What is RSO? Everything You Need to Know

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If you're familiar with medical cannabis, there's a good chance you've heard of Rick Simpson Oil (RSO),  a type of concentrated cannabis oil that has been heavily promoted as a cure for cancer and a treatment for other medical conditions. However, let's make one thing clear, all cannabis research is extremely limited. Even if advertised as a cure-all, research on RSO is minimal, so it should never be used as a cure or treatment for anything.

However, some emerging research surrounds the potential benefits and uses of Rick Simpson Oil. In this blog post, we'll look at RSO and explore what science says about its potential benefits and risks. We'll also compare RSO to other forms of cannabis oil and provide some tips for those considering using RSO for therapeutic purposes.


Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) is named after its creator, Rick Simpson, a Canadian man who claims to have used the oil to cure his skin cancer.¹ In 2003, Simpson was diagnosed with skin cancer and began researching alternative treatments,  he eventually discovered the potential health benefits of cannabis oil and began experimenting with different extraction methods to create his own. 

He ended up applying RSO topically to the cancerous area, and covering it with a bandage. After several days, she removed the bandage to find that the cancerous bumps were gone. After his success story, Simpson began sharing his story and promoting RSO as a natural alternative to traditional cancer treatments. Since then, the oil has become known as Rick Simpson Oil.

RSO is a cannabis oil extracted from the buds of the cannabis plant using solvents. RSO is often touted as a potent and natural alternative to traditional cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy. However, the scientific evidence supporting these claims is limited, and RSO has not been approved by the FDA or any other regulatory agency to treat  cancer or any other medical condition.  You should always trust your doctor's advice and avoid using RSO to treat any medical condition. 


Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) is made from the cannabis plant, and its active ingredients are the cannabinoids and terpenes found in the plant. The two main cannabinoids in RSO are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol).

THC is the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis and is responsible for the high people experience when using cannabis.² THC is also known for its potentially pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory, and anti-tumor properties.

CBD, on the other hand, is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that is known for its potential anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety properties.³

In addition to THC and CBD, RSO may contain other minor cannabinoids, like CBG, CBN, and CBC, as well as terpenes, aromatic compounds found in many plants. These compounds may all contribute to the potential benefits of RSO since evidence suggests that all of the compounds found in full-spectrum cannabis oil work together to amplify each other's impact  in the entourage effect phenomenon.⁴

While the scientific evidence supporting the use of RSO for cancer and other health conditions is limited, some studies suggest that RSO may have potential health benefits because of makeup of the compounds. For example, some studies have found that cannabis oil may help reduce inflammation, alleviate pain, and improve sleep, while other studies suggest that RSO may even have anti-cancer properties. ⁵⁻⁷

That's not to say that using Rick Simpson Oil will magically make cancer disappear, though. Evidence suggests it may only be effective for certain types of cancer, such as skin cancer. Even with preliminary studies and anecdotal evidence, you should always work with your doctor to determine an effective treatment plan that will work for you if you're facing cancer. 


Like everything, there are always a few risks alongside the benefits. While RSO may have potential health benefits, there are risks associated with using this concentrated cannabis oil. One of the main risks of RSO is that it may contain harmful contaminants such as pesticides, heavy metals, or residual solvents, depending on how the plants used to make it were grown and processed.⁸ These contaminants can be harmful to your health and may even increase your risk of cancer.

It's also important to note that the composition of RSO can vary depending on the strain of cannabis used to make it and the extraction method used. As a result, the potency and effectiveness of RSO can also vary. That said, it's important to only purchase RSO from a trusted supplier offering third-party lab test results for a guaranteed analysis. 

Another risk of RSO is that it may cause unwanted side effects, especially in people sensitive to THC.⁹ Some common side effects of THC include dizziness, paranoia, anxiety, and increased heart rate. Using Rick Simpson Oil may cause side effects since it contains THC. 

Finally, RSO may interact with other medications, especially those metabolized by the liver.¹⁰ This can lead to unwanted side effects or reduced effectiveness of other medicines you may have been prescribed by your doctor.  Your doctor knows best, and you should always consult with them before adding RSO to your daily routine. 


RSO is just one of many different types of cannabis oils available on the market today. Other forms of cannabis oil include CBD oil, which contains little to no THC and is used for its anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety properties, and hemp oil, which is extracted from industrial hemp plants and used for its nutritional benefits.

When compared to other forms of cannabis oil, RSO is generally considered more potent due to its high THC content. However, this also means that RSO is more likely to cause unwanted side effects in some people, especially those sensitive to THC.


If you are considering using RSO for medicinal purposes, it's essential to do your research and talk to your healthcare provider first. Remember that RSO should never be used to treat any health condition and that it may affect you differently than it affects others. 

If you decide to explore RSO, you'll first want to make sure you purchase it from a trustworthy source. Since the FDA doesn't regulate Rick Simpson Oil, there are many people producing it who probably shouldn't be.¹¹ Always look for RSO with third-party lab test results to ensure potency and no harmful contaminants. 

Once you have your oil, start with a small serving size and  monitor your symptoms carefully.  Stop using RSO if you experience any unwanted side effects, or increase your dosage if necessary. 

Be aware of RSO's potential risks and limitations, and don't rely on it as the sole treatment for serious medical conditions. If you're looking to explore RSO’s potential therapeutic effects, start with Lazarus Naturals. We extract and formulate our CBD RSO in our own facilities with full-spectrum hemp oil to ensure the highest quality.

Our CBD RSO is a perfect hemp-derived option for alleviating stress, relieving inflammation, and supporting a healthy immune response. You can consume it sublingually on the go, mix it with food, or make your edibles for a versatile way to enjoy the therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids anytime and anywhere.

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