The first buzz we heard about cannabis as medicine in America came from those suffering from cancer and AIDS who had treated their cancer or improved their lives, generally speaking illegally, with cannabis. Granted, before that, it was common knowledge that cannabis was medicine. It was used for thousands of years before 1937, as a medicine, actually. Unfortunately, thanks largely to misinformation and racism, cannabis was made illegal and we forgot everything we knew about the plant. So, how did pot even become medicine again?
Rick Simpson, a Canadian engineer was working in a hospital in late 1997. He fell and hit his head while working on piping in a hospital basement. As a result, he suffered a head injury and tinnitus, ringing in the ears. He was on medication for his injuries, but they weren’t effective. Mr. Simpson heard about a study on medical cannabis back in 1975. Rick’s doctor, like many doctors, refused Rick the medicine when he asked about it, despite the fact that in Canada, medical cannabis was available. Rick Simpson, an engineer, then pulled the grandfather of all Breaking Bads and became the weed man. That would have really been exciting! Anyways, after that, Mr. Simpson started sourcing his own cannabis and realized that there are different types of weed or strains that could potentially treat diseases of different nature. Eventually, one such strain might have treated his tinnitus successfully (as well as some of his other issues).
In 2003, Rick Simpson was diagnosed with skin cancer. Being the brilliant person he is, Simpson likened his experience to the study he heard of regarding the efficacy of THC in causing apoptosis (cancer cell death) in mice. Rick decided to concentrate the cannabis into oil. Mr. Simpson covered his cancerous spots with this concentrated cannabis oil and dressed it with a bandage. Four days later, that cancerous spot was gone. His doctor refused to accredit the oil to his cancer being cured, but Mr. Simpson wholeheartedly believed that the cannabis oil had been the culprit.
So, in a truly badass intellectual fashion, Mr. Simpson then disregarded the laws, started to grow massive amounts of cannabis, and gave the oil to people for free. Let’s just take a minute to reflect on the beauty of that. We all know cannabis is expensive and we likely all remember how serious cannabis infractions were in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. Mr. Simpson’s appreciation for life and the truth overcame all that fear, and he began spreading his miracle oil to whoever needed it- a FREE CURE, a cure that worked in treating my father’s cancer. Of course, however, Mr. Simpson was raided, and over 2600 plants were cut down by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Yet surprisingly, Mr. Simpson was not charged.
“RSO” (“Rick Simpson Oil”) is simply a brand name. Although many people use varying names, people in the cannabis community have shifted from calling all of this kind of cannabis oil “Rick Simpson Oil.” It is called FECO, Full Extract Cannabis Oil. Simpson advises though, to make your own oil. I suspect this is because there are many impostors out there, based in America and abroad. Bunk foundations and groups should not to be confused with Rick Simpson’s Official Website.
Mr. Simpson, as you’ll notice, uses the term hemp oil. This may be for legal reasons as cannabis had a very negative stigma when this oil was first created. It is important to note, however, that the hemp plant is very different from cannabis. Hemp is not cannabis, and if you listen closely to Mr. Simpson, you’ll be able to put the pieces together yourself. Thankfully, the world is changing, and we can properly address the substance as FECO, RSO, or cannabis oil. Oil derived from hemp will not cure cancer as there is not enough THC in hemp (0.3 percent or less) to make the oil viable at 70% THC.
At this point, we have a bunch of people who don’t care about the law saving their own lives in Canada. This was actually the beginning of the legalization movement in America. Mr. Simpson did so much for our community and for humankind. He went above and beyond to spread vital truth. Sometimes, when I am in pain, and I eat some oil knowing I will never put opiates into my body again, I thank Mr. Simpson. When I think about how healthy my father was when he had cancer, and how we didn’t need surgery, chemo or radiation, I thank Mr. Simpson. Without this man, everything we’re doing right now would have been nearly impossible to start.
So what makes this FECO so special? The simple answer is everything. The closest cousin to FECO is distillate cannabis oil- the unicorn of concentrates. Distillate is processed in a way very similar to FECO, using grain alcohol, or isopropyl alcohol. It is then stripped to mostly THC and cleaned up to exclude all plant material and fats. In fact, Distillate is basically FECO that grew up to be pretty but lost a few cannabinoid friends along the way.
FECO looks like blackish-green sludge and it is ingested by mouth, tasting like straight cannabis. In fact, the taste is so strong that the user may notice an immediate tingle on the tongue. It is extremely potent. Believe it or not, if you ate a serving of FECO, it would only look about the size of a grain of black-green rice. Yet, in an hour, you’d be pretty high – too high to function.
Rick Simpson used White Widow strain to make his oil that became RSO. He recommends that Indica strains are used. This is because Indica strains are known for allowing the user sound sleep and to feel more relaxed than Sativa strains which are known to be energetic and uplifting. Simpson believes that sleep is an important part of the protocol. Some people, however, choose strains that are better equipped to treat their condition. For this reason, we refer to this kind of cannabis oil as FECO.
Rick Simpson recommends that the oil hit at least 70% THC to cause apoptosis. The remaining 30% of the oil is for other cannabinoids found in the plant. This is why it is defined as Full Extract Cannabis Oil. It is cooked at a low enough temperature to enable most, if not all, of the cannabinoids to stay in the oil while purging out the solvent and decarboxylating the cannabinoids. This is truly brilliant in concept because it allows the “entourage effect” to occur. The term “entourage effect” was only first used in 1998, as all of the endocannabinoid receptors were being discovered. In fact, nobody even knew about the endocannabinoid system until 1988, essentially enabling us to see the next penicillin being born.
Included below is a very basic recipe for RSO/FECO.
It is Rick Simpson’s actual recipe, so if you make the oil following the recipe, you can still with respect call it “Rick Simpson Oil” or RSO. The recipe is from Rick Simpson’s Documentary, Run from the Cure, found on Rick Simpson’s Facebook page.
Start with one ounce of dried herb. One ounce will typically produce 3-4 grams of viable oil. It is recommended to start with a small amount to grasp the process. Starting small means there is less to lose if the oil doesn’t turn out quite right. As Simpson states in his documentary, Run from the Cure, a pound of flower is how he makes the oil, which will typically yield, “enough oil to treat most major diseases.”
- Place dried material in a plastic bucket
- Dampen the material with the solvent you are using. There are many acceptable solvents such as pure naphtha, 99% isopropyl alcohol, grain alcohol, etc. An ounce batch would call for 500 ml of solvent for an extraction to yield approximately 3-4 grams; about two gallons would be needed to extract oil from a pound of cannabis. (It is important to note here that if you’re not a chemist, using food-grade ingredients will help you make the safest oil possible, as some leftover solvents can be very harmful.)
- Crush the plant material up with a fresh untreated stick. Think paint stirrer. While crushing, add all of the solvent.
- Once everything is mashed together well, pour the liquid into another bucket.
- Wash the plant matter with solvent again and mash it up.
- Add that solvent mixture to the rest of the mixture in the second bucket. You’re finished with the flower, and it is safe to discard.
- Cover a fresh container’s mouth with a coffee filter, and pour the cannabis solvent mixture into the filter to strain. The mixture will strain slowly, and you may need to replace the filter multiple times.
- Put the mixture into a rice cooker on high. (Simpson, in his documentary, notes that it is important to have the proper ventilation as the solvent mixture and its fumes are both highly flammable.) I have personally set my hand on fire at least 3 times. 10/10 would not recommend. Avoid open flame! This is why a rice cooker is Rick Simpson’s recommended method of cooking- it is the safest. Don’t ask how I know this and still managed to set my hand on fire. It was lit fam.
- As it would be clearly unsafe to overfill the rice cooker, only fill to ¾ full with the cannabis solvent mixture. As the liquid boils off, continue to add solvent to the mixture.
- When you have run out of solvent to add, put 8-10 drops of water into the mixture. This will aid in the decarboxylation process because water has a higher boiling point than any solvent you will use. This step is important because it helps to ensure you have a solvent-free product upon completion.
- The solvent mixture will continue to boil down, once the mixture has cooked down to about an inch in liquid volume, don heat protective gear, and swirl the mixture around, allowing for the last of the solvent to boil off.
- At no point should the mixture reach temperatures above 209 degrees. As previously stated by Simpson, “water boils at a much higher temperature than the solvents.” FYI- water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Most rice cookers will only reach 212 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Once the solvent is boiled off, pour the liquid into a small metal container, and place it on a gentle heat source, such as a hot plate used for coffee. This is the decarboxylation process. Since we’ve added the water, and have made sure the mixture did not go above 209 degrees, there is still water left in the mixture. Once the mixture stops boiling, due to the fact that the water would boil off after the solvents, your oil is now finished and safe to consume.
- While the RSO oil is still warm, suck it up with an oral syringe in order to administer appropriate doses.
Written by Evona Barna for Heady NJ