What is Rick Simpson Oil?

Rick Simpson Oil

When you hear the name Rick Simpson Oil, you might be forgiven for thinking that sounds like a global oil tycoon. The type of company responsible for covering baby seals and seagulls with large amounts of black goo. But no, this black goo is for humans.       

In fact, Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) is a cannabis concentrate made by washing cannabis buds with a solvent, then boiling off the solvent, leaving behind the oil.       

Unlike a lot of other medical cannabis extracts, RSO is high in THC (also known by its longer and much harder to pronounce name, tetrahydrocannabinol), which is the main psychoactive chemical in marijuana. So it’s safe to say that RSO does carry a bit of a kick.     

RSO rose to fame due to its purported medical benefits, with claims that it can, amongst other things, be used to cure cancer. The story goes that the inventor of Rick Simpson Oil, a Canadian engineer and cannabis activist named (you guessed it) Rick Simpson, created RSO after developing basal cell skin cancers on his arm.     

A long-time fan of cannabis and its claimed medical benefits, Rick made the first batch of RSO and applied it to a bandage, which he then wrapped around his cancerous spots. Legend has it the cancer was gone in only 4 days.     


Can it Actually Cure Cancer?   

Everything above sounds great, right? Well, we’re afraid it is not that simple. So don’t go insulting your doctor and telling them to shove their chemotherapy anywhere just yet.     

There are some indicators that cannabis could be an essential tool in combating cancer and helping to reduce the side effects of cancer treatments. Still, as of yet, there is no clinical evidence that RSO can indeed cure cancer.       

Some successful studies have been done, but as with all significant groundbreaking medical studies, they tend to be focused not on humans but on mice. (Damn, those little guys get all the best cures, don’t they). Needless to say, more testing on humans will be needed before any concrete claims can be made.     


What is it Used For?   

While there is no clinical evidence of its efficacy in curing cancer, RSO may be useful as a supplementary cancer treatment, helping to control nausea and vomiting for people going through chemotherapy. There is also evidence that it can treat pain and help improve appetite (an effect commonly known as the “munchies”)     

Supporters of RSO claim it can also help with the treatment of;   

  • Arthritis   
  • Asthma   
  • Depression   
  • Drug addiction   
  • High blood pressure               
  • Infections   
  • Inflammation   
  • Insomnia   
  • Multiple sclerosis     

However, it must be stated once again; there is little direct evidence to support these claims.   


Is it Safe?   

The good news is that Rick Simpsons Oil is generally safe to use when used as instructed. As with everything, some potential side effects exist, and these generally arise from the high level of THC (a psychoactive substance, after all) included in Rick Simpson Oil.     

These include:   

  • Anxiety   
  • Disorientation   
  • Hallucination   
  • Irritability   
  • Paranoia   
  • Panic attack     

Physical side effects associated with THC include:     

  • Bloodshot eyes   
  • Dizziness   
  • Impaired memory   
  • Impaired motor functions (best avoid driving or stressful games of chess)   
  • Low blood pressure   
  • Slow digestion   
  • Trouble sleeping     



While it has great potential, there is no concrete evidence that RSO can cure any cancer not confined to your pet mouse. On the other hand, there is little risk of using RSO outside of some minor side effects, including making you sleepy while operating large machinery and keeping you awake while trying to sleep.