Can You Dab RSO?

Can you dab RSO?
By Andrew Ward Published June 6th

Fact-checked by Alexandra Arnett, MS

Made to tackle a series of health issues, RSO is now widely used by medical consumers who feel that a concentrated, highly potent oil may help address their symptoms and conditions. However, many have pondered if RSO has a recreational aspect, leading them to wonder: Can you dab RSO? 

While the question is valid, asking if you should vape RSO might be better.

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What is RSO?

Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) is a whole-plant cannabis extract that stands out from concentrated oils such as live resin, wax, and shatter. Made by reducing whole-plant cannabis material in food-grade ethanol alcohol, it is regarded for its thick, tar-like consistency. It contains an array of cannabis compounds, including THC, CBD, other cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and more.

Cannabis is often most effective when a cultivar’s compounds are consumed simultaneously, reportedly providing the most comprehensive benefits possible through the interaction between cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavinoids.1 For example, research has demonstrated that whole-plant cannabis extracts, or RSO, using a combination of CBD and THC, may reduce spasticity in individuals with multiple sclerosis.2

RSO can be used in three different consumption methods. The oil is often dispensed with a syringe and can be taken orally, applied topically, or inserted rectally. Additional methods, such as RSO edibles, have also emerged. A few “RSO” vape products may have also hit the market, but vaping or smoking RSO is not recommended, and these products are likely not true RSO. 

RSO was created in 2003 by its namesake, Rick Simpson, a Canadian cannabis activist. He developed the oil to address his health issues, including skin cancer and tinnitus. Once the oil proved effective on himself, Simpson released the recipe to others online to be accessible and replicable for those in need.

Despite needing additional clinical analysis to verify two-plus decades of anecdotal reports, many continue to use Rick Simpson Oil in an attempt to address their medical conditions, such as:

RSO dosing recommendations vary by individual and needs. However, a standard dosing chart used by many patients typically follows a multi-week, gradual increase of the dose, such as: 

DaySuggested Dosage
1-7Half a grain of rice each day
8-11Full grain of rice each day
12-152 grains of rice per day
16-194 grains of rice per day
20-238 grains of rice per day
24-27½ gram per day
28-30Full gram each day

Why Dab RSO?

Why try dabbing RSO?

With numerous consumption options at their disposal, some may wonder why anyone would want to vape or smoke RSO over other cannabis extracts

Dabbing RSO may seem appealing in its similarities to a high potency full spectrum oil and other leading products, considering RSO often has the highest THC potency of the bunch. However, dabbing RSO is not recommended and lacks any potential benefits to justify its use. 

Despite sharing similarities to full spectrum oil (FSO), the two are quite different. FSO contains a wide variety of plant compounds, including cannabinoids, terpenes, fatty lipids, and other elements believed to deliver the most comprehensive effects possible. While RSO does use a combination of cannabinoids and chemical compounds, its blend is a specific selection of plant compounds, making it more of a broad spectrum than a full-spectrum product. 

Some consumers hold the belief that dabbing the most potent cannabis extract available will lead them to experience the most therapeutic benefits or psychoactive high attainable. While possible, little to no clinical evidence has supported any benefit to dabbing RSO. 

Individuals looking to experience a significant, beneficial high may want to choose an extract to dab, such as live resin, live rosin, or high-terpene-full-spectrum extract (HTFSE). Unlike RSO, these extracts are specifically designed for inhalation and undergo processes such as CO2 extraction, hydrocarbon extraction, and winterization to strip solvents from the final product.

Dabbing RSO: Possible Risks and Drawbacks

While dabbing RSO may seem alluring, significant safety concerns and potential drawbacks make the method less than desirable.

Unlike other extracts, RSO uses solvents that aren't purged from the final product. These chemicals can linger and pose significant issues when heated into a vapor, which can be harmful to inhale and pose a fire risk due to their high flammability.

High THC potency is an in-demand metric for many consumers' shopping decisions. However, there is evidence to suggest that too much THC can be detrimental for some users. 

High-potency oils like RSO can contain more than 80% THC per gram. When dabbed, the high-potency oil can overwhelm consumers, which can trigger adverse effects linked to overconsumption.

Then there's the heat component. The oil must be heated or decarboxylated before being used to activate the THC and CBD in RSO. Dabbing already decarboxylated oil might decrease potency, as the additional heat may break down plant compounds such as cannabinoids, which would lessen the effects in theory.

Can You Dab RSO? What's the Best Way?

The process of dabbing RSO

The best way to dab RSO is not to dab RSO at all. While it's an extract, RSO isn't an ideal concentrate for vaping. Instead, it should be consumed orally or topically. 

Rather than dabbing RSO, consumers are encouraged to focus on a range of other full-spectrum extracts they can dab using a rig or pen. Popular options include:

  • Wax
  • Shatter
  • Budder
  • Crumble
  • Live Resin
  • Rosin
  • CO2 Oil
  • BHO (Butane Hash Oil)
  • HTFSE (High Terpene Full Spectrum Extract)
  • HCFSE (High Cannabinoid Full Spectrum Extract)
  • Sauce

Remember to dose accordingly for the best results.

Can You Smoke RSO?

Like dabbing, you can smoke RSO. However, with little-known benefits and significant potential side effects, it's advised that you swallow RSO or apply it to your skin. 

While you can roll a joint or top a bowl with some cannabis concentrates, doing so with RSO presents risks concerning flammability and lingering solvents. Additionally, burnt oil will likely make a significant mess.

Rather than dabbing or smoking RSO, stick to the recommended use methods. With so many concentrated oils intended for dabbing, there's no good reason to introduce RSO to your banger or vape pen.

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  1. McPartland JM, Russo EB. Cannabis and Cannabis Extracts. Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics. 2001;1(3-4):103-132. doi: ↩︎
  2. Lakhan SE, Rowland M. Whole plant cannabis extracts in the treatment of spasticity in multiple sclerosis: a systematic review. BMC Neurol. 2009;9:59. Published 2009 Dec 4. doi:10.1186/1471-2377-9-59 ↩︎

The information in this article and any included images or charts are for educational purposes only. This information is neither a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional legal advice or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about laws, regulations, or your health, you should always consult with an attorney, physician or other licensed professional.

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