What is Rick Simpson Oil?

Rick Simpson, a Canadian engineer, became famous for the claims that he treated his cancer using a cannabis tincture he perfected. He used it both topically, and ingested, to treat his tinnitus, pain, and melanomas. He then went on to produce this oil for his ‘patients’, treating over 5000 people over a number of years

Due to his lack of medical expertise and criticism thereabouts from some, nevermind pressure from police raids and the Canadian Government, he no longer produces RSO oil. He now shares his recipes online encouraging those seeking it to make it at home, themselves.

Also known as Phoenix Tears, this oil is relatively easy to make when following a concise set of instructions, and is one of the best ways to create a cannabis extract using simple household items and some products found at your local chemist or hardware store.

Rick Simpson Oil is, however, THC containing, unlike pure CBD oil – this means it will get you high. This, for some, is a bonus – with many claiming that one needs all the different cannabinoids working in ‘the entourage effect’ to best receive the effects of the plant (from cannabinoids such as THCv and CBDa). However, others find the intoxication of this oil too much to handle, especially those who might not have smoked or taken edibles before.

How is RSO Made?

Phoenix Tears are usually made from an indica plant, Simpson himself recommends a medicinal heavy indica strain – the kind used for intense pain management or sleep issues. This plant matter, often using all stalks and stems in addition to the buds, is ground and soaked in a solvent such as 99% isopropyl alcohol or ethanol.

Once the solvent has absorbed all of the trichomes and cannabinoids from the plant, the plant matter is strained and the resulting solution is heated through various methods. Firstly, the solvent is cooked off to make sure you’re not ingesting any harmful chemicals, and secondly, the resulting paste is heated to remove any water – leaving you with a thick, goopy substance that will leave you with no questions as to why it’s referred to as an “oil”.

This substance is then sucked up into a syringe and can be stored in a cool, dark place for a few months, or a freezer for longer periods of time. The heating of the substance decarboxylates the THC, making it orally active. This means that unlike eating raw plant buds (which you won’t gain any effect from) the cannabinoids have been appropriately heated so that they may be metabolized by your liver, allowing you to experience the effects.

Benefits of Rick Simpson Cannabis Oil

Rick Simpson Oil, being an extract containing most, if not all, types of cannabinoids possesses both the therapeutic effects of CBD as well as that of THC. This means it’s effective in treating issues such as:

  • Insomnia
  • Pain
  • Stress
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Topical Pain

However, being a THC containing extract, there are precautions to be taken. While a grain-sized dose is the recommended beginner dose, this can be a lot for some – especially those who have never smoked cannabis or taken an edible dose of cannabis before. Some issues that may occur, and are common in high doses of cannabis, are things like:

  • Paranoia
  • Auditory Hallucinations
  • Anxiety
  • Pronounced Heartbeat

But there’s no need to worry – it’s impossible to overdose on Cannabis. You won’t die, and it’s perfectly safe health-wise, but an intense panic like some have experienced on highly dosed edibles can leave quite an effect on someone who’s not ready for it.

As such, it’s imperative that you start low and go slow.

Can you smoke RSO?

RSO is a great way to spice up your usual cannabis smoke. One of the most popular preparations is to draw a strip of oil down a rolling paper on the inside, and then roll a joint on top of it (or tobacco if you prefer – but yuck).


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This will give you an enhanced smoke – you could almost view it as a double feature. It’s one of our favourite ways to enjoy this oil recreationally, or in a more immediate manner (ie. for sleep), since eating the oil will take 45-90 minutes to kick in, depending on what you’ve eaten that day and how your personal body type is.

Another way to smoke it is in an extract-friendly vaporizer. These can be found in most vape shops around the country, just talk to one of the shopkeepers about what you’re trying to do with it and they should help you find a way to vape the RSO without any issues of bad taste or residue.

Can you find Rick Simpson Oil in South Africa?

While more recently there has been an increasing number of clandestine and unofficial producers of Phoenix Tears in South Africa, it’s still best advised to make it yourself at home. This way, you can be sure of the ingredients going into the product, the plant matter you use to begin with, and check that all solvents or unwanted chemicals have been expelled by the mixture.

There are a number of variations on the recipe, however, they will all leave you with the same end product – just be sure to read through yours ahead of time to make sure it’s exactly what you’re looking for.

Remember to be safe, and cautious. This is a great extract for those looking to cannabis therapy for answers, but it is very intoxicating and can have unwanted side-effects if you’re not careful with the dosage.

Originally from the Netherlands, passion for travel, the outdoors and education, currently living in Cape Town after starting a CBD products research and information company. Love anything related to extreme sports varying from surfing to climbing to wakeboarding. As well as food, food is life.

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