-black color and a less-than-pleasant taste due to its high content of plant matter since it utilizes the entire plant.
RSO was originally developed as a medicinal therapeutic for various chronic health conditions, most notably cancer, multiple sclerosis, and asthma. Although Rick Simpson, the oil’s namesake, no longer produces it himself, RSO remains a crucial component in the treatment plans of patients throughout North America.
Rick Simpson’s story is intertwined with the emergence of RSO. He was a Canadian engineer in 1997 when he suffered a life-altering accident while working on asbestos-covered pipes in a hospital’s boiler room. He fainted due to poor ventilation and toxic fumes, causing him to fall off a ladder. This led to medical problems, including dizziness and tinnitus. He began to explore medical marijuana when conventional medications failed to alleviate his symptoms. It proved highly effective in relieving his ailments despite medical advice against it and the illegal status of cannabis.
In 2003, Simpson received a diagnosis of basal cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer. While Canada had legalized medicinal cannabis by then, finding a supportive doctor proved challenging. Inspired by a 1975 study in The Journal of the National Cancer Institute, which highlighted cannabis’s ability to inhibit tumor growth in mice, Simpson decided to create RSO. He claimed that applying RSO directly to his cancer growth and leaving it bandaged for four days resulted in a cure, but this assertion lacks independent verification.
Simpson began mass-producing RSO and distributing it to thousands of patients for free. However, in 2009, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police raided his property, confiscating thousands of cannabis plants. To avoid legal persecution, Simpson relocated to Croatia, where he maintained a website providing his RSO recipe, dosing guidelines, and related books. In 2018, he suffered a stroke and has since withdrawn from the public eye, but he continues to advocate for RSO and medical cannabis.
RSO can be consumed in different ways, it can be smoked, applied topically, or ingested orally, depending on individual preferences. However, due to its high THC and cannabinoid content, it’s essential to start with a small dose, typically no larger than half a grain of rice.