What Is RSO (Rick Simpson Oil) & How to Use It

What Is RSO

While browsing around dispensaries or CBD stores, you might have stumbled across the term RSO or Rick Simpson oil. So what is RSO, and what does it do? 

To put it briefly, it’s an oil derived from strains of cannabis that are very high in THC (the molecule in cannabis that gets you high).

This article shares all about RSO oil, what you can do with it, its side effects, and even how you can make it on your own.

So, without further ado, let’s get started!

Quick History Lesson on Rick Simpsons Oil

RSO (Rick Simpson Oil) is named after the creator of the oil. Can you guess his name? 

Rick Simpson is a former engineer and current medical marijuana activist. In 2003, a form of skin cancer popped up on his arm. 

Simpson had successfully treated other symptoms with cannabis in the past, so he decided to try it out for cancer. He was also inspired by a study from the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, where THC was found to kill cancer cells in mice

He applied concentrated cannabis oil (his first form of Rick Simpsons oil) to a bandage and left the spots covered for several days. After four days, he removed the bandage, and his cancerous spots were gone! 

After this miracle, Rick began cultivating his own cannabis plants to create his own specialized form of cannabis concentrate (now known as Rick Simpson Oil, or RSO). His mission was to distribute his oil to those who needed it, completely free. 

Apparently, Rick Simpson helped treat thousands with his recipe but soon had to deal with legal problems. What is RSO oil in the eyes of the government? 

Well…Simpson’s home was raided on multiple occasions. He had over 2,600 plants cut down and confiscated by the Canadian police, but Simpson continued distributing cannabis oil. 

He’s currently in Europe and can’t enter the USA after these legal issues. Even after all of this, Rick Simpson continues to promote his passion for cannabis through his books and speeches

What Is RSO and How Can We Use It? 

Rick Simpson oil is marijuana oil made with a very high amount of THC, anywhere from 20%–90% (or even more). To put this in perspective, marijuana typically contains around 15% THC. 

What is RSO oil used for

RSO has the potential to help with the following issues:

  • Cancer
  • Pain
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Migraines
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Inflammation
  • Loss of appetite
  • High blood pressure
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Glaucoma
  • Seizures

Does it work for cancer treatment? There is not enough scientific evidence to support RSO as a cancer treatment. After all, no official scientific study was done to determine RSO efficiency. For this reason, one cannot 100% vouch for its efficiency.

However, scientific experiments show us that CBD and THC do have anti-cancer properties. 

Are There Any RSO Oil Side Effects?

Since there is a high amount of THC, RSO isn’t free of side effects like CBD is. Large doses of THC can stimulate the following adverse side effects:

  • Anxiety and paranoia
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Hallucinations
  • Low blood pressure
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Memory issues
  • Impaired reaction time and motor control
  • Bloodshot eyes

Do these sound familiar? THC is the acting molecule in marijuana as well, which is why the side effects of RSO are very similar. They don’t sound great, but thankfully, they won’t last forever. Any side effects disappear once THC has left your system

Rick Simpson Oil for Cancer

The possibility to heal cancer has caused the most buzz around RSO. Like we shared in the intro, Rick Simpson discovered that his oil caused cancerous bumps on his arm to completely disappear! 

He simply put it on a bandage, covered his spots with it for a few days, and they were gone when he removed it. 

Obviously, we shouldn’t only believe the claims of one man, although a few studies share that cannabis oil has been shown to kill off cancer cells. Even so, there isn’t sufficient scientific evidence yet to encourage FDA to approve THC oil. It’s a real shame since they’ve already approved of Marinol.

Nevertheless, there’s no reason not to try it out while getting chemotherapy or other cancer treatments should your physician agree.

What Do RSO Cancer Testimonials Say?

You can find plenty of RSO testimonials online praising its benefits. One of the latest examples can be seen in the form of RSO Stories. These video series show people testifying about their own experiences with RSO and how it helped them deal with cancer, fibromyalgia, etc. 

They are a part of a bigger Stoner Stories project.

RSO Oil for Pain

RSO can potentially help patients that suffer from chronic pain as an alternative to prescription medication. 

It can be beneficial for cancer patients that deal with chronic pain. Yet, beginners might find it a bit overwhelming. 

If you plan on using RSO for pain sublingually, you need to know that it won’t provide relief as fast as other forms of cannabis (vaping or smoking). Still, with sublingual administration, the effects should kick in within an hour max. 

Regarding pain issues, RSO might also be a better option than CBD for some patients due to its high THC content, which leads us to the next section.

RSO vs. CBD Oil

When comparing these two popular cannabis-derived oils, it’s helpful to remember that RSO is essentially the opposite of CBD oil

First of all, CBD oil and RSO are derived from different strains. Quality CBD oil is usually derived from hemp, while RSO comes from marijuana. Secondly, CBD oil is non-psychoactive. It contains less than 0.3% of THC, if any (for example, CBD crystals contain none). 

In comparison, if you look at the Rick Simpson oil recipe below, you’ll notice that it’s highly psychoactive because it has high amounts of THC — even higher than a regular joint! If you expect to be tested for THC, then you should definitely get some advice on how to pass a THC drug test.

And lastly, while RSO might be the better choice for intense pain in cancer patients, CBD works great for many other issues. It helps with chronic pain, stress and anxiety, depression, PTSD, acne, and more. 

RSO Dosage Chart

Rick Simpson’s dosage recommendations for his 90-day treatment regimen are very specific. It starts out with three small daily doses, then slowly progresses to the full one gram (1 ml) per day after a few weeks. 

If you’re not following his regimen strictly, your best dosage always depends on how high the THC content is. If it’s 75%, you’re going to want to use less than 55% THC Rick Simpson oil. 

It also depends on other factors, such as your weight and past experience with cannabis. If you’ve smoked marijuana every day for years, you’ll probably need a higher dose than a newbie. 

Here are the instructions on the RSO dosage:

Week 1 Start with three doses per day. Consume ¼ drop of RSO oil every eight hours — early in the morning, in the afternoon, and an hour before going to bed. 
Weeks 2–5 After four days, you can double the dosage every four days. The principle stays the same. You administer the oil every eight hours.  
Weeks 5–12 Take 1 ml of oil per day (9 drops every 8 hours) until you’ve consumed all 60 grams. 

How to Take RSO

There are a few ways you can take RSO: 

  • Topically, by rubbing onto the skin (works for symptoms that occur on the surface of the skin, such as skin cancer)
  • Sublingually by holding drops under the tongue for a minute or two (this has the fastest absorption rate)
  • As a capsule taken orally (effects are slower to kick in but last longer)
  • Suppositories   

As uncomfortable as the last method sounds, RSO absorbed into the colon will not get you high like the other methods. You might experience a slightly heavy feeling, but nothing extreme.  

In addition, this method is more beneficial if you have bowel or prostate cancer.

Where to Buy Rick Simpson Oil

While you can’t buy RSO directly from its creator, Rick Simpson, you can find oils high in THC in cannabis dispensaries and online. However, since it’s well over the legal limit of THC content, if cannabis isn’t legal in your state, you’ll need to get a medical marijuana card. 

RSO is also known under the name “phoenix tears,” so don’t get confused if you see it advertised under that name.  

What Is the RSO Oil Price?

In the states that legalized the usage of medical cannabis, the price of one gram of what is defined as RSO ranges between $35 to $70

In other words, if you want to go through the recommended 90 days of treatment, you’ll need to buy 60 grams of RSO oil. If we do the math, one treatment could cost you $2,100–$4,200

If this sounds too expensive, try to find special deals and coupons. 

For example, you can find Rick Simpson oil in Colorado for $35 per gram in Kind Meds dispensary (Denver). You just need to show them the coupon from your phone the next time you visit their store. 

Keep in mind that you also have to be older than 21. 

If you want to buy Rick Simpson oil in Illinois, the price will be the same if you use online shops, given that most of them offer large discounts.  

If you buy RSO products from the company’s Buy Rick Simpson Oil, you’ll find six different offers. You can purchase 1 gram, 5 grams, or 30 grams of RSO oil, or you can go with RSO suppositories, tinctures, or capsules.

The prices range between $60 (for 1 gram) and $1,600 (for full cancer treatment). Other costs include:

  • 5 grams–$200
  • 10 grams–$400
  • 15 grams–$500
  • 20 grams–$700
  • 30 grams–$800

If you cannot find RSO of the desired quality, you can always make it yourself, following the RSO recipe. 

How to Make Rick Simpson Oil

DISCLAIMER: High THC products are illegal in many states and countries. Please be aware of your local laws before trying to make your own! 

Making RSO at home is just as easy as making CBD oil! There are many tips from Rick Simpson himself at his Phoenix Tears website. He even has several books on the topic!  

For newbies learning how to make RSO, Rick states that Indica cannabis strains work best. It’s not good to use a strain that contains more than 10% Sativa. You only need an ounce (or 30 grams) to make 4–5 grams of high-grade oil. 

The particular amount of oil produced will vary depending on the strain. On average, a pound of cannabis should produce at least 60 grams of RSO oil.

Rick Simpson states that the best solvent for RSO is either light aliphatic naphtha, ether, or 99% isopropyl alcohol. These are the only solvents that Rick Simpson himself has experience with. If you’re trying another solvent out, it should be colorless. 

Check out Rick Simpson’s recipe to get a detailed, step-by-step explanation of how to make this substance from the comfort of your own home! 

The Scientific Research

Although there are plenty of RSO oil benefits, scientific research is still necessary (especially since many people use it for cancer). 

  • In this study, combining cannabidiol and THC enhanced the anti-cancer effects of radiation. 
  • Another study showed that THC kills cancer cells in mice and reduces tumor size. 
  • The UMCG (University Medical Center Groningen) is planning to start a study in 2021 on the effects of cannabis oil on liver cancer patients.

Many other studies show that THC can improve nausea, appetite issues, pain, and other symptoms that often occur with cancer treatments. 

So, what is RSO, and can it heal cancer? Again, since there isn’t much research behind RSO and THC actually healing cancer, it’s not recommended in place of cancer treatments. Even Rick Simpson believes this. 

It worked well for him, but he knows that every form of cancer is different, and there’s not enough research behind it. 

However, there shouldn’t be harm in trying it out while getting cancer treatments – it could even make the treatments more effective like the first study above shows. Nevertheless, always consult with your doctor first. 

Summary

We hope that you learned what is RSO all about and all your questions about it have been answered! If Rick Simpson’s claims are true, then RSO oil has incredible potential for cancer and other diseases. 

FAQs

What exactly is RSO?

RSO is an oil that has been derived from marijuana strains. What makes it unique is its high THC potency. RSO was created by Rick Simpson, who managed to treat his skin cancer with it. 

That said, RSO is mainly known for its potential to help with cancer therapies and chronic pain. In addition to that, it is said to help with other physical and mental issues like multiple sclerosis, migraines, arthritis, loss of appetite, depression, insomnia, etc.

What is the difference between RSO and CBD oil?

RSO and CBD oil are very different. For starters, RSO oil is derived from marijuana, while CBD oil comes from the hemp plant. Furthermore, unlike CBD, RSO has a high amount of THC (0.3% vs. 20%–90%), making it highly psychoactive. 

RSO is also a full spectrum product that has more than 100 cannabinoids. In comparison, CBD oil can be full spectrum, broad spectrum, or isolate.

Is Rick Simpson oil method recommended for cancer?

As we mentioned above, it’s definitely not recommended instead of cancer treatments. However, it’s not a bad idea to try it out as a complementary treatment.

One of the studies in our research section above even showed that combining the two might enhance the effects of cancer treatments. 

Why are there RSO CBD products online?

A couple of CBD companies are taking advantage of the trend and labeling their (very low THC) products as Rick Simpson oil. This confuses many because an authentic RSO oil is made with a high THC content. 

It won’t provide the same cancer-fighting effects as a THC-rich RSO cannabis oil will.

What is RSO good for?

RSO is commonly used as a cancer treatment. However, it also works for a number of other symptoms such as pain, multiple sclerosis, inflammation, high blood pressure, and more. It has many similar benefits to CBD oil. 

Does RSO get you high?

RSO can get you high as long as it’s the original, a type that’s made with a large amount of THC. There are four ways you can take RSO: topically, sublingually, orally, and anally. 

Sublingual consumption has the fastest absorption rate, oral consumption lasts longer, while anal consumption won’t get you as high as other methods yet it may be very efficient in dealing with pain. 

Is it possible to overdose?

Since RSO is high in THC, it’s more important to be careful with how much you take. While it’s not possible to die from an RSO overdose, you’ll definitely be uncomfortably high for hours (or even days). 

RSO is typically higher in THC than marijuana, so you need to be more careful with how much you take. 

Can you dab RSO?

Since RSO is usually consumed orally, topically, or through suppositories, dabbing is not advised. Moreover, if you make it yourself and you use flammable solvents, you should never try to dab it or smoke it.

On the other hand, you can try your cooking skills using RSO oil. Use it to make cannabutter, brownies, or cakes (it works better when mixed with liquid ingredients).

Is RSO the same as edibles?

No, RSO is not the same as edibles since it can also be taken topically, i.e., by rubbing onto the skin, and through suppositories. However, RSO works well as an edible, given that it can be added to various foods.

The two other ways you can administer RSO are sublingually (under the tongue) and orally (as a capsule). The first method is the fastest when it comes to absorption. But, when taking RSO orally, the effects will last much longer.

Can I use RSO for pain?

RSO works great for pain as well! As mentioned before, RSO oil can potentially help people who are suffering from chronic pain. Although it won’t provide a fast response (like smoking or vaping), its effects will kick in within an hour if you apply sublingual administration.

Keep in mind that its effects might be overwhelming for beginners, especially if they are unsure what is RSO famous for.

37 thoughts on “What Is RSO (Rick Simpson Oil) & How to Use It

  1. I was gifted a small bottle of rso. It’s got 5% thc with 750 mg in the whole bottle. Is this right?

    1. Hello Linda! Thank you for your question. RSO typically has over 20% of THC at least, and some even 90%. I doubt it was obtained from the original source.

      1. Thanks. I’m trying an alternative treatment for Chrons which involves RSO and an alkaline diet. I’m cleansing with juicing to set up an alkaline ph in my digestive system. I’ll be at the dispensary tomorrow for a better dose. Thanks so much!

  2. Hi. RSO 100% cured my moms stage four cancer two years ago. She was given 3-5 months to live having lung and bone cancer. It took four and a half months of taking one full gram of the oil daily. You can make suppositories so you won’t get high. She didn’t use chemotherapy at all. Her doctors were stunned by her recovery. I’m taking the oil daily as well for preventative measures.

  3. Maybe it’s easier going to the countries that sell it and where it’s legal in person, these days it’s really hard to find anything good! All the CBD was reduced to broad spectrum instead of full, I used to get things from thehealthcure in Holland but then their quality become subpar and I ended up finding Cre8-health and another company nature’s cure! And it seems that their quality is quite high. I just hope that the legal system and pharmaceutical industry does what it says it would do and supports the industry without destroying the organic full spectrum part.

  4. What is the typical period of time that one uses the RSO for Cancer.
    Do you need to take it for a month or two or longer? I have recently been diagnosed with Metastasized breast cancer that has metastasized to the bone. I want to start treatment of RSO and don’t know how much to buy.

    1. Hello Mary! The typical time is hard to determine since there are so many different cases, so we cannot give precise recommendations on our own. However, check “Pinpointing the Best RSO Dosage” in the article above for the link leading to the RSO dosage guide. I believe that should be the answer you are looking for.

  5. Someone told me the reason I don’t feel high from suposotory rso is because it’s not getting absorbed properly , is this true ?

    1. Yes, and no. When THC is absorbed by our body in that way, it bypasses the liver, so you cannot get high from it. On the other hand, you are supposed to experience pain relief or other beneficial effects.

  6. I have a scientist friend that and a tar suspension and put it in suppositories so how would I use this if I’m in stage 4 cancer to put to best use for pain and appetite etc I’m asking for a friend that I’m giving it to and wondered if I could give them correct instructions on how to use it

    1. There are several simple ways to make THC suppositories. However, I would advise your friend to consult their doctor first on what amount of RSO oil is safe for the patient. Namely, certain studies confirm that the bioavailability of THC oil is much higher when it is absorbed rectally. Most RSO dosage recommendations that you can find refer to oral consumption.

    1. Dear Wendy,
      In general, RSO can be used for pain management. However, the dosage will depend on the primary source of pain (inflammation) as well as other medications used.
      The RSO-drug interactions vary depending on other meds used.
      Moreover, considering that RSO contains high levels of THC, it is paramount to determine if such a therapy would cause any additional side effects. To do so, we would need to include all other medications or conditions into the equation.

  7. Hi there, My wife’s best friend of 30+years was diagnosed with a rare cancer referred to as LMS (Leiomyosarcoma). She has undergone significant surgery and unfortunately it quickly returned. We have done a ton of research on LMS and many people swear by Legit RSO oil. We live in South Carolina but would go anywhere to help her. Is anyone able to help me to understand how we can get some for her.

    1. Hi Tom! Since Rick Simpson is unable to sell his oil, check out the recipe he provides on his website and see if you can find a similar product in one of the dispensaries, or try making some yourself. You have lots of information on Rick Simpson’s official website. Basically, no reputable dispensary is allowed to sell oil under his name, so we advise you to study the content of the oil and enquire about it, or make it. We wish you and your friend the best of luck with the treatment.

  8. i just want to let you no i think RSO is wonderful.. i had breast C and one lymph node under my arm, after a while getting chemo i asked how long till they shrink the lumps, she said only the one in your boob will shrink, i asked my dr he said yes we take the one under your arm out by operating. so i was telling my cousin all this, and her husband told me to try RSO so he found it in our city, and the lump under my arm disappeared and my blood was so terrific, dr said, they opened me up under my arm anyway took 10 good ones and shocked it was gone, and the one in my boob shrunk so small they were afraid to try to find it.. so i just want to thank you so much for your oil, it worked for me, im C free and still take the oil 3 times a day and never miss.. your wonderful people.. xoxoxoxoxoxxooxox i think my dr and nurses should of made this public with me, cause it worked and they dont think its true tho… i love yous for this product, thank you a million times

    1. Hi Cindy,

      Thank you very much for your comment! It’s such a pleasure to read life-changing stories like this and we hope more people will become aware of marijuana benefits, and RSO in particular.

  9. Dear Dr: I have been experimenting with different applications of cannibus for back pain: smoking (I got high but never felt pain relief.); RSO orally (Got high but no pain relief.); tincture (no pain relief); salves/creams (I feel some relief but must apply every few hours.), which gets very expensive. I’m very sensitive to drugs (OTC & prescription) so don’t understand why I can’t seem to get any real relief with cannibus. These have been a mixture of high THC or high CBD. I read that CBD is what relieves pain but you say it’s THC. I don’t like the high. Any suggestions?

    1. First of all, we hope that you have seen a doctor and received a proper diagnosis. Since you haven’t shared your diagnosis, we cannot estimate how realistic it is to expect relief from taking CBD in any form or any medication for that matter. Therefore, the below pieces of advice is the best we could deduce based on the limited information provided:
      Let’s start with the fact that you felt relief from the salve/creams you were applying. Firstly, since you stated they were efficient, a conclusion arises that the ointments probably have the CBD:THC ratio that your body is most responsive to. It is a fact that CBD and THC work best in unison for most people, so perhaps that is the reason why you didn’t get the desired effect with RSO oil. Moreover, CBD pain creams are usually mixed with other pain-relieving ingredients, which may have proven helpful in your case as well.
      Secondly, when it comes to chronic pain, the most recommendable CBD treatment is either using creams for localized pain or consuming CBD edibles (CBD capsules, CBD cookies, CBD mints, etc.) The latter have a later onset, but their effect lasts longer due to a slower metabolic process.
      Also, depending on the intake method and the amount consumed, it may take some time for CBD or THC to accumulate in your body. That may be one of the reasons why some methods failed to deliver the desired effect. Finally, it is of utmost importance to find CBD or THC products of the highest quality in order for the desired effects to appear.
      Since you have experimented quite a few times with different products due to a medical problem, we hope you have consulted your doctor about your efforts.

  10. How long does it last? I had some leftover from my mom’s cancer and it’s been sitting in the back of a drawer for 2 1/2 years… is it still ok for somebody to consume? I’m curious if about it potency at this point and especially if it likely has gone rancid or moldy. It’s hard to tell because it’s super dark in color… it’s been stored in a large plastic syringe with cap on the end. Thank you!

    1. Hello Francene! Similarly to any food product, cannabis oil degrades over time. Considering the time span given, it is quite probable the cannabinoids and terpenes have degraded. The average shelf life of cannabis oils is one year.

  11. My husband has been diagnosed with anal cancer. He will have a MRI to make sure lymph nodes are clear then six weeks of chemo and radiation treatments. Been told after these treatments will take a 6 week break then surgery to remove anything left. His rectum will be removed and he’ll have a colostomy for the rest of his life. Not great news but not a death sentence so to speak. We live in Texas, which I believe medical marijuana is now legal but I have no idea where to even start looking for medical card. Curious how to use this to help him but it sounds like it could do nothing but help.

    1. Hello! At the moment, there is not enough scientific research supporting the claim that RSO or THC oil helps treat BPH. However, there is some research suggesting marijuana can be beneficial for BPH, but it does not specify in which form or how much THC was used.

  12. Mom has stage 4 NSCLC Met to adrenal gland 3-6 months survival. Is on Hospice care now, I bought some RSO but not sure on dosage. She has been taking oxy for a month with still allot of pain. The RSO syringe lines are so small hard to read. She has never used any type of Cannabis in her life. 80 years old 200 pounds any help would be appreciated

    1. Hello Tom, we’re very sorry to hear that and we hope that the right dosage of THC will help alleviate your mother’s pain. Please refer to the RSO Dosage Chart in our guide or a linked page in the same segment for a more detailed overview.

    1. Hi Silver! The easiest way would be to use high temperature to make RSO liquid again. Put the syringe into a Ziploc bag, and squeeze the air out before you zip it tight. Then, try putting the bag into some container you’ve filled with hot or warm water (but not boiling hot!). This should do the trick.

  13. I’ve been trying to search for this answer – is RSO safe to take while pregnant? I have chronic hives and rash and I’m losing sleep. It’s crippling me and the only thing holding me back from using it is that I’m pregnant … would even the smallest dose be okay? Thank you for your time

    1. Dear Nora, RSO oil contains a very high amount of THC. There have only been a few studies on the topic of THC/marijuana and pregnancy, but they all indicate possible detrimental effects to the baby’s development. You can read about them in more detail on Harvard’s blog. There is a possibility something from your environment is the cause and the hives and rash could disappear by simply eliminating the substance from your system. Therefore, we strongly suggest that you talk to your doctor in order to find the reason for your problems, and get the right therapy. We hope you feel better soon and be able to enjoy your pregnancy!

  14. Hi, I have been diagnosed with chronic pain from osteo arthritis and inflammation. I am on gabapentin 200 mg.3 times daily, tramadol 100 mg. 3 times daily, hydroxychloroquine 200 mg. 2 times daily, methotrexate 2.5 mg. 5 weekly and duloxetine HCL DR 60 mg. 1 daily. Are these meds compatible with RSO oil.

    1. Dear Deb,
      The medications you are taking are all being metabolized through specific liver enzymes. Adding any concentrated cannabis-based product to the list could interfere with this metabolism and cause your therapy to stop working, or perhaps even induce liver toxicity. That’s why we would advise you to steer clear of the RSO products, at least until your prescribed therapy remains like this.

  15. I recently purchased RSO syringes to make suppositories- the YouTube I found said to heat 100gms of coco butter to 1gm of RSO- which will return 101 gems of product- my molds are 2.5 ml
    So am I correct in assuming that each suppository should deliver 1,25ml of RSO rectally?
    I’m trying to figure out the dosage on that recipe. For rectal cancer for a friend. I also want to use for polyps Vs having them removed.
    Thank you!

    1. Dear Kj, We did the calculation, according to the information that you’ve here provided.
      If you mix 100g of cocoa butter with 1g of RSO, you will get 101g of product, but its volume will be approximately 110ml.
      So from that mixture, you will be able to fill about 44 molds.
      In that case, each mold would contain approximately 22.72 mg of RSO.

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