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Cannabis And Herpes: How It Can Help

Herpes is an incurable virus. However, it may be that cannabis can help. And in fact, it appears that it can help treat symptoms, as well as potentially prevent viral outbreaks in the first place.

Herpes is not just one disease or condition. It is actually a virus family. It is, however, responsible for several serious and chronic human ailments. These include chickenpox, cold sores, genital herpes, and mono. When you are infected, the virus never goes away. Additionally, symptoms tend to pop up when the body undergoes severe stress. That includes when the immune system is depressed.

The most common forms of the virus are herpes simplex 1 and herpes simplex 2 (or HSV-1 and HSV-2). Oral herpes (HSV-1) might be present in between 30-95% of the population. About 20% of the US population has genital herpes (HSV-2).

The good news? It appears that cannabis might be able to treat these conditions. Why? Not only does cannabis have immune-boosting properties, it can also relieve stress in the first place. Cannabinoids appear to reduce the infectiousness of the virus, as well as some of its worst symptoms.

A LOWDOWN ON HERPES

Herpes is a chronic condition – one attached to a huge amount of social stigma, beyond just becoming infected. That can make disease management really difficult. Herpes is highly contagious. Oral herpes is spread fairly easily through simple contact. Sharing a lipstick or kissing can spread it. Unprotected oral sex is another major channel of transmission.

HSV-1 causes cold sores. These can be acquired through simple skin contact. HSV-2 comes from sexually transmitted infection. This causes painful sores on the genitals. Worse? This is a condition that comes back repeatedly and largely unannounced. The virus is reactivated with stress. This can include anything from menstruation to fatigue. It can also include overexposure to the sun.

For those who suffer, it is a constant management battle to keep the condition at bay.

No matter how it occurs, viral outbreaks can interfere with daily functioning and life in general. It is often embarrassing, painful, or both. There is still a great deal of stigma around sexually transmitted herpes in particular.

The three main drugs used to treat this virus all have serious side effects. Acyclovir, famciclovir, and valacyclovir are the drugs most commonly prescribed. They can also cause headaches and diarrhea. Vomiting is common. In the worst cases, they can actually affect one’s psychology.

As a result, many sufferers look for other, more natural alternatives.

Cannabis is one of the main drugs they also turn to.

CAN CANNABIS TREAT HERPES?

The good news? It appears that cannabis certainly might help. Starting with preventing outbreaks in the first place. While clinical data is still hard to come by (of course), what is available already shows significant promise. Early studies [1] dating from 1980 and later repeated in 1991 and 2004 show the same thing: cells infected with either HSV-1 or 2 stopped replicating when treated with THC.

Even more exciting? A 1991 study [2] found that THC reduced infection rates too.

Topical therapies containing cannabinoids can also reduce the pain experienced by herpes sufferers, particularly shingles [3] .

All in all, cannabinoids seem to have exactly the right properties required to fight outbreaks of the virus. Cannabis also appears to be able to address, if not treat, physical and mental stressors that can cause its re-emergence.

HOW DO I FIGURE OUT WHAT KIND OF CANNABIS IS RIGHT?

This is going to take some trial and error. If you have a canna-friendly doctor, by all means engage them. They might be able to suggest particular strains to help you start with. This is also a discussion you should have with your local dispensary, even if you are discreet about the actual condition.

It is likely that you will find both internal and external applications of cannabis to help your condition. By ingesting cannabinoids orally or smoking them, you are in fact boosting your immune system already. Cannabis also has strong anti-viral properties. Certain medical strains are even bred for this trait.

On top of this, consider topical treatment. THC oils and creams, even if you make them yourself, appear to halt both the progression and pain from sores.

OTHER TREATMENTS

Having the herpes virus means managing a life-long chronic condition. That means there are other lifestyle changes necessary to control the worst symptoms. Maintaining a healthy diet, regularly exercising, and getting enough sleep are critical.

When integrating medical cannabis into herpes management, also consider how this will fit into the healthy lifestyle choices you are now making.

While it may be difficult to hear the diagnosis at first, this too shall pass. Many people who are exposed to the virus are able to manage it with some lifestyle adjustments. And the best news of all? This is a condition that appears to be significantly more manageable with cannabis.

Medical use of cannabis appears to dramatically help herpes sufferers. First, it helps treat symptoms. But it may prevent outbreaks from flaring up too.

Can Cannabis Help Treat The Symptoms Of Herpes?

Published : Sep 15, 2018
Categories : Medical cannabis

Herpes is a lifelong condition with a great deal of social stigma attached to it, even though it affects a huge portion of Western society. Could cannabis be the answer for boosting the immune system and treating the symptoms?

There’s nothing better than sharing a couple of bongs or spliffs with a group of friends after a long week. Most of us try not to dwell too much on the fact that a spliff passed around a smoke circle can be contaminated with cooties. The hazards associated with communal smoking often go overlooked, yet it is not uncommon for the occasional social stoner to wake up with a nasty spot on the side of their face.

WHAT IS HERPES?

Herpes is part of a virus family known as the herpes simplex virus. The most commonly found type is herpes simplex 1 (HSV-1), which may well affect up to 95% of the American population. Herpes simplex 2 (HSV-2) is more commonly known as genital herpes, and could affect up to 20% of the US population.

Symptoms of herpes never go away and can often increase in severity when a person is feeling stressed or the immune system is weakened. These symptoms vary in severity and can cause more serious conditions such as genital herpes outbreaks, chickenpox, cold sores, and mono.

If you are affected by herpes, understand that you are by no means alone. Plus, it could give you the perfect opportunity to use cannabis! This is because cannabinoids have excellent potential for reducing stress and boosting the immune system, as well as treating some of the more severe symptoms of the virus.

HOW IS HERPES SPREAD?

Herpes is a particularly difficult virus to manage since it can spread easily. HSV-1 spreads through simple skin contact, kissing, and sharing drinks. HSV-2, however, is a sexually transmitted infection. Both forms of herpes require a constant level of management to lessen the symptoms.

Outbreaks of the viral infection can often cause problems in day-to-day life, not just due to pain, but also the social stigma attached to it. Even some of the side effects of pharmaceutical drugs can cause less than desirable reactions such as vomiting, diarrhea, and headaches. The three drugs most commonly prescribed to treat this virus are acyclovir, famciclovir, and valacyclovir.

As a result, many patients look for other, more natural alternatives.

HOW CAN CANNABIS HELP TO TREAT HERPES?

Research into the use of cannabis for preventing outbreaks of herpes has been slim, and there is little clinical data available. However, preliminary studies have shown considerable potential since the early 1980s, and later in 2004. All of the studies showed the same thing: cells treated with THC are able to stop cells infected with HSV-1 or 2 from replicating. If this wasn’t interesting enough, a study conducted in 1991 showed that THC may also reduce the rate of infection.

Pain associated with the symptoms of herpes can be reduced with cannabinoids, and topical therapies have shown promise for reducing the pain associated with shingles. Since cannabis is able to soothe the mental stress that often triggers a herpes outbreak, as well as some of the physical symptoms, cannabinoids are definitely intriguing as a possible future treatment for the condition.

WHAT KIND OF CANNABIS IS BEST TO USE?

This is going to take some trial and error. If you have a canna-friendly doctor, by all means engage them. Certain strains of medicinal cannabis are bred for their antiviral properties. They might be able to suggest particular strains to start with. This is also a discussion you should have with your local dispensary, even if you are discreet about the actual condition.

Both oral ingestion and smoking or vaporizing will produce different effects that are more or less effective at boosting the immune system. Topical treatments such as THC creams and oils have displayed the ability to stop or reduce the progression of pain and sores caused by the herpes virus.

OTHER TREATMENTS

Some lifestyle changes may be necessary in order to control and manage the symptoms of herpes. The reduction of stress can be managed through maintaining a healthy diet, a regular sleeping pattern, and regular exercise. Since it is a lifelong condition, it is important to think about how lifestyle changes such as regular use of cannabis will affect your everyday life.

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