Cannabis has many potential health benefits. Studies show that it can help to alleviate pain, inflammation, anxiety, and depression. Some cancer patients use one of the many cannabis products on the market to help alleviate the side effects of their treatment. Other studies show that cannabis may be effective at inhibiting the growth of cancer cells and destroying them. One way that some people use cannabis to help fight cancer cell growth is Rick Simpson Oil. Here, we’ll answer the question, what is RSO Oil, how do you use it, and what are its potential benefits?
The Beginning of RSO
In 2003, a man by the name of Rick Simpson was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma skin cancer. Already a fan of cannabis (having used it to treat dizzy spells and ringing in his ears following an injury), he discovered a study that showed the plant’s compounds could kill cancer cells in mice. He created a potent homemade cannabis concentrate that he placed on the affected areas and covered them in bandages. After a few days, the cancer was gone. His homemade concentrate became known as Rick Simpson Oil (RSO).
The concentrate involves the use of a solvent to extract the beneficial compounds from the cannabis plant. The most common solvent is grain alcohol. After placing plant matter into the alcohol, the mixture gets stirred and crushed. When ready, the maker drains the alcohol and heats the mixture. The final product is a thick, syrupy, extremely potent concentrate.
How to Use RSO
The goal of using RSO is to gradually consume 60 grams over 90 days. Here is a recommended traditional dosing schedule:
- For the first week, take three doses per day every eight hours (approximately one-quarter of a drop)
- Double your doses every four days during weeks two through five
- Take one full gram daily for weeks six through twelve (until you’ve consumed 60 grams total)
You can continue to take one to two grams of RSO each month as maintenance. While the oil shouldn’t be seen as a cure-all, it may help to significantly reduce medical symptoms such as pain, inflammation, depression, asthma, insomnia, and cancer.
How to Take RSO
While RSO is a concentrate, it’s not typically smoked (although you can dab it if you choose). The most common ways to use RSO include:
- As a capsule
- Mixed in food
What the Research Says
There isn’t a lot of research showing the effectiveness of RSO just yet. Right now, much of the evidence is anecdotal. There is, however, some research showing the potential for cannabinoids to fight cancer. One case report in 2013 found that THC and CBD may be helpful in treating leukemia. The patient died two months later, however, so long-term effectiveness remains unknown. A study in 2014 using mice found that the two major cannabinoids may help to increase the effectiveness of radiation treatment for brain cancer. While the research is promising, more is needed.
Finding an RSO for You
Like other cannabis products, you’ll find RSO in different formulations. Some products have more THC, while others have more CBD. Others have a more balanced 1:1 ratio. Your goals will play a role in the specific product you select. If you’re unsure of where to start, don’t hesitate to ask a budtender for help.