What Is Rick Simpson Oil (RSO)?
Rick Simpson oil (RSO) is a type of high-strength cannabis extract made famous by its creator, who has long advocated for the oil's therapeutic potential. Keep reading to learn more about Rick Simpson and RSO, and follow our simple instructions to make RSO at home with or without a POT herb cooker by NOIDS.
What is Rick Simpson oil exactly?
Rick Simpson oil is a type of cannabis extract containing high levels of THC—the main psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis. RSO is made using high-proof alcohol to separate the trichomes (resin glands) from cannabis flowers; the mixture is then gently heated until the alcohol solvent has dissolved and a dark, sticky, and viscous oil is left behind.
What is Rick Simpson oil used for?
Rick Simpson oil is most commonly used for therapeutic purposes. Rick Simpson himself has made many claims about the oil's efficacy in treating a wide variety of ailments and their symptoms.
Containing only cannabis (which Simpson touts as harmless when compared to even the most basic pharmaceuticals) and alcohol, Simpson and many other users of RSO swear by the oil as a natural, highly effective medicine. Rick Simpson oil can be taken orally by applying a grain-of-rice-sized drop under the tongue or to the gums, though Simpson also claims to have used the oil topically.
Some of the conditions/ailments that Rick Simpson and other medical cannabis patients claim to use RSO for include:
• Cancer cells: Rick Simpson himself developed and used the oil to treat cancer, specifically basal cell carcinoma (a type of skin cancer).¹
• Leukaemia: A 2013 study describes the case of a 14-year-old girl who used RSO to battle acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.²
• Arthritis and pain: Rick Simpson has claimed to use his cannabis oil to treat pain and arthritis resulting from a work injury.¹
• Multiple sclerosis: Followers of Rick Simpson attest to using RSO to alleviate MS symptoms.³
• Spasms and convulsions: Other followers of Rick Simpson describe seeing positive results in treating muscle spasms and convulsions with RSO.
The story of Rick Simpson
Rick Simpson first started using cannabis in 1997 following a workplace accident that left him with tinnitus and dizzy spells. After experiencing no relief from his prescribed medication, he began investigating medical marijuana after hearing about its benefits in a documentary. His renowned cannabis oil recipe, however, came about after Simpson was diagnosed with skin cancer in 2003. He used the oil topically, applying it directly to his skin tumours and bandaging the area. According to Simpson, the tumours disappeared after just four days of treatment with his oil.
Following this experience, Simpson began openly advocating for the healing properties of cannabis and his oil recipe. He has published a wide variety of material on his website Phoenix Tears (including tutorials on how to make and use RSO) and released an autobiography through the Simpson RamaDur publishing company.
How to make Rick Simpson oil
One of the reasons so many people use Rick Simpson oil is because it is simple and safe to make at home. Other cannabis concentrates that utilise solvents like butane or propane can be extremely dangerous to make at home, given the volatile nature of the solvents.
Below, we offer two recipes for making RSO—one with the POT herb cooker, and one without.
Using the POT herb cooker
With POT by NOIDS, making Rick Simpson oil at home is a walk in the park. You only need to gather a few things and follow a few simple steps to be left with a top-quality product.
• POT herb cooker
• Cannabis flower or trim
• 190-proof ethanol
• Collection glass (to collect the leftover ethanol)
1. Grind your flower to a medium consistency.
2. Place the ground flower in the POT beaker and cover tightly. Place the beaker in the POT chamber and select the appropriate decarb function to match the cannabinoid profile of your strain (high-CBD or non-CBD).
3. Let the POT do the rest. Our herb cooker automatically calculates decarb time based on the volume of flower in the beaker. In most cases, decarbing weed in the POT takes 2–3 hours.
4. Add 190-proof grain-based ethanol to the decarbed flower. Use enough alcohol to fully cover the ground bud.
5. Let the decarbed cannabis infuse into the alcohol for at least 3–5 hours at room temperature, stirring occasionally.
6. Filter out the plant material using the POT's pipette.
7. Add the infused alcohol back into the POT beaker. Attach the condenser to the top of the beaker, and use the evaporation function to cook off the alcohol.
8. Keep a glass underneath the other end of the condenser to catch the evaporated ethanol. The POT can recover up to 95% of the ethanol used in extractions, which you can then reuse in the future.
9. Wait for the POT to finish cooking, and collect your homemade RSO from the bottom of the beaker!
How to make RSO without a POT herb cooker
If you haven't got your hands on a POT yet, don't fret. Making Rick Simpson oil at home is still totally possible (and fairly simple) with regular household equipment.
• Cannabis flower or trim
• Baking tray
• Ceramic or glass container
• 190-proof ethanol
• Dutch oven/saucepan
• Electric stove (NOT gas)
1. Grind your weed, spread it out evenly on a baking tray, and bake at 115°C for 30–45 minutes. You'll know your weed is ready when it's nice and fragrant. Stir once for even decarbing and to prevent burning your weed.
2. Place the decarbed weed in a ceramic or glass container, cover with 190-proof grain alcohol, and let the mixture infuse for 3–5 hours at room temperature. Stir once or twice.
3. Strain and discard the plant material from the liquid.
4. Place the liquid in a high-quality Dutch oven or saucepan, and heat on medium heat (on an electric stove ONLY) until you see vapour rising from the pan.
5. Reduce the heat to a minimum and cook for several hours until all the liquid has evaporated and you're left with a sticky, black, tar-like extract.
CAUTION: Never cook Rick Simpson oil over an open flame.
How to use Rick Simpson oil
Rick Simpson oil is most commonly taken orally, but it can also be applied topically directly to the skin. While it is technically possible to smoke or vaporize RSO, we do not recommend doing so as the process is super messy given the extract's viscous texture.
What are the risks of RSO?
Rick Simpson's original oil recipe uses ether, naphtha, and 99% isopropyl alcohol (industrial ethanol) as a solvent—none of which are fit for human consumption. While the creator states that "solvent residue in the finished oil should be of no concern" to anyone who follows his recipes properly, we only ever recommend making RSO with 190-proof grain alcohol, such as Everclear. This extract is also sometimes known as FECO. Check out our article comparing RSO and FECO here.
Rick Simpson oil: Is it worth making?
Rick Simpson is an icon of the cannabis world, and for very good reason: his story and recipe have changed the lives of countless people across the globe. While we're not doctors and therefore cannot assess the medical efficacy of Rick Simpson oil, feel free to use the recipes outlined here to make high-quality RSO at home with ease.
With the POT herb cooker by NOIDS, gone are the days of standing by the stove to ensure your extracts don't burn. Learn more about our dedicated cannabis herb cooker here.
1. Simpson, R. Super Oils. Phoenix Tears. Published 2014. Accessed December 6, 2022
2. Sing, Y. & Bal, C. Cannabis Extract Treatment for Terminal Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia with a Philadelphia Chromosome Mutation. Case Reports In Oncology. 2013 Sep-Dec; 6(3): 585–592.
3. Phoenix tears. Testimonials. Published 2014. Accessed December 6, 2022.