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All the Ways You Can Consume RSO

By Brittiany Ralls December 22, 2022
RSO Gummies

Cannabis is known for many things, including the wide variety of ways to use this wonderful substance. While smoking dried flower remains one of the best-known ways to consume cannabis, sheer human ingenuity has provided us with a number of ingestible, topical, and inhalable products that provide the same benefits as the traditional joint or bowl. One of the most well-known for its therapeutic properties is RSO, an oil derived from the cannabis plant. Learn what RSO is and how you can use it with our guide to RSO. 

What is RSO?

RSO is a cannabis oil that is created from the whole cannabis plant. Like other cannabis concentrates, RSO is created using a solvent like ethanol (alcohol) to concentrate plant particles. Unlike other concentrates, though, RSO is not purged - it is created to   retain some of the incorporated plant matter. This creates a dark, almost black oil that retains all the most desirable cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds found in the live plant.

RSO is named for its creator, Rick Simpson, and is an acronym for Rick Simpson Oil. Rick stumbled upon his creation when attempting to treat his own skin cancer. He created a concentrated cannabis oil with 90% THC and, as the story goes, Simpson applied the oil to his skin. After extended use and removing his bandages, Simpson claimed that the cancerous lesions disappeared. 

While Simpson’s story is controversial, both due to the illegality of cannabis at the time of his experiment and due to Simpson’s lack of a peer-reviewed, double-blind study, what matters is that RSO continues to help many. RSO has been produced by people who have heard his story and decided to spread word of the THC-rich oil to others. Rick Simpson himself has provided instructions regarding how to make this version of cannabis oil, though there is no single product branded as “RSO.”

How People Use RSO

While Rick Simpson touted his oil as cancer-fighting, research is still catching up. Outside of cancer-fighting, many people use RSO to combat the side effects of cancer or cancer treatment, including nausea, loss of appetite, and more. Rick Simpson’s story remains a primary reason many people have heard of RSO.

RSO has other medical benefits, as well. Cannabis can be used to address a variety of conditions, including reducing the strain of mental health disorders such as PTSD and anxiety, stimulating appetite, helping with sleep, and even reducing the effects of a substance use disorder. THC, the primary cannabinoid in RSO, has shown success in reducing the consistency and length of epileptic seizures, restoring insulin and improving glucose tolerance in obese individuals, regulating heart rate, protecting memory, and more. It’s no surprise, then, that RSO, like other cannabinoid oils, is used for therapeutic and medicinal benefits. 

Too, RSO, depending on the strain, is incredibly sedating for both body and mind. Because it is often consumed orally with a longer duration of effects, many use RSO as a sleep supplement.

Avexia RSO Syringe

It’s important to note that RSO use isn’t always about the medical benefits. The concentration of THC in RSO makes it highly potent with significant psychoactive effects. While all forms of cannabis have the potential to affect your body, mind, and mood, THC-heavy products can be sedative, stimulating, or euphoric depending on strain. RSO is strong in this respect, and it’s important to know how to dose effectively. 

How Do You Dose RSO?

In large doses, RSO can be overpowering, especially if you are new to cannabis or RSO in particular. There are a few methods recommended for using RSO, and each varies a bit, so it’s important to learn as much as possible before you get started. 

To begin, some general advice regarding the use of RSO is needed here. Keep in mind that RSO doses can be deceiving, and what seems like a tiny dose for those accustomed to other extracts and oils can turn out to be a large enough dose to leave you experiencing significant effects. For example, a dose the size of a grain of rice may even be too much for some people, especially if new to RSO. 

Once you determine the right dose size, remember that you should take RSO on a full stomach to avoid nausea or indigestion. In general, if you want to know how to get the best results out of RSO, be smart about how much you use and when you use it. Start small, and work your way up to a dose that results in the effects you want.

Still have questions about dosing? Check out our previous post on RSO for our more detailed recommendation on dosing and how best to create a regimen that works for you: What Is RSO? Rick Simpson Oil Explained

Ways To Take RSO

As mentioned, there are many ways to take RSO. Before you learn the most common ways to take the full-spectrum cannabis oil, we should start with how it’s packaged.

Rick Simpson Oil purchased at dispensaries is most often packaged in syringe with measured lines. You can find RSO in various sizes, but the most common are 0.5g and 1g. The total amount of THC in milligrams is provided on the product label, so finding appropriate dosing amounts is as easy as dividing your total THC by the number of dashes on your syringe. 

Because RSO is so thick and viscous, squeezing it out of the glass syringe can sometimes present a challenge. Our favorite trick? Hold the syringe for about 30-45 seconds in the crook of your elbow! Apply VERY gentle pressure, as gently warming the oil will allow it to dispense easily!

Now, let’s dive into how to take RSO:

Ingesting RSO

One highly recommended way to take RSO is by ingesting it. This can be done by creating edibles with RSO, adding some oil to your food, or simply dosing on your finger and directly into your mouth. RSO has a strong taste, but can be used to create potent cannabutter, and thus incorporated in multiple recipes as preferred.

If you’re not confident in your ability to create tasty products with RSO, you can purchase readymade RSO edibles. Some edibles on the market right now use RSO as a major ingredient, such as Encore Edibles RSO gummies. which come in mango and concord grape flavors. These edibles feature 10mg of THC per package to keep you buzzed for a few hours without being overwhelming—and, they have the added bonus of tasting great!

Encore RSO Gummies

As for drinks, many people have questions like “can you add RSO to coffee?” the answer is, you can absolutely infuse your coffee with RSO.

You’ll want to start with creating a cannabis simple syrup or creamer to ensure an even distribution of your oil.  

If you’d rather ingest the RSO alone, you have other options. Capsules, for example, allow you to swallow the RSO directly without mixing it with anything. 

As for drinks, many people have questions like “can you add RSO to coffee?” the answer is, you can absolutely infuse your coffee with RSO. You’ll want to start with creating a cannabis simple syrup or creamer to ensure an even distribution of your oil.  

If you’d rather ingest the RSO alone, you have other options. Capsules, for example, allow you to swallow the RSO directly without mixing it with anything. 

Sublingual Administration

A more traditional method of consuming RSO involves letting the oil sit under your tongue. This is known as “sublingual” administration, and it allows you to absorb the cannabinoids via the much thinner skin under the tongue. This delivers the oil directly to your bloodstream rather than requiring you to digest it first. It gets you quicker results, but may not be as long-lasting as ingestion. 

Using RSO as a Topical Solution

If you don’t wish to ingest your RSO, you can do what Rick Simpson did and use the oil externally. There are many existing creams and lotions that incorporate a variety of cannabis extracts. However, you don’t need to buy a special product—just follow in Rick’s footsteps and apply the oil itself to your skin, cover it with a waterproof bandage afterward, and wait a few days. You can even make the oil easier to apply by mixing it with coconut oil for a smoother texture.

The possibilities regarding external RSO application aren’t as varied as the ingestion methods, but it can still be beneficial, especially for certain skin conditions. Rick used this method to treat his skin cancer, but others use it for treating pain and dryness.

Can You Smoke RSO?

The most common way to use cannabis is to smoke it. Another common method is to inhale vaporized oil. However, while you can technically burn RSO due to its high plant matter content, and while RSO seems fairly vape-friendly, you do not want to smoke or inhale RSO. It’s full of plant lipids, and inhaling the smoke will not be a pleasant experience.

Find RSO at Your Local Cannabis Dispensary

Interested in trying RSO? 

Remember, talk to your doctor before starting any new healthcare regime and always purchase RSO-based products from a trusted cannabis dispensary.

Whether you prefer readymade edibles like fruit-flavored RSO-infused gummies or a prefilled syringe, you can find quality RSO products at a Zen Leaf cannabis dispensary near you.


Oultram JMJ, Pegler JL, Bowser TA, Ney LJ, Eamens AL, Grof CPL. Cannabis sativa: Interdisciplinary Strategies and Avenues for Medical and Commercial Progression Outside of CBD and THC. Biomedicines. 2021; 9(3):234. https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines9030234

Yurasek, A.M., Aston, E.R. & Metrik, J. Co-use of Alcohol and Cannabis: A Review. Curr Addict Rep 4, 184–193 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40429-017-0149-8

Content Writer for MÜV and Zen Leaf. Britt began exploring cannabis as a recreational user attempting to treat her migraines and depression. Finding success, she began to realize the many benefits of cannabis for a multitude of ailments. Her new-found knowledge prompted a move to Colorado, where she was able to medically treat her son with ADHD and aid her family in becoming healthier and happier. Realizing her passion for cannabis, she turned it into a career. Joining the industry as Medtender and moving into management gave Britt the knowledge needed to become a writer for a local cannabis culture magazine in Oklahoma and a leading voice in cannabis compliance.

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