More About Rick Simpson Oil
Who is Rick Simpson and Why Did He Create RSO?
In 2003, Canadian Rick Simpson was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma, a skin cancer. Soon after his cancer diagnosis, he read a study from the Journal of the National Cancer Institute that showed THC could kill cancer cells in mice. Simpson was already a fan of medical cannabis — he’d been using it to treat tinnitus and dizzy spells caused after falling and hitting his head several years earlier — so he decided to try to treat his skin cancer with cannabis oil.
According to Simpson’s account, he whipped up a homemade extract, applied it directly to the cancerous moles, and covered them with a bandage. Four days later, he removed the bandages and claimed the growths were gone.
Simpson then began growing and cultivating his own cannabis to perfect a custom oil blend, and, after health and government groups like the Canadian Cancer Society ignored his discovery, he set out to promote the medicinal effects of cannabis to others. He created a YouTube documentary , “ Run From the Cure, ” and wrote a book, “The Rick Simpson Story.”
Until 2009, when he was ordered to stop for legal reasons, he gave away his oil — dubbed Rick Simpson Oil, or RSO — for free. Since 2013, Simpson has lived in Europe, and, according to his website, he cannot legally enter the U.S. due to the criminal background he received from the Canadian government.
Controversy and Copycats
While one of the most well-known personalities within the medical cannabis community, Simpson has also drawn some controversy and skepticism in his career. He has drawn some ire from physicians and medical professionals for his lack of scientific research or clinical trials to back up his claims.
Simpson still has his share of defenders who have claimed to have successfully used his blend of oil to cure cancer .
On his website, Simpson states that he no longer produces or supplies his oil due to its illegality in many countries. He makes note to disassociate himself with any online vendors who claim to supply “Rick Simpson Oil.”
Simpson claims that the only way to ensure patients have his blend of oil is for patients to produce it themselves. Simpson’s site has instructions and an FAQ. In addition to solvent, which is highly flammable, the recipe for RSO includes a number of random household items, including small containers, coffee filters , an electric rice cooker, a large fan, a stainless steel measuring cup, as well as a coffee warmer or oven. The recipe available on his website demonstrates how to produce the full 60 grams of RSO oil for a 90-day treatment period.
However, in the US be aware it’s often illegal at the federal level and in most local jurisdictions, even if cannabis is legal in that state. In addition, making RSO can be dangerous — work areas need to be well-ventilated with no agents (sparks, open flames, etc.) that could ignite the solvent fumes.
Despite Simpson’s claims, if you have the option, you may want to search for where to buy RSO locally.
How to Use RSO
Simpson has dosage instructions on his site, but keep in mind they have not been vetted by medical researchers. Dosages vary from person to person depending on many factors, including the potency of the RSO.
The creator suggests that people start by taking a dose that is half the size of short-grain dry rice three times daily. He then recommends doubling the dosage after every four days for five weeks, slowly building up a tolerance to muddle the effects of the THC. For the remainder of the 12-week treatment period, keep the dosage at a full gram. Simpson also notes that the effects of the oil may not be felt until an hour after ingestion.
RSO is typically not smoked. It is applied in the following ways:
- As a topical rubbed onto the surface of the skin
- As a sublingual with drops under the tongue; this has the fastest absorption rate
- As a capsule taken orally; this has the slowest-acting effects, but the effects would last longer
The Difference Between RSO and CBD Oil
CBD oil derived from industrial hemp plants only contain CBD , while Rick Simpson Oil has a high concentration of THC — at least 20% — and the full range of cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant . It’s also important to distinguish RSO from other products labeled as hemp oil and hempseed oil, as these products often don’t contain any CBD or THC.
In 2011, physician and researcher Dr. Ethan Russo found that the medicinal effects of CBD increase when they’re combined with other cannabinoids. This phenomenon is commonly referred to as the entourage effect, which describes the enhanced effect of diffuse cannabis compounds when combined. Simpson claims that his oils produced 2%-6% CBD, but emphasizes that THC content needs to be high in order to treat cancer.
Although it is popularly believed that CBD oil is only for epileptic patients and RSO oil is only for cancer patients, early research, including information reported by the U.S. National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society , has indicated that CBD possesses cancer-inhibiting properties in some types of tumors. Research is still preliminary, because of the prohibition of cannabis in many countries, so the full effectiveness and side effects of cannabinoids to treat cancer are not well established yet.
That said, keep in mind that RSO is highly intoxicating because of the THC content. In other words, it’ll get you high while CBD won’t.
Rick Simpson Oil Benefits
There remains a need for more research to support the purported effectiveness of RSO and other cannabinoid-based concoctions for cancer treatment – let alone other medical conditions. But there are already indicators that cannabis could be a powerful tool in combating cancer and the detrimental side effects of its treatment. In a 2014 study that examined the effects of THC and CBD extracts alongside radiation therapy in lab mice induced with brain cancer, researchers found that cannabis increased the effectiveness of radiation treatment.
A 2014 study on mice examined the effects of THC and CBD extracts alongside radiation therapy. The cannabis extracts appeared to increase the effectiveness of radiation against an aggressive type of brain cancer. According to the study’s authors, these results suggest that THC and CBD may help to prepare cancer cells to respond better to radiation therapy.
A 2013 case report on a 14-year-old girl with an aggressive form of leukemia examined the effectiveness of various cannabinoid resin extracts, one of which was prepared with the help of Simpson and his organization, Phoenix Tears. While various concentrations of THC and CBD appeared to be effective in treating her cancer, the patient died from an unrelated gastrointestinal condition after two months of treatment, ultimately making the long-term effectiveness of cannabis for cancer treatment inconclusive.
The antitumor properties of cannabinoids in cell lines and in animal models induced with cancer have been well-documented in peer-reviewed research over the years , but more research is needed to prove the efficacy and safety for clinical trials involving human patients.
As for research on the joint effects of THC and CBD, existing evidence also demonstrates how the combination of THC and CBD creates a synergy that leads to several therapeutic benefits. For instance, research has shown that CBD acts as an antipsychotic agent , reducing the adverse side effects of THC when taken together.
Is RSO Considered a Full Spectrum Cannabis Oil?
Full Spectrum Cannabis Oil (FSCO), sometimes referred to as Full Extract Cannabis Oil (FECO), is a term used for cannabis oil products that capture the full range of bioactive compounds created within the plant’s glandular trichomes without altering their composition in the process.
This includes flavonoids, phenols, fatty acids, and, most importantly, a variety of terpenes and cannabinoids in their natural acid form.
While the RSO extraction process is capable of extracting the full range of compounds, the process of removing the solvent from the solution requires heat. Heat changes the cannabinoids from their acid form into their neutral, or activated, form in a process called decarboxylation (i.e. THCA decarboxylates into THC and CBDA into CBD). The heat also volatilizes most of the terpenes that were initially extracted, leaving an oil that may not have all the bioactive compounds that were available in the plant’s trichome glands.
DISCLAIMER: Production of cannabis oils such as Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) is illegal in many jurisdictions. Additionally, producing the oil also involves volatile compounds that are dangerous to work with in the hands of inexperienced technicians with improper equipment and ill-equipped facilities. The methods described may prove dangerous or illegal. Any action you take upon the information provided here is strictly at your own risk.
An unrefined, potent cannabis oil extracted using ethanol and named after the man who created it and first benefited from it. Canadian engineer Rick Simpson claims he cured his own skin cancer with a custom blend of cannabis oil, which has come to be known as Rick Simpson Oil (RSO), or Phoenix Tears (the name of Rick’s website).
Guide to Dabbing
If you’re a denizen of the cannabis community, you’re likely acquainted with the dabbing phenomenon. For the uninitiated, dabbing is often perplexing and daunting. With an array of foreign tools required, dabbing can leave even the most seasoned patients scratching their heads. With this article, we hope to provide the cannabasics to help you gain clarity and comfort with the dabbing process.
What is dabbing?
Dabbing is a method of ingesting cannabis concentrates using flash vaporization. The concentrates used to dab are often higher in potency than cannabis flowers. Dabbing can provide swift and powerful relief from nausea, stress, appetite loss, pain, insomnia, and numerous other conditions. It is especially helpful for patients with a high tolerance or severe symptoms.
Dabbing relies on conductive heating and when done right, this process can provide the health benefits of vaporization. However, due to the inability to precisely monitor the temperature the nail is heated to, dabbing can result in some combustion. To avoid combustion and preserve those tasty terpenes, familiarize yourself with the appropriate cool down time for your dab nail (titanium, quartz, etc.). Many terpenes vaporize at lower temperatures than cannabinoids. In general the ideal temperature to vaporize both without combustion is approximately 356 to 392°F.
Aside from conductive heating, vaporizers such as the Volcano use convective heating. With convective heating, an electronic mechanism monitors the ideal temperature to vaporize the material without burning and charring, a telltale sign of combustion.
What’s an E-nail?
Electronic nails or “E-nails” use a small electric heating element connected to a coil that wraps around a dab nail heating it to a specific temperature and keeping it there. These setups usually have a digital screen allowing you to zero in on a precise temperature and avoid overheating, which can be difficult to avoid with the standard torch method. E-nails remove the need for using these torches or buying butane providing a safer and more refined dabbing experience.
Some companies also offer quartz or even sapphire “dishes” that rest above the nail itself. When an extract is placed on the dish and covered by a “carb cap”, it simulates a convective heating process using the hot air above the nail to begin vaporizing the concentrate, rather than placing the concentrate directly on the nail itself.
Though E-nails require wall power and aren’t very practical on-the-go, several companies have been experimenting with all-in-one portable dab systems that use battery power to heat a nail. Many of these system also include a small glass water pipe attachment to simulate that cooling process of an at-home dab experience.
These portable systems are not to be confused with smaller lower powered vape pens and cartridges. Vape pens/carts can usually only vaporize thinner CO2 extracts in small amounts. Dabbing systems are much higher powered and can handle even the thickest concentrates. No disposable cartridge is involved in dabbing systems and the concentrate must be hand placed or “dabbed” onto the dab nail.
Which concentrates are safe to dab?
Cannabis concentrates, also called cannabis extracts, come in a variety of forms and potencies. Determining which concentrates are safe to dab can be tricky due to the various names used for dabbing extracts. The most common dabbing concentrates are CO2 extracted oil, clear concentrates, or solvent-less extracts such as rosin. Bubble hash that has been very finely filtered, often called Ice Wax, is another safe possibility. Other dabbable concentrates include wax, shatter, honeycomb, BHO, and crumbles, but these are often made with dangerous solvents which are difficult to purge and often leave residue.
It’s important to note, not all oils are safe for dabbing. Do not dab alcohol-based extracts, such as RSO, ISO wax, or tinctures. These extracts are to be ingested orally, not smoked or dabbed. If you’re unsure if a particular concentrate is okay to dab, always ask your budtender.
What you will need:
- Cannabis concentrate: as described above.
- Water pipe: Most water pipes can easily be made into a dab rig by replacing the glass bowl with a dab nail.
- Nail: Find a nail that fits your water pipe. Nails may be ceramic, quartz, or titanium (most common). Some dab rigs also require a dome . This is a glass hood that’s placed over the nail to collect the vapor before it’s inhaled. “Dome-less” nails don’t require a glass dome.
- Dabber: A small ceramic, glass, metal, or silicone spatula-like tool, used to apply a dab to the heated nail.
- Torch: Mini-torches such as those used for crème brûlée are adequate. Many upgrade to a larger propane-fueled torch for faster heating. New flame-less methods of dabbing, such as electronic nails, are gaining popularity, but the original torch method is most cost efficient.
How to dab:
- Prepare your dab. Scoop a small amount of concentrate onto your dabber tool. Remember, concentrates are more potent than flowers! Start small, we recommend a half grain of rice or less.
- Turn on the torch lighter, aim the flame at the nail on your water pipe. Different types of nails and torches will vary in heating time, be patient.
- Once the nail begins to turn red-hot, turn off the torch. If using a dome, place it over the nail. It’s recommended to allow titanium nails to cool for 10 seconds, quartz nails for 45 seconds to avoid combusting any of the material.
- Grab your dabber tool and apply the concentrate directly to the nail, inhaling slowly. Rotate the dabber tool around the nail to heat any oil stuck to the dabber.
*Caution: The nail (and dome) become extremely hot and should be handled with great caution. Always be sure to wait for all pieces to cool before touching.
How much should I use?
While flowers typically test from 10 to 25% THC, concentrates are often in the neighborhood of 50 to 80% THC. This enhanced potency means that only a small amount of concentrate is needed to produce a strong effect. For this reason, it’s always recommended to start with a small dose and increase as your comfort and tolerance allow. A reasonable starting dose is the size of a crumb, or roughly half a grain of rice.
If you’re a denizen of the cannabis community, you’re likely acquainted with the dabbing phenomenon. For the uninitiated, dabbing is often perplexing and…