Rick Simpson oil is a type of medical cannabis oil typically made from the indica cannabis strain. Proponents of the oil believe that ingesting the oil or applying it to the skin can have medicinal benefits, like lowering blood pressure or alleviating certain illnesses. When making Rick Simpson oil, prepare and heat your ingredients in a well-ventilated area far from any open flames, stovetops, or sparks. Following the instructions carefully and taking precautions will help you stay safe as you make the oil
Rick Simpson Oil, or RSO, is a highly concentrated cannabis extract with very high levels of THC, also known as THC concentrate. It is generally considered a “whole plant extract,” containing not just THC but most of the plant’s molecules, including pigments and waxes, which is what gives RSO its dark color. RSO is often touted in online forums as a cancer treatment, pain killer, and at times even as a miracle cure.
While the evidence supporting those claims is anecdotal at best, particularly with regards to cancer, it remains a product of great interest.
What exactly is Rick Simpson Oil?
Simply put, Rick Simpson Oil is a type of ultra-concentrated, “crude” cannabis oil. According to Phoenix Tears, Rick Simpson’s official website, RSO refers to “extremely potent decarboxylated extracts produced from strong sedative indica strains, which have THC levels in the 90% range.”
It is dense, unfiltered, and almost sludge-like in consistency. Traditionally extracted to yield a thick oil containing many of the plant’s fat-soluble compounds, RSO has been described by Simpson himself as “a sort of grease.”
Lab analysis of Rick Simpson Oil typically shows THC content of 40-95%. According to one independent lab, some samples are closer to 40%, but according to Simpson, true RSO should be closer to 95%. Of course, this is for traditional RSO made with THC-rich marijuana. If high-CBD cannabis were used, the resulting product would be entirely different.
It is important to note that the term RSO gets thrown around a lot for many products, not just those high in THC. Often the term is being used to describe any highly concentrated crude cannabis extract, and one which often comes in a syringe for dosing.
Rick Simpson Oil also contains terpenes and other secondary compounds, like pain-killing cannflavins and other naturally occurring compounds found in cannabis, though depending on what solvent and process is used, some of these components can be lost.
Because it is a cannabis-produced medicine with high levels of THC, RSO is often illegal except in certain jurisdictions with legal medical and recreational cannabis programs.
To make Rick Simpson Oil (RSO), start with one ounce of dried herb. One ounce will typically produce 3-4 grams of oil, although the amount of oil produced per ounce will vary strain to strain. A pound of dried material will yield about two ounces of high quality oil.
- Place the completely dry material in a plastic bucket.
- Dampen the material with the solvent you are using. Many solvents can be used. You can use pure naphtha, ether, butane, 99% isopropyl alcohol, or even water. Two gallons of solvent is required to extract the THC from one pound, and 500 ml is enough for an ounce.
- Crush the plant material using a stick of clean, untreated wood or any other similar device. Although the material will be damp, it will still be relatively easy to crush up because it is so dry.
- Continue to crush the material with the stick, while adding solvent until the plant material is completely covered and soaked. Remain stirring the mixture for about three minutes. As you do this, the THC is dissolved off the material into the solvent.
- Pour the solvent oil mixture off the plant material into another bucket. At this point you have stripped the material of about 80% of its THC.
- Second wash: again add solvent to the mixture and work for another three minutes to extract the remaining THC.
- Pour this solvent oil mix into the bucket containing the first mix that was previously poured out.
- Discard the twice washed plant material.
- Pour the solvent oil mixture through a coffee filter into a clean container.
- Boil the solvent off: a rice cooker will boil the solvent off nicely, and will hold over a half gallon of solvent mixture. CAUTION: avoid stove-tops, red hot elements, sparks, cigarettes, and open flames as the fumes are extremely flammable.
- Add solvent to rice cooker until it is about ¾ full and turn on HIGH heat. Make sure you are in a well-ventilated area and set up a fan to carry the solvent fumes away. Continue to add mixture to cooker as solvent evaporates until you have added it all to the cooker.
- As the level in the rice cooker decreases for the last time, add a few drops of water (about 10 drops of water for a pound of dry material). This will help to release the solvent residue, and protect the oil from too much heat.
- When there is about one inch of solvent-water mixture in the rice cooker, put on your oven mitts and pick the unit up and swirl the contents until the solvent has finished boiling off.
- When the solvent has been boiled off, turn the cooker to LOW heat. At no point should the oil ever reach over 290˚ F or 140˚ C.
- Keep your oven mitts on and remove the pot containing the oil from the rice cooker. Gently pour the oil into a stainless steel container
- Place the stainless steel container in a dehydrator, or put it on a gentle heating device such as a coffee warmer. It may take a few hours but the water and volatile terpenes will be evaporated from the oil. When there is no longer any surface activity on the oil, it is ready for use.
- Suck the oil up in a syringe (or in any other container you see fit). A syringe will make the oil easy to dispense. When the oil cools completely it will have the consistency of thick grease.