The Truth about Rick Simpson Oil (RSO)


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Today I want to give you my opinions about Rick Simpson Oil, also known as RSO in the medical marijuana community.

It’s probably the most common question that people with cancer ask me about when coming in for treatment with medical marijuana.

So I wanted to give you some facts about Rick Simpson Oil  (RSO) and why I’m not a big fan of using it by itself for cancer treatment.


RSO is dangerous and illegal to make

In Louisiana, you’re not allowed to possess raw marijuana flower.  So you would not be able to legally make RSO yourself.

In addition, many people have injured themselves trying to make RSO.

Also, the original recipe for RSO uses naphtha, which is an industrial solvent which can be dangerous to your health if not evaporated properly.


RSO was originally tested on basal cell carcinoma

All cancer is serious.  However, on the spectrum of cancers, basal cell carcinoma is generally regarded as easily treatable, non-invasive, and curable, even with topical measures.

Rick Simpson treated his basal cell carcinoma with topical application of his oil, which is not out of the realm of possibility.

However, there is no good evidence that aggressive, invasive cancers like lung, breast, prostate, or lymph node cancers will respond to RSO.


RSO does not have a standardized concentration or strength

RSO advocates state that the patient should consume one gram of RSO each day.  However, that simple statement belies a whole host of problems.

The main problem is that RSO is not made with a particular strain of marijuana, so there is no way to know how much THC is in your dose of RSO, which can cause a whole host of problems.


RSO is not practical for most people

If you are elderly or slightly built, one gram of RSO is a huge amount of marijuana.  Even patients of mine that are large men are unable to take one gram of RSO daily for months.

In addition, because you are using an indica type strain of marijuana, it’s likely you will be pretty sedated for the entire day.

Most people, with jobs and families, will not be able to stay sedated at home for the few month period required to take a full course of RSO


RSO does not contain any CBD

Due to the selection of indica-type strains, RSO rarely has any CBD.  However, many doctors and researchers feel that CBD has an increasing importance in the treatment of many immune medicated illnesses, like cancer, due to the immune modulating and anti-inflammatory properties of CBD.

In addition, CBD is well known to produce an entourage effect that helps to enhance the positive effects of THC while decrease the negative side effects.

Please visit our Additional Resources page if you want to learn more about CBD.


What should I do?

I know that having cancer is scary.  But in my opinion, RSO is not an adequate replacement for standard cancer treatment when dealing with aggressive, life threatening cancers.

It’s not just my opinion.  Most doctors agree that medical marijuana can be safely used an adjunctive treatment along with a cancer patient’s surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.  However, with rare exceptions, it should never be a primary mode of cancer treatment.

The best thing that any patient can do when dealing with a life threatening cancer diagnosis is to seek advice from a doctor who is experienced with medical marijuana and who will speak to you honestly and truthfully about the truths and myths surrounding this treatment option.



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Thanks for reading.

Doctor Victor Chou, M.D.

Medical Marijuana Clinic of Louisiana