The Truth About Rick Simpson Oil

CBD advocates, medical marijuana supporters, recreational users – anybody who is using or is interested in cannabis, whether for medicinal or recreational purposes, has likely heard of Rick Simpson Oil.

Rick Simpson Oil–the oil that had the main claim of having “cured cancer.” The supposed elusive panacea…

But how much do you know about Rick Simpson Oil, really?

And, more importantly, where can you get this full-spectrum cannabis oil?

Rick Simpson Oil

Before I attempt to answer all the questions that must be whirling around in your mind, let’s take a look at the story of the man behind the cannabis extract oil and the claimed medical benefits behind it.

Rick Simpson

This article is not intended to provide medical advice. To properly treat cancer and cancer symptoms it is recommended cancer treatment be monitored and administered by a doctor or a cancer specialist. The use of cannabis extract as a treatment for cancer is still in an early research phase and there is no solid evidence to back up any of the claims of RSO Rick Simpson Oil.

Conventional treatments must always be considered first as more research is needed to fully prove the anticancer effects of cannabis.

The Man Who "Cured" Cancer

To start with, Rick Simpson isn’t a doctor. As far as we know, he doesn’t have any medical background nor was he using or working with cannabis products for a good portion of his life. He was an engineer working in a Canadian hospital in Nova Scotia. It was a work-related accident that got him started on using medical cannabis.

He was working with boiler pipes one day in 1997, covering the asbestos with duct tape and aerosol glue, when the fumes made him pass out. He fell off a ladder and hit his head. Rescue didn’t come immediately.

rick simpson holding cannabis oil

Nobody knew he was injured! When he came to, he had to stagger back to his office experiencing dizzy spells, and his head pounding from a massive headache.

It was there that a coworker found him and got him the help he badly needed. The head injury he sustained from his fall was made worse by the toxic fumes he inhaled.

And, the medications his doctors gave him didn’t help to alleviate his symptoms. Instead, they only gave him horrible side effects.

In late 1998, he saw a documentary about the medicinal benefits of cannabis, and it got him interested in trying it out. So he did, and to his surprise, smoking cannabis helped his symptoms more than the prescription drugs ever did!

medical cannabis oil

Curious to explore the possibilities of medical cannabis and to use it for his symptoms, he asked many doctors, including his family doctor, how he could legally acquire cannabis. They refused to help him, saying it would not do him any good and that it would only damage his lungs.

But Rick’s family doctor, when asked if just the oils of the cannabis plant material could be ingested orally as opposed to smoked, agreed that this would be the more medicinal way to use cannabis.

From Clinical Assessment to the Beginnings of RSO Oil

So, Rick Simpson took matters into his own hands, did his own research, and made his own cannabis oil. Surprisingly, his cannabis oil did what his prescription medications weren’t able to do – Simpson claims it made him better.

Related: Does Amazon Sell CBD Oil?

Not just “feel better,” but it took away all the symptoms he had after his accident, even the side effects from all the medications he was taking! Flash forward to late 2002. Rick received one of the worst news anybody could get. Rick was diagnosed with Basal Cell Carcinoma or BCC.

He had three lumps on his body – one on his chest, one near his right eyebrow, and one on his left cheek. His doctor excised one of the lesions in early 2003, but a few days later, the wound got infected.

It was raw and painful. And here, at Rick’s lowest point, a cannabis documentary he saw many years ago suddenly popped into his mind.

Rick placed a few drops of his cannabis oil on Band-Aids and covered the lesions with them as a treatment. And what do you know! Four days of using his oil for his lesions and they were gone. Completely and absolutely gone! Excited, he shared his findings with his doctor who, unfortunately, wanted nothing to do with it.

Rick’s Involvement with the Medical Cannabis Community

This didn’t stop Rick Simpson from sharing his knowledge about medical cannabis. It didn’t stop him from sharing his oil treatment with his friends, family, and anybody who needed it. Instead, it started him on his journey as a medical cannabis advocate. He grew his own plants, harvested them, and made his precious oils himself.

holding CBD tincture

Rick Simpson has been called a drug pusher for giving away his “weed oil.” But this didn’t stop him from helping people, nor did the numerous raids the police did on his property.

Many people can attest to the treatment benefits of his oil:

  • A patient who has had four open-heart surgeries but is now as active as any healthy person.
  • A lady with a suspicious-looking mole
  • A melanoma skin cancer patient whose chemotherapy wasn’t helping him.
  • A woman who was suffering from multiple medical conditions from migraines to ovary problems to arthritis and diabetes.
  • A cancer patient who was given only two months to live

If you haven’t watched the documentary about Rick Simpson called “Run from the Cure,” go watch it now. Never has a documentary made me feel so many different emotions!

Emotions ranging from helplessness and frustration at the people who paint medical cannabis as a bad plant, joy for all the people who were helped by his oil, belief that the truth about this plant will reach all, and hope that someday those against it will finally have their minds and hearts opened.

What is Rick Simpson Oil?

It wasn’t Rick Simpson himself who named his oil “Rick Simpson Oil”, but someone who believed in the work Rick was doing. That man was Jack Herer, one of the leaders and advocates of the hemp movement. Jack Herer is the author of the famous book, The Emperor Wears No Clothes.

Rick Simpson Oil (RSO), compared to CBD oil, is cannabis oil made from THC dominant marijuana plants. THC is a psychoactive substance found in cannabis plants. CBD oil is made from hemp, a close cousin of cannabis but without THC and with high CBD content.

RSO syringes

RSO contains a high amount of THC with at least 20% THC and 2-6% CBD. Because it is a full-spectrum plant extract, Rick Simpson Oil also contains other types of cannabinoids like CBN and CBG as well as other cannabis compounds like terpenes and other plant constituents– all of which can be helpful in different health conditions.

CBD oil, on the other hand, has more CBD content and only a minute level of THC—by law, ≤0.3%. Full-spectrum CBD oil is made from CBD dominant marijuana or CBD-rich, high-resin hemp plants.

Rick Simpson Oil and CBD oil are similar in that they are from the same plant family — cannabis. But here, many similarities end since they come from two different cannabis varieties. The difference comes down to the amount of THC and CBD, the primary phytocannabinoids found in cannabis plants.

Will RSO Get Me High?

Yes. Its high THC (the main psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana) content can give you a “high.” Getting the high, according to him, won’t harm anyone. In fact, he believes that if you remove this psychoactive property from his oil, it would reduce the efficacy and healing effects of the oil.

But if you can’t tolerate the effects of THC, you can always try CBD hemp oil since it’s non-psychoactive or non-intoxicating and offers many similar benefits as Rick Simpson oil. Notice that we said CBD hemp oil and not hempseed oil which is better known for its healthy amount of fatty acids.

And it’s true that if a cannabis oil contains equal parts CBD to THC, the CBD may decrease the psychoactive properties of THC (one of the unique properties of the active ingredient CBD is that it decreases the high of THC). But that doesn’t mean you might not feel some psychoactive effects from a cannabis oil made from marijuana which contains a significant amount of THC. You can only figure this out by trying out different oils.

What Are The Potential Health Benefits of Medical Cannabis?

Cannabis oil, including Rick Simpson Oil, has the potential as a treatment to help with the symptoms of various medical conditions – from cancers, chronic pain, infections, migraines, and mental health issues.

And if you read through all the research studies done on the health benefits of cannabis, you will find that medical cannabis really has significant potential to help people.

medical doctors looking at cannabis

In some studies, medical cannabis has been shown to even help with radiation therapy. However more peer-reviewed studies are needed to give cannabis extract treatment the green light as a more mainstream option for treating cancer.

Preclinical and clinical assessment of cannabinoids as anti-cancer agents is also an area of focus. Some studies have also shown that cannabinoids induce cancer cell proliferation via tumor necrosis factor converting enzyme (TACE/ADAM17)-mediated transactivation of the epidermal growth factor receptor. It was shown to inhibit cell growth, but also induce apoptosis in tumor cells.

So Does Rick Simpson Oil Really Cure Cancer?

Well, Rick Simpson had skin cancer, and his oil helped him. But—it must be said that Rick Simpson had a basal cell carcinoma—and this is one of the most highly treatable and curable other forms of cancer—the only treatment usually required is the surgical removal of the tumor.

His oil was also reported to help a lung cancer patient and a terminally-ill cancer patient who was given only two months to live. There are more people with other symptoms that his oil has helped, and you can learn more about these patients from the film, Run from the Cure.

pink cancer ribbon

Again, it must be said that this is all anecdotal evidence. We cannot verify the truth of these cases or the current status of these patients.

Numerous research studies show that medical cannabis has the potential to fight cancer cells, prevent them from growing and spreading, and even prevent blood vessels from growing on them and providing them the nutrients they need to grow and metastasize. Medical cannabis has also been studied for the effects of terminal acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL – a cancer of white blood cells) with a Philadelphia chromosome mutation.

Another study sites that the combination of cannabidiol and THC enhances the anticancer effects of radiation therapy in an orthotopic murine glioma model (seeding tumor cells in animal models for clinical studies).

This is, unfortunately, a very long way from proving that cannabis would be helpful in treating one or more human cancers—which, by the way, encompasses well over 100 different types of cancer, each with its own growth, metastatic (spreading), and lethal potentials.

Is RSO Really Free?

The oils Rick Simpson originally made were free, and he gave them to anybody who needed his help at no cost. Unfortunately, he’s no longer able to supply his precious oil.

So, if you see any RSO in the market or on the internet, know this:

  • They are NOT the original Rick Simpson Oil.
  • Rick Simpson isn’t endorsing and isn’t connected with any manufacturer or provider offering Rick Simpson Oils, even if their labels contain “The Real Rick Simpson Oil.”
  • Rick Simpson doesn’t have any representative in any country making and distributing the oils for him.
  • Rick Simpson isn’t associated with any organization or foundation claiming to have some connection with him.
  • His one and only official website is You can go there to learn more about him and his oil.

Is Rick Simpson Oil legal?

The legality of Rick Simpson Oil is the same as any other THC-containing cannabis product. It is illegal to make this oil in many states because of its high THC content.

So it may be very difficult for you to get Rick Simpson Oil or any other THC product, depending on where you live.

Where Can I Get Rick Simpson Oil?

There is no way for you to obtain the original Rick Simpson Oil from the man himself, so the best that you can do is to produce your own RSO oil. I won’t post the “recipe” here, but the information is available online on his website.

We’ll post some of the items used in the recipe here, but to be safe, only use the “recipe” Rick Simpson posted. And please follow his instructions carefully. This is important. You need to follow the instructions carefully so that you don’t make oil with toxins left in it from the extraction process. You don’t want the oil you make to harm you instead of helping you!

Some items you might need to make your RSO oil:

  • Coffee filters
  • Electric Rice Cooker
  • Stainless Steel Measuring Cup
  • A pound of dried cannabis material
  • About 9 litres of solvent
  • 2X2 piece of wood
  • Two litre buckets
  • Plastic syringes

Cautions are needed as your rice cooker heats away the alcohol from the remaining plant material. You can use other types of heating vessels but a rice cooker works best. Using about half a grain of rice should be a beginning dose for this oil. Expect the dosage to work in roughly three to four weeks or adjust to feel the effects faster.

making RSO at home

Other factors to consider before you start: know the cannabis grower and their strict sourcing guidelines of your raw plant material. Read, research, ask around, look for credentials, ask for references, ask for customer feedback. It’s important that you ask questions. A trustworthy grower will answer all your questions without any hesitations and trepidations.

Remember: cannabis is still a new and highly unregulated industry. The responsibility is on YOU to buy or make the safest product for yourself. Always insist on finding out as much as you can about the products you are buying.

The benefit of buying cannabis oil over making it yourself is that if you find a reputable company, you can be confident that they are producing your oil in a clean lab and then also provide you lab test results to prove the quality of your product. If you decide to make your own oil, the best thing you can do is get the oil tested before you use it.

How Do You Use Rick Simpson Oil?

  • Before you use RSO (Rick Simpson Oil), it’s important that you consult with your primary care physician first.
  • RSO can be ingested or applied topically on your skin.
  • The RSO dosage will depend on your medical condition.
  • If you find the taste of Rick Simpson Oil not to your liking, you can always mix it with a little piece of bread or put it on a cracker. You can even place it between slices of your favorite fruits!
  • What follows is not medical advice. According to Rick Simpson’s website, you can use the oil for as long as you are suffering from your medical condition.
  • But when you’re feeling better (and when your lab tests show it), you can still continue to use the oil but then you may reduce your dosage down to a maintenance dose of about a gram to two monthly.
  • It’s up to you, really, since you have control over your dosages.

What Are the Possible Side Effects of RSO?

  • RSO does have side effects, too, in addition to the risk of getting high.
  • You may experience drowsiness, so if you do, it’s best that you sleep and rest. After all, sleep and rest are an important part of the healing process.
  • Other side effects include unsteadiness, impaired memory, and poor concentration.
  • All these side effects tend to go away in less than a month as you develop a sort of tolerance to the oil.
  • If you’re going to use RSO, you should have someone drive you around for a while till you get used to the oil and the side effects go away.
  • We recommend that you do not drive when you are using Rick Simpson Oil or any cannabis oil.
Rick simpson by a tree

Does Rick Simpson's Oil Really Cure People?

Rick Simpson had skin cancer. He had three lesions on his body – one on his chest, one above his right eyebrow, and one on his left cheek. The lump on his right eyebrow was excised by his doctor.

Before the doctor could get to the other two lesions to remove them, the area of the excised lesion got infected. Staring at his infected wound, Rick remembered a report he heard about from the National Cancer Institute which claimed that THC has the potential to kill cancer cells in animal models. Knowing that his oil was THC-rich and has already helped his other medical conditions, he decided to give it a try to treat his wound and other lesions.

He treated the areas with his cannabis oil. He placed a few drops on some bandages and applied the cannabis oil bandage over his three lesions. After four days, when he peeled the bandages off, he saw that the lesions were gone. Excited to share his news, he went back to his doctor and asked for his pathology report, which confirmed that, indeed, it was basal cell carcinoma.

When he told his doctor about his findings and that his oil cured his skin cancer, his doctor didn’t want anything to do with cannabis. You can read more about Rick’s remarkable story in his book entitled, Phoenix Tears: The Rick Simpson Story.

Should We Trust His Findings?

Unfortunately, like many other semi- miraculous stories about cannabis, Rick’s experience is anecdotal evidence. Science has shown us that some cannabinoids—including both CBD and THC—have anti-cancer properties—but often, these properties are only seen in tissues and not in the whole body. To date, no one has taken a serious, evidence-based, and research-based look at RSO1, 2.

And yet, we still can’t say that cannabis oil will cure or even treat cancer with absolute certainty. What we can say is that cannabis might be something you want to consider if you are dealing with cancer. Cannabis has demonstrated the ability to make a cancer patient’s life so much better by helping with pain, nausea, and appetite.

Some Final Thoughts on Rick Simpson Oil

RSO is one man’s recipe for a high THC cannabis oil. It’s one variety of many of the high THC medicinal cannabis oils which are currently being used all around the world. These oils have historically helped many people and with cannabis prohibition finally fading away, are making a major comeback in medicine.

But because of legal issues surrounding medical marijuana and CBD products and too few clinical trials on humans, there isn’t enough definitive research performed by academic research institutions. And it is these studies that will provide us with more conclusive judgments on medical cannabis and its containing possible anti-cancer agents or its ability to stop cancerous growths.

However, we know cannabis medicine helps many people live better lives and that is very promising. The future of cannabis medicine is bright. Always consult with your doctor before using any form of cannabis product.


1Śledziński, P., Zeyland, J., Słomski, R., & Nowak, A. (2018, February 23). The current state and future perspectives of cannabinoids in cancer biology. Retrieved February 04, 2021, from 

2Davis MP. Cannabinoids for symptom management and cancer therapy: the evidence. Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. 2016 Jul 1;14(7):915-22.

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