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Everything You Need to Know About Rick Simpson Oil (RSO)

Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) is a highly-concentrated ingestible form of cannabis, usually containing 75% THC or higher. This form of concentrated oil is typically made with potent indica strains, leaving patients with more of a sedative full-body effect, rather than a cerebral experience.


RSO usually appears as a brownish, thick semi-solid substance. Usually, producers sell it pre-packaged in small plastic syringes.

RSO is a type of full spectrum extract. That means it’s a substance containing a high concentration of the active ingredients in cannabis with a significant portion of plant matter removed.

It takes its name from Canadian engineer and cannabis activist Rick Simpson. Simpson crafted the recipe for RSO himself after developing skin cancer in 2003. He came up with the idea after reading a study about how THC allegedly killed cancer cells in mice. 

That inspired him to create a THC-rich extract, and RSO was born. Simpson primarily used indica strains for his own RSO recipe. Some of his batches boasted THC levels reaching as high as 90 percent. With THC levels that large, you can rest easy knowing that yes, RSO does get you high.

Simpson claims that RSO helped cure his cancer. That’s led countless extractors to create their own forms of RSO based on Simpson’s original recipe.


What is RSO good for, anyway? As a full spectrum extract, RSO contains a broader array of cannabinoids, such as CBC, THCV, CBN, CBD & CBG than other types of extracts do. The terpene profiles in RSO are typically greater as well. This is due to its whole plant extraction. Thanks to a phenomenon called the Entourage Effect, higher concentrations of these compounds may be able to result in greater therapeutic effects.

The scientific community still hasn’t reached a consensus on whether RSO can actually cure cancer. While some data may support this theory, it’s too early to definitively say that RSO kills cancer cells. But that hasn’t stopped countless patients from using the extract to self-medicate.

The state of Maryland currently recognizes a variety of qualifying conditions for medical cannabis (and by extension, RSO). These conditions include:

  • Cachexia
  • Anorexia
  • Severe or chronic pain
  • Severe nausea
  • Seizures
  • Severe or persistent muscle spasms
  • Glaucoma
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Any other condition where traditional treatment has proven ineffective.


Its raw form opens the opportunity for a variety of uses, which include;

  • Infusing cooking oils to add to anything
  • Adding RSO to a baking recipe
  • Making your own topicals, tinctures and suppositories.

Patients can also simply dab a small amount on a cracker and enjoy. Dosing control with RSO is also very simple, given that commercially-produced oil often comes in an  easily-measurable syringe.

Wondering how to take RSO? That can be a difficult question to answer. Like all other edibles, we recommend starting low and going slow with RSO. Patients new to RSO and edibles should start with a drop on a cracker the size of a quarter grain of rice.

How long does it take for RSO to take effect? That depends on how you use it. If you consume RSO orally, it can take up to 3 hours to experience peak effects (although this can happen much faster). In contrast, some infused topicals take as little as 3 minutes to set in.


If you’re asking yourself “how much RSO should I take,” never fear. Below, we’ll outline a basic 12-week dosing regimen.

  • Week 1: 3 doses per day 8 hours apart. Each dose should be the size of half a grain of rice. 
  • Weeks 2-5: double your dosage every four days. Stop once you reach a gram of RSO every day.
  • Weeks 5-12: take one gram daily, split up into even doses 8 hours apart.

Keep in mind that this is just a basic dosage schedule. It may not work for your specific needs. If you are considering an RSO regimen, we recommend a consultation with a dispensary agent to determine which regimen is appropriate for your situation.


RSO is an extremely versatile extract. Traditionally, patients use it as a topical or an edible. However, there’s no reason you can’t smoke RSO. Some adventurous patients even wonder whether you can dab RSO. 

Before you try to smoke or vape RSO though, it’s important to know where it came from. Some RSO makers use flammable solvents during the extraction process. You want to avoid smoking or dabbing these extracts. If you’re not sure about a form of RSO’s extraction process, ask your budtender!


Don’t want to buy RSO from a dispensary? No problem! Making topicals with RSO couldn’t be easier. All you’ll need are a few simple ingredients and cooking tools.

  • 1/2 Cup Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Shea Butter
  • 1 Syringe of RSO
  • Double Boiler or Steamer
  • 1 Glass or Pyrex Bowl
  • Hand Mixer


  1. Bring water to a boil in the steamer, or double boiler
  2. While the water is heating up, add the coconut oil, shea butter, and RSO into the glass bowl (try to keep the RSO off of the walls of the bowl)
  3. Once the water in the steamer or boiler has come to a boil, place the glass bowl over the top
  4. As the contents begin to liquify, mix everything thoroughly, and evenly distribute the RSO (BE CAREFUL! the bowl can be hot)
  5. Once everything has mixed, use oven mitts or heat resistant gloves to pull the bowl from the boiler/steamer
  6. Place the bowl in the fridge on a hot pad and let it chill for an hour
  7. Take the bowl out of the refrigerator and use the hand mixer to whip the topical into an easily applicable consistency.



Think you might benefit from introducing RSO into your regimen? Stop by our dispensary to learn more about RSO from a budtender. 

Disclaimer: Please consult your healthcare provider before starting a new regimen. All information provided is recommended based on each individual situation, and results may vary from patient to patient.