Cannabis is making its mark in the medical world.
Around the world, people are rediscovering the potential of this ancient plant to treat a wide range of conditions, from anxiety to arthritis.
One of the earliest explored uses of medical cannabis is its potential in treating the side effects of cancer and conventional therapies. Rick Simpson Oil, or RSO, is a concentrated form of cannabis that has gained significant attention for its therapeutic applications.
While there is limited formal research on the benefits and risks of RSO, many online claims support its use for various ailments. However, it is important to note that these claims lack objective clinical evidence.
So, who is Rick Simpson? And what makes his oil so unique?
What is RSO?
RSO, or Rick Simpson Oil, is a concentrated oil derived from cannabis.
Unlike normal solvent-extracted oils, RSO contains most of the plant’s natural compounds, including trichomes, cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. It has particularly high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis.
Due to its high concentration of natural compounds, RSO has a strong, distinct taste and appears almost black in color. It can be consumed orally or used topically, straddling the line between an edible, tincture, and topical remedy.
Historically, RSO has been used to alleviate symptoms of cancer and chemotherapy. It is believed to offer pain relief, stimulate appetite, and reduce insomnia and nausea. There are also anecdotal reports of its potential benefits for conditions such as multiple sclerosis, asthma, chronic pain, epilepsy, and insomnia. However, it is important to note that these benefits are largely based on personal experiences and lack scientific evidence.
About Rick Simpson
Rick Simpson, an engineer in a Canadian hospital, discovered the potential of medical cannabis after suffering from chronic symptoms following a head trauma. Inspired by a documentary about cannabis, Simpson tried the plant and experienced significant relief.
Years later, Simpson was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma. Drawing on his previous success with cannabis and research indicating the effectiveness of THC against cancer in mice, he decided to treat his condition with concentrated cannabis oil applied topically. After just four days of continuous exposure, his cancerous growths disappeared. This experience led Simpson to distribute his oil and share his story.
Benefits of RSO
RSO has been used by Rick Simpson and others to treat skin cancer and tinnitus. However, due to the Schedule I classification of cannabis at the federal level, there is a lack of consistent scientific evidence to support the therapeutic benefits of RSO.
That being said, anecdotal reports suggest that RSO may help with chronic pain, insomnia, arthritis, and nausea, among other conditions.
Rick Simpson Oil for Cancer
Although peer-reviewed evidence is limited, RSO has been used to alleviate cancer symptoms and mitigate side effects of chemotherapy.
Some studies have shown that the combination of cannabidiol (CBD) and THC can slow or halt the growth of cancer cells. As RSO contains both CBD and THC, there are anecdotal reports suggesting its potential for combating the spread of cancer. However, further research is needed to fully understand the effects of RSO on cancer symptoms.
Rick Simpson Oil for Chronic Pain
Chronic pain is a common medical condition worldwide. When THC binds to CB1 receptors in the endocannabinoid system, it can alter the perception of pain and provide relief. RSO, with its high levels of THC, along with other compounds like terpenes, may help reduce pain and inflammation.
How to Use RSO
RSO can be used topically or consumed orally. It is important to note that while Rick Simpson used RSO topically to treat his skin cancer, this method has not been officially confirmed as a cure by medical professionals.
When using RSO topically, apply a small dab to the affected area and cover it with a bandage for maximum absorption. Reapply every other day.
For oral consumption, Rick Simpson recommends gradually building up tolerance and starting with small doses about the size of half a grain of rice. Over 12 weeks, the dosage can be increased to the full treatment amount. It is important to follow a treatment plan and consult with a medical professional when using RSO orally.
Smoking or Dabbing RSO
While it is possible to smoke or dab RSO, caution is advised. Adding it directly to a smoking device can cause issues. It is recommended to add RSO to a joint or bowl, ensuring it is evenly distributed.
When dabbing RSO, only use third-party tested cannabis extract oil to guarantee safety and quality. This testing process is typically done by accredited laboratories.
Risks of RSO Use
The risks associated with RSO use are similar to those of any highly concentrated cannabis product. Taking too much RSO at once can result in an unpleasant high, accompanied by symptoms such as nausea, paranoia, and an increased heart rate.
Additionally, homemade RSO production using solvents like isopropyl alcohol or ethanol can be dangerous if not done properly. Residues and chemical irritants from the extraction process may remain, posing potential health risks. It is recommended to purchase RSO from a reputable dispensary to ensure quality and safety.
1. Is there scientific evidence supporting the benefits of RSO?
While there is limited scientific evidence on the benefits of RSO, many anecdotal reports suggest its potential therapeutic applications. However, more research is needed to provide conclusive evidence.
2. Can RSO be used to treat cancer?
RSO has been used by some individuals to alleviate cancer symptoms and mitigate side effects of chemotherapy. However, its effectiveness as a cancer treatment requires further study.
3. How should RSO be used?
RSO can be used topically or consumed orally. When using it topically, apply a small amount to the affected area and cover it with a bandage. For oral consumption, it is recommended to consult with a medical professional and follow a treatment plan.
4. What are the risks of using RSO?
Using RSO can result in an unpleasant high if too much is consumed at once. Additionally, homemade production of RSO can be dangerous if proper precautions are not taken. It is safest to purchase RSO from a reputable dispensary.