What is Rick Simpson Oil and How to Make it

iStock / Charles Wollertz

There are so many different kinds of hemp and cannabis oils on the market today that it’s no wonder people get them mixed up from time to time. The trouble is that using one the wrong way and not thoroughly understanding what it is, can ultimately lead to a failed treatment, and that is why we are here to explain all about Rick Simpson Oil (RSO), including where it came from, what it is, and what it can do for you.

Who is Rick Simpson?

Rick Simpson is a well-known, longtime medical marijuana advocate, and he created RSO in an attempt to garner relief from his cancer. Rick was diagnosed in 2002 with metastatic skin cancer. After having no success with doctor-recommended treatment, Simpson decided to create and try a THC oil.

It turns out that his inspiration came from a radio show he had listened to, almost 30yrs beforehand, that spoke of the possible benefits of ingesting oil that was high in THC content. His accounts of his treatments claim that in four days, the cancer was completely gone. He also says it has been in remission ever since with no further need for treatment.

What is RSO extract?

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Rick Simpson’s oil is a concentrated THC oil made with Indica and Indica dominant hybrid strains. It is commonly referred to as a full-spectrum extract that contains high levels of both THC and CBD to maximize the potential medical benefits. Rick Simpson’s oil is made by extracting the cannabinoids with alcohol, which results in a more concentrated, potent oil.

RSO is not meant to be smoked. It is recommended to either ingest the oil or to use it topically because smoking can irritate the lungs and does not deliver the cannabinoids in the same fashion. Though the original RSO made by Mr. Simpson did have a high THC content, it’s not the only one out there, as over the years patients from all over the world have taken his recipes and adjusted them according to their personal preference to deliver a potent dose of their cannabinoid of choice.

What is RSO CBD?

CBD RSO is pretty much the same thing as any other RSO with one essential difference, and it is that the content of the RSO is extracted from cannabis or hemp plant materials that are high in CBD and low in THC.

Is CBD oil the same as Rick Simpson Oil?

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There are more than a few different types of CBD oil, but no Rick Simpson Oil is not the same thing as the cooking or oral liquids that you will often find in store. It is thicker, purer, healthier, and more condensed than any kind of CBD oil on the market today.

Does Rick Simpson oil really cure cancer?

Rick fashioned his treatment after reading a study that took place in 1975, where mice with lung cancer greatly benefited from cannabinoids. That research sparked the curiosity and drive for more studies including one on mice that found cannabinoids were beneficial in strengthening the immune system while undergoing cancer treatment, and another that seemed to imply that THC specifically actually increased and hastened the growth of some types of cancer cells.

As time passed, scientists acquired permission to conduct clinical trials on humans, and while the results show that in most cases, it can be beneficial and safe to use as a treatment, that isn’t true for all cancers. They also seemed to prove that some could be detrimental to certain types of cancers, which makes the whole thing a bit of a guessing game at this point.

So while we can say with certainty that cannabinoids could be beneficial to the majority of cancer patients for a variety of reasons, there is absolutely no proof that RSO extract could cure any sort of cancer, and the few studies that have shown improvements are on animals which makes them difficult to predict and or use on humans.

Does RSO help with pain?

Since RSO extract is filled with the most powerful cannabis cannabinoids, it can most definitely help to ease pain through either instant relief (THC) or a long-term reduction in swelling and circulatory issues (CBD).

Benefits of RSO

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It is important to note that in the medical community, the effectiveness of RSO is still highly debated. With so little research behind it, very few doctors and scientists are willing to hop on board just yet. Some of the many benefits that consumers currently use RSO to get include:

  1. Sleep-inducing - The cannabinoids in RSO can reduce your heart rate and help the body to relax. The effects are not considered as intense as over the counter sleep aids that are hard to shake off in the morning.

  2. Anxiety relief - Rick Simpson's oil contains concentrated amounts of THC. THC will trigger the release of pleasure hormones, which helps to reduce stress and gives an overall feeling of calm.

  3. Relieving pain- The cannabinoids in RSO offers anti-inflammatory benefits, which can help with pain.

  4. Cancer prevention - One of RSO's most popular benefits is cancer prevention. Many of the cannabinoids, like THC and CBD in RSO, can assist in reducing cancer cells and their ability to spread.

  5. Increased appetite - One of the most commonly known facts about THC is that it boosts the user's desire for food. Because the THC content is so concentrated in RSO, it can help with lack of appetite. Therefore, RSO is highly recommended for cancer and chemo patients.


How to use RSO extract

To find the appropriate dosage, we recommend starting with three “doses” (drops or grain-sized pieces) every 8 hours every single day. A single dose is described as no larger than a grain of rice. It is not recommended to smoke this oil if it’s being used for medical purposes. Instead, Rick suggests eating it, rubbing it into the lower gum line, or under the tongue. Allowing it plenty of time to dissolve fully before eating or drinking fully.

How to make RSO

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Making RSO extract is a process, but it’s relatively easy to do as long as you know what to do. To help, here are some easy to follow step by step instructions for how to make RSO at home.

You will need:

  • 2 plastic buckets
  • 1 oz of dried herb
  • 99% isopropyl alcohol
  • Grinder
  • Stick (or another mixing utensil)
  • Rice cooker
  • Strainer
  • Oven gloves
  • Thermometer
  • Stainless steel container
  • Coffee maker
  • Syringe


  1. For every 3 or 4 grams of RSO, you will need 1 ounce of dry cannabis, so make sure to chop up that much or more in preparation for extracting the cannabinoids. If you want to make larger amounts, then it might be important to note that every ½ pound of cannabis should make around 1 ounce of high-quality RSO extract.

  2. Dump the cannabis grinds into a plastic bucket, and then cover it with the solvent. The amount you need will entirely depend on how much green you’re using, and it is important to ensure that every piece is fully saturated in alcohol. Usually, it will take approximately 2 gallons of solvent for every 1 pound of cannabis. If you do not have enough alcohol on hand, then you can also use Naphtha, butane, or ether.

  3. Now use the mixing stick to crush down the cannabis grinds and mix everything together. Due to the strength of the chemicals used here, it is most recommended to use an unfinished wooden spoon or a metal utensil. Continue to break up the mix mash of weed and solvent until it looks like it’s evenly combined.

  4. Once you are certain that every bit has soaked up the solvent, you will need to continue mixing for approximately 10 minutes. This time is necessary because the soaking and consistent agitation are what extracts the cannabinoids from the cannabis.

  5. Pour the solvent mixture out of the bucket and into the second one through a mesh metal strainer. The cannabis that’s strained from the liquid, at this point, will still hold around 20% of its cannabinoids, which is why so many people choose to do a second wash, but if you wish to be done and toss the materials, then make sure to skip the next step.

  6. Dump the rinsed cannabis back into the now-empty bucket and cover it once more in some fresh solvent to extract the remaining cannabinoids. Don’t forget to stir everything together for between 5-10 minutes, and then strain what’s left in with the first rinse of liquid.

  7. Toss out the wet cannabis materials, as they no longer contain anything worthwhile.

  8. Now that you have a potent and condensed cannabinoid mixture, it is time to remove the solvent. To do this, you may need to divide what you have into portions that are small enough to fit into a rice cooker.

  9. Once the rice cooker is approximately ¾ of the way full, turn the heat all the way up to the highest setting. At this time, you will want to be careful to maintain proper ventilation by opening whatever doors or window accessible and running fans in the room with the rice cooker.

  10. Gently stir the mixture every 10 minutes or so and add more liquid as the solvent slowly cooks out of the cooker.

  11. Eventually, most of the solvent will be gone, and this is when it is important to keep a close eye on things, reduce the temperature to low for 3 hours. While it cooks, add a few drops of water and stir it frequently to avoid scalding. Take heat measurements throughout this important step, and make sure that the RSO does not exceed 140°C by adding water.

  12. If you used the recommended about of cannabis laid out above, then once the liquid measures approximately one inch deep in the cooker, it is time to get out some oven gloves and pull out the ceramic insert. Use your hands to make circular motions with the insert until the remaining liquid cooks off.

  13. Pour the RSO into a stainless-steel container and place it onto a coffee maker plate for anywhere from 1-3 hours. This will remove what remains of the solvent, leaving behind pure cannabis elements for your enjoyment. You will know when it’s done because the small bubbles will stop forming on the surface of the liquid once all the solvent is gone.

  14. Remove the RSO from the coffee maker and give it some time to cool down before storing it away in a syringe for easy use.

Where to buy RSO

Unfortunately, if you don’t live in a legal region it can be incredibly difficult to obtain really high-quality RSO and in those cases, it’s often best to just make your own, but anyone who lives in a cannabis-friendly area like Canada can find these services through a variety of avenues such as a friend who could make it, or a dispensary that is licensed to sell these kinds of products.

Marijuana and Cancer


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