Recently I’ve been making medicated coconut oil (previous post) for a friend that was diagnosed with lung cancer, and it got me curious about making a better, richer, more medicinally potent extract for home healing. Again, I came back to the Source because you can control exactly what is going into your medicine, insuring against harmful, irritating and unwanted chemicals. You can even experiment, extracting and adding other botanicals with additional healing properties to the cannabis extract or simply add your choice of flavor.
WHAT ARE “RSO” & “FECO”?
These abbreviated terms refer to types of extracted resinous cannabis oil (CO) with concentrated amounts of cannabinoids, like THC and CBD, used for therapeutic and medicinal uses for treatment of various conditions.
RSO is short for ‘Rick Simpson Oil’, named after the man that made it famous and has helped an unfathomable number of people with his ‘Run From the Cure’ documentary showcasing the cancer curing attributes of cannabis. I think we all owe this man a huge debt of gratitude. Eventually, his method fell out of favor due do the use of the solvent Naptha. Naptha is non-polar so it’s a very effective solvent, but unfortunately it’s use comes with a number of health risks. Extractions moved back to using 190-proof food-grade ethanol in substitution for Naptha, solving the health risk problem, but introducing a new problem. While Naptha is completely non-polar, ethanol has polar attributes making it difficult to use without collecting chlorophyll and other undesirable water based components of the cannabis plant. Using the same steps to produce RSO using ethanol results in a dark-green and almost black oil. This process and resulting extract is known as Full Extract Cannabis Oil (FECO). These extracts are meant to be used orally, topically, or in suppositories and are not suitable for smoking. The Naptha in the original RSO recipe makes it a very unhealthy choice for inhalation, while the plant matter in RSO and FECO made with ethanol make the oil unsuitable for a quality smoke.
There are many people that will disagree with me equating RSO and FECO as the same thing, but that’s ok as I’m not afraid of people disagreeing. The reason I’m addressing them the same here is that now they are both made with food grade ethanol, and if you make either of them with ethanol, without augmenting the process and changing the way the cannabis is handled before extraction, both operations will result in a green full plant extraction. The only difference will be how long it soaks and how dark green it gets. To avoid green color when extracting with ethanol you must freeze materials before extraction and this has never been part of neither the RSO nor FECO practice. Thus, when using ethanol RSO and FECO are the same to me, and for the remainder of this blog, and probably for the rest of my life, I will refer to this kind of deep, medicinal extraction as FECO and I’d advise others to do the same.
FECO is a full extraction, differing from what’s commonly used for smoking or clean edibles (edibles made without all the green plant taste or color but just as potent). By ‘full extraction’ I refer to the use of a more vigorous wash to bring out the most beneficial compounds of the cannabis plant in the highest efficiency. The longer, vigorous, deep wash results in a very dark extraction. Some people feel the deeper extraction unlocks enough extra medicinal power to make the extra green in the meds acceptable, or even preferred.