Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) has become a well-known therapeutic option in the ever-expanding new age of alternative medicine. Drawing its name from its creator, Canadian cannabis activist Rick Simpson, RSO is a concentrated form of cannabis oil that many patients have sworn by as an effective treatment after other options had failed. But in crossing the often-bizarre line drawn in the ongoing battle to end prohibition of cannabis, RSO runs the gamut of legality, depending on the region, and skepticism, as do the claims of its ability to cure conditions complicated within the standard treatment process. As such, although the patients maintaining its benefits have made RSO difficult to ignore, let alone dismiss, the science endorsing how and why a form of British Columbia bud slathered in THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) under the tongue in the manner RSO originates has found much acclaim as the subject of a more-than-worthy cause, remains a bit cloudy.
None of that is to say that there isn’t quite a bit of smoke surrounding this particular oil. While re-legalizing hemp and thereby normalizing the therapeutic components of the plant has long been a goal of cannabis reform in the U.S., the one-two punch of the data industry out of Colorado tying chronic pain, a possible target of RSO, to reduced opioid deaths (not to mention the near certain drop in health-care costs if cannabis were thoroughly integrated into the American healthcare system), recently gave more actuality to the notion that cannabis could soon be a more readily available alternative source for many chronic pain patients, be they dealing with neuropathy to back problems to cancer. That’s not snake oil — and this is where RSO came from. A marijuana plant whose shedding flower tassels are carried by the wind is a diverse plant with many potential applications, so long as lawmakers are wise to recognize the economic value in harnessing and supporting these pro-cannabis interests without smothering them in over-legislation. And it would seem that medical marijuana does not need to be the contradiction it is in legal states, as was charly demonstrated recently in Illinois, for a portion of patients there are already well on their way to fighting the good fight, with buds at virtually no cost.
Additionally, RSO is praised for its potential anti-inflammatory effects. Chronic inflammation is associated with a host of health issues, ranging from autoimmune diseases to cardiovascular conditions and neurodegenerative disorders. The cannabinoids in RSO could help to regulate the immune response, which in turn might quell inflammation and provide respite to individuals coping with inflammatory conditions.
For people grappling with sleep disorders or anxiety, RSO may assist in promoting relaxation and improving sleep quality. The sedative effects of THC can assist in facilitating a more restful night’s sleep, effectively providing a break from the seemingly relentless churn of anxiety and stress.
Yet it is essential to approach the use of Rick Simpson Oil with caution. The high THC content may trigger psychoactive effects, making RSO unsuitable for everyone. Given this, guidance from a healthcare professional is crucial, particularly for individuals with underlying health conditions or those who are taking medications that could interact with cannabinoids.
With the growing popularity and the potential health benefits of Rick Simpson Oil for chronic pain, and for seriously ill cancer patients, it’s important for the medical cannabis landscape and individual choices to be informed ones, taking into account all of the risks and benefits relevant to an individual’s health and health care. As with any medicinal or therapeutic treatment, it’s essential that individuals consult with their healthcare provider to discuss any potential benefits or risks to integrating RSO into a wellness plan.