What is Rick Simpson Oil (RSO)? And why do people think it can help cancer patients in their treatment and recovery? Learn about cancer and RSO in this guide.

Rick Simpson Oil (RSO)

You may have heard of Rick Simpson Oil, commonly known as RSO, a concentrated form of cannabis oil that has gained attention in recent years as an alternative treatment option for cancer patients. Named after its creator, a Canadian engineer named Rick Simpson, RSO has been the subject of many claims and anecdotes about its therapeutic properties.

But what is RSO really? How is it made? And what does the scientific community have to say about taking RSO for cancer? In this blog, we'll consider what Rick Simpson Oil is, who uses it, and how it's used. We'll 

What is Rick Simpson Oil (RSO)?

Rick Simpson Oil, or RSO, is a concentrated form of cannabis oil that was popularized by Rick Simpson, a Canadian engineer who claimed to have treated his own skin cancer with homemade cannabis oil after reading a study that reported slowed tumor growth in mice treated with THC

Unlike other cannabis oils, RSO is characterized by its high tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content, the psychoactive compound typically associated with the "high" you get from cannabis. Simpson's process involves extracting the oil from whole cannabis plants, leading to a thick, viscous oil that he proposed could hold potent therapeutic properties.

SunMed’s Rick Simpson Oil (RSO)

Why is Rick Simpson Oil Popular?

Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) has become well known for its potential in addressing a variety of health conditions. People have turned to RSO in hopes of finding relief from chronic pain, inflammatory conditions like arthritis, skin conditions, and even insomnia. The high THC content in RSO is believed by many to offer significant pain relief and anti-inflammatory effects, making it a sought-after alternative for those looking to manage symptoms. 

Additionally, many users claim that RSO helps combat stress and anxiety, although individual experiences can vary. It's important to note, however, that while anecdotal evidence abounds, clinical research on RSO's efficacy for these conditions remains limited.

How is Rick Simpson Oil made?

Producing Rick Simpson Oil involves a process that extracts the active compounds from the cannabis plant, focusing heavily on retaining a high concentration of THC. 

The process begins by soaking the cannabis buds in a solvent, often isopropyl alcohol or ethanol, which breaks down the plant material and allows the compounds to be drawn out. After soaking, the plant material is strained, leaving behind the solvent infused with the cannabis compounds. This mixture is then heated in a controlled manner, allowing the solvent to evaporate and leaving behind the thick, concentrated cannabis oil known as RSO.

It's crucial that the solvent is completely evaporated to ensure the end product is pure and safe for consumption. Once prepared, the oil is stored in syringes or small containers, making it easier for users to administer in consistent doses.

 SunMed lab worker preparing cannabis concentrates

Does RSO treat cancer?

One of the most pressing questions surrounding Rick Simpson Oil is about its potential as a cancer treatment. To set the record straight: there is no conclusive evidence that RSO can cure or directly treat cancer. Most claims related to RSO's efficacy against cancer are anecdotal and lack robust clinical trials to support them.

However, while RSO might not serve as a cure, many cancer patients have found benefits in using cannabis-derived products, including RSO, to alleviate symptoms associated with cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy. Some of these benefits include relief from nausea, pain management, increased appetite, and improved sleep quality.

The following sections will dive deeper into these potential benefits, providing a more comprehensive look at how RSO could support cancer patients.

What are the benefits of RSO?

Though claims that RSO can directly treat cancer remain unsubstantiated, there are several potential benefits that patients might experience when using this potent oil. These benefits primarily revolve around symptom management and improving quality of life during cancer treatments:

  1. Pain Management: One of the most challenging aspects of cancer and its treatments is the associated pain. The high THC content in RSO has been known to provide relief from chronic pain, acting as a natural analgesic. This might be particularly beneficial for patients looking for alternatives to opioids or other pain medications.

  2. Nausea and Vomiting Relief: Chemotherapy and other cancer treatments often lead to severe nausea and vomiting. Many cancer patients have found that cannabis products, including RSO, can significantly reduce these side effects, making the treatment process more bearable.

  3. Appetite Stimulation: Loss of appetite is a common side effect of cancer treatments. RSO may help stimulate appetite, allowing patients to maintain their strength and nutritional health during rigorous treatments.

  4. Improved Sleep: A restful night's sleep can be a challenge for cancer patients due to pain, anxiety, or the side effects of medications. RSO's relaxing properties can help induce sleep, ensuring patients get the rest they need for recovery.

  5. Reduced Anxiety: Beyond the physical symptoms, a cancer diagnosis can bring about significant emotional and mental stress. Many users have reported a calming effect after using RSO, which can be beneficial in managing anxiety and depression.

It's crucial for patients to consult with their healthcare providers before incorporating RSO or any other alternative treatments into their regimen. It's also essential to understand that while RSO might offer symptom relief, it should not replace conventional cancer treatments.

What are the risks of RSO for patients?

Even when used properly for symptom management, Rick Simpson Oil comes with its own set of risks and considerations. Here are some of the potential risks associated with its use:

  1. Psychoactive Effects: Due to its high THC content, RSO can produce strong psychoactive effects. Users might experience altered perception, mood changes, dizziness, or even feelings of paranoia. It's crucial for first-time users to start with small doses and gradually increase as they gauge their tolerance.

  2. Drug Interactions: RSO can potentially interact with other medications. It’s essential to consult with a doctor before use, because these interactions might decrease the efficacy of other drugs or cause unexpected side effects.

  3. Impaired Cognitive and Motor Skills: The psychoactive properties of THC can impair cognitive and motor skills, making tasks like driving or operating heavy machinery dangerous after RSO consumption.

  4. Dependency: While cannabis and its derivatives are less addictive than substances like opioids, there's still a potential for dependency or increased tolerance with frequent use.

  5. Potential Side Effects: Apart from the psychoactive effects, users might experience dry mouth, dry eyes, increased heart rate, or a drop in blood pressure.

For cancer patients, it's paramount to approach RSO with caution. Regular consultation with healthcare professionals and continuous monitoring of any changes in their condition is essential. It's always best to be informed and aware when introducing any new treatment or substance into one's regimen.

How do I use Rick Simpson Oil?

Rick Simpson Oil can easily be purchased at a dispensary in states like Maryland where adult use is legalized. It's available from a number of growers and cannabis labs, including SunMed. There is a strict regiment for Rick Simpson Oil recommended by some advocates online:

  1. Total Consumption Goal: Ingest 60 grams of RSO over 90 days.
  2. Initial Week Dosage:
    1. Take three doses daily: morning, afternoon, and night.
    2. Start with a dose the size of half a grain of rice.
  3. Dose Escalation: Double the dose every four days after the first week.
  4. Reaching Full Dose: It takes about 3-5 weeks to reach a full gram of RSO per day.
  5. Continuation: Maintain a full gram daily until the entire 60 grams are consumed. 

Additionally, here's a simpler guideline for trying out RSO:

  1. Start Small: Due to its high potency, start with a tiny dose, about the size of half a grain of rice. This allows you to gauge your body's reaction to the oil and assess any potential side effects.

    1. Oral Consumption: RSO can be ingested directly. Some users prefer placing their dose on a small piece of bread or mixing it with food to mask its strong taste. When taken orally, it may take longer for effects to manifest but they tend to last longer.

    2. Sublingual Application: Placing RSO under the tongue allows for quicker absorption into the bloodstream. Holding it sublingually for a few minutes before swallowing can lead to faster onset of effects.

    3. Topical Application: For localized pain or skin conditions, RSO can be applied directly to the skin. However, this method might not produce the psychoactive effects associated with THC.

    4. Capsules: Some users prefer encapsulating RSO for consistent dosing and to avoid the taste of the oil.

  2. Gradual Increase: If the initial dose is well-tolerated, you can gradually increase the amount every few days until you find a dose that provides symptom relief without causing undesirable side effects.

  3. Consistent Timing: For continuous symptom management, it's recommended to take RSO at consistent times each day. This helps maintain a steady level of cannabinoids in the system.

If you're a patient, always remember to consult with their healthcare providers before starting RSO. They can provide guidance on dosing, potential drug interactions, and monitor any changes in the patient's condition. Individual reactions to RSO can vary, and what works for one person might differ for another.

 SunMed lab equipment

What are the side effects of Rick Simpson Oil?

Common side effects of cannabis include psychoactive effects such as altered perception, euphoria, and dizziness. Some individuals might also experience feelings of paranoia or heightened anxiety.

Physical side effects can include dry mouth, red eyes, increased heart rate, and fluctuations in blood pressure. Moreover, with regular use, there's potential for developing a tolerance, meaning increasing amounts may be required to achieve the same effects over time. As always, it's crucial to approach RSO with caution and consult a healthcare professional to understand how it might affect you personally.

Is RSO safe for everyone?

Rick Simpson Oil, like many natural remedies, has shown promise for a variety of symptoms and conditions. However, its universal safety and efficacy remain subjects of debate. Just as with any substance, RSO may not be suitable for everyone, and individual reactions can vary widely.

Can I use RSO if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

You should avoid cannabis products, including RSO, during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Studies have shown that THC can cross the placenta and enter the fetal bloodstream, potentially impacting fetal development. Similarly, THC can also be present in breast milk, potentially affecting a nursing infant.

While definitive research is limited, some studies have linked cannabis use during pregnancy to adverse outcomes such as low birth weight, premature birth, and developmental delays. As for breastfeeding, the long-term effects of THC exposure on an infant's development and cognition are still not fully understood.

Given the potential risks and the lack of comprehensive studies in this area, pregnant and breastfeeding women should abstain from using RSO. Always consult with a healthcare professional about any concerns or considerations during these critical life stages.

Can I use RSO if I’m taking other medications?

Interactions between medications can be complex, and introducing Rick Simpson Oil into the mix requires careful consideration. The compounds in cannabis, particularly THC, can interact with a variety of medications, either amplifying or diminishing their effects, or leading to unexpected side effects.

For instance, RSO might enhance the effects of drugs that slow down the central nervous system, like sedatives and certain pain relievers, potentially leading to excessive drowsiness or respiratory depression. On the other hand, it could interact with medications affecting liver enzymes, altering the way drugs are processed and potentially impacting their efficacy or safety.

Furthermore, for those on medications to manage conditions like heart disease, blood pressure, or diabetes, it's especially crucial to monitor for any changes in symptoms or drug effectiveness when incorporating RSO.

The bottom line is, if you're considering RSO and you’re on other medications, you should consult with a healthcare professional. They can provide insights into potential interactions and offer advice about how to safely introduce RSO, if appropriate.

Where can I buy Rick Simpson Oil?

Since 2018, SunMed Growers has been using state-of-the-art Dutch style greenhouses to grow cannabis enriched by the beneficial effects of healthy, natural sunlight. Today we offer some of the best and most reasonably priced cannabis products on the market. 

If you're curious about trying Rick Simpson Oil and want a trusted, high-quality product, you’ve come to the right place! Find our RSO at a dispensary near you to learn more about its potential benefits.