Have you ever been puzzled by the initials “RSO?” Trust us, you’re not alone. Far from being a brand-new cannabis strain, RSO—short for “Rick Simpson Oil”—is an ultra-potent cannabis extract that’s tailor-made for tackling the most stubborn of chronic conditions. Often dispensed from a cannabis oil syringe, it’s a vital tool for many cannabis patients looking to tame their symptoms the all-natural way.

Because RSO is so potent, it’s essential to know how to use an RSO syringe. And in today’s post, we’ll share everything we know about this powerful remedy, including:

  • What is RSO?
  • What’s the best way to take RSO oil?
  • What’s the best RSO oil dosage?
  • Where can I find a reputable source for RSO syringes source?

By the end of this article, you’ll be a bona fide expert in the use of the RSO syringe. And with that said, let’s get to work….

What Is RSO? 

We’ve written previously about cannabis concentrates, the potent extracts that have practically taken the marijuana world by storm since their introduction roughly twenty years ago. And while RSO is technically a concentrate, there are a number of details that truly put it in a class of its own.

For one thing, unlike many cannabis concentrates and extracts, RSO was developed specifically for medical use. That’s not to say it’s exclusively for medical use, but it’s designed to be used in a fairly precise way to address chronic symptoms and conditions.

For another thing, RSO has a fascinating backstory. As we mentioned a moment ago, it takes its name from an actual person, in this case, Canadian engineer and cannabis activist Rick Simpson. After reading a study on the potential effects of THC on cancer cells in a rodent model, Simpson decided to create his own, ultra-potent THC product following a skin cancer diagnosis in 2003.

For skeptics, here’s where things get sticky. While Simpson claims that RSO helped cure his cancer, this was never independently verified by medical professionals. That said, in the following decades, many studies suggest that both cannabinoids and terpenes have the potential to kill cancer cells in vitro (that is, in laboratory settings).

On top of this, a large body of both clinical and anecdotal evidence supports the use of RSO to treat many of the symptoms of cancer, including chronic pain. It is also particularly useful for soothing nausea and stimulating the appetites of those undergoing chemotherapy treatment.

The original RSO was a THC-rich extract, with some batches reaching THC levels as high as 90 percent. That said, there’s no reason that RSO oil can’t contain CBD, the non-intoxicating “second cannabinoid.” Check our current selection of RSO syringes, and you’ll typically see at least one high-CBD product in our lineup.

All that said, while RSO syringes have potential recreational applications, we urge you to remember that it’s a highly potent product and should be used with care. In just a bit, we’ll share some guidelines for RSO oil dosage.

RSO’s Potential Benefits

As we mentioned just a moment ago, studies show RSO’s potential to treat many stubborn and serious medical symptoms. Let’s take a moment to dive into that topic a little further. Specifically, why is RSO so particularly suited to chronic symptoms?

When we inhale cannabis by smoking flower or using a vaporizer, the cannabinoids are absorbed through our lungs and take effect, typically within a few minutes at most. But with a cannabis oil syringe, that viscous cannabis extract passes through our liver. This means that while the effects take longer to come on—in some cases up to 2 hours—they also last much longer, in some cases up to 12 hours. 

As you might guess, this makes RSO particularly well-suited to addressing long-running medical issues, and at our Takoma Park dispensary, one of the most common reasons customers come to us is to help them address chronic pain. As a number of studies have found, cannabis has the potential to help us address this potentially debilitating condition. 

What’s more, an increase in medical cannabis use for chronic pain generally correlates with a decrease in the use of opioids, the class of highly addictive pharmaceutical drugs associated with an abnormally high number of both health risks and overdose deaths.

What other symptoms might RSO potentially help with? In addition to the ones we named earlier, one of the most common uses of medical cannabis is for managing the symptoms of anxiety and depression. And while there’s a robust debate as to whether THC actually increases or reduces the risk of anxiety, a number of studies suggest that using low to moderate amounts of the cannabinoid can help treat many of the symptoms associated with anxiety and depression.

Finally, cannabis has been shown to potentially mitigate the severity of insomnia, the common sleep disorder that affects roughly 30% of American adults at any one time.

How to Use an RSO Syringe: The Basics

Even if you’re used to cannabis vape pens, RSO oil can throw you for a loop. Why? Rather than being a pale or amber-colored liquid, RSO is typically a viscous, dark brown-to-black oil dispensed from a syringe.

Why use a syringe? A couple of reasons. For one thing, because RSO oil is so potent, it’s advantageous to be able to dispense very small dosages. The plastic syringes used to dispense RSO and other concentrates are typically labeled for very precise dosing. And for another, that thick oily liquid can readily stain clothing or furniture! Keeping it in a syringe helps reduce the possibility of an unwanted spill or discharge.

While RSO typically has an intensely herbal flavor and aroma, it’s a surprisingly easy product to use, so long as you follow proper dosing guidelines (more on that in a moment). Whether dispensed into a beverage or onto food, directly into the mouth or in an easy-to-swallow capsule, RSO is as versatile a cannabis product as you could hope to find.

If the idea of tasting a highly concentrated cannabis product doesn’t sound that appealing, some sources recommend placing the desired dosage on a small piece of bread, then folding the piece around the medicine completely to form a sort of edible capsule that can be swallowed with water. Of course, you can also purchase empty gel caps in bulk from many natural foods and supplement stores.

RSO Oil: Dosage, Safety Considerations, and Potential Side Effects

One issue with using cannabis medicine is that there are few, if any, “recommended doses.” Why not? Depending on their age, prior cannabis experience, and other variables, everyone has a slightly different reaction to cannabis medicine. In our long experience, it’s best to start with the lowest possible dosage, then work your way up until you’re getting the symptomatic relief you desire.

In the case of an RSO syringe, that “lowest dosage” is quite small indeed. Many sources, including Rick Simpson himself, recommend starting with a daily dose no larger than half a grain of rice and then increasing the dose slightly only after several days of use.  

As we mentioned earlier, the onset time for RSO oil can be quite long, as much as two hours (often depending on the timing of your last meal). If you’re looking for a faster onset time, put the dose of RSO oil under your tongue and hold it there (swishing it around) for 30 to 60 seconds. This allows the cannabinoids to more quickly enter your bloodstream, which in turn enables the oil to take effect more quickly (typically within 45 minutes or less).

Regardless of your dosage, because of the time required for tinctures to take effect, wait at least 2 – 4 hours before taking a second dose. And to maximize the effects, wait at least 15 minutes before eating or drinking anything. Remember that you’re working with a highly concentrated and potent product.

Pro tip: The best way to ingest RSO is by combining it with fat-soluble food items like fatty oils, peanut butter, or good old-fashioned butter. Ingesting RSO with fat-soluble foods allows for the cannabinoids to become more readily available to the receptors, increasing the duration and strength of the effect. 

What about the potential side effects of RSO? Some of the more common side effects of consuming too much THC (which RSO is full of) include:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Impaired perception or body movements

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms after ingesting RSO oil, it’s important to remember that in the vast majority of cases, you’re not in any danger. While these sensations may be unpleasant, they typically pass quickly. Whenever consuming cannabis, we suggest staying well hydrated and using music to distract from any unpleasant anxiety.  Avoiding unpleasant symptoms is  yet another reason why we always caution those working with RSO (or any high-potency cannabis products) to: “Start low, go slow.” You can always take more, but never less! 

Explore RSO Syringes, Cannabis Tinctures, Edibles, and More with Takoma

If you’re looking to browse the region’s best selection of RSO syringes, we’d love to help! As the District’s #1 family-run dispensary, we stock a wide variety of RSO oil products designed to help you tackle the toughest symptoms. If you have further questions about RSO oil (or any other cannabis-related questions), just ask! We’re here to help.