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  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  found that THC reduced infection rates too.
Topical therapies containing cannabinoids can also reduce the pain experienced by herpes sufferers, particularly shingles  .
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.
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.
Marijuana Products Can Help Stop The Spread Of Herpes
Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg
You get out of bed in the morning after a long weekend of reefer chiefing shenanigans with a group of friends and spot a mysterious sore festering up on the side of your lip in the bathroom mirror. At first, you brush it off as a battle wound, perhaps something that happened during an overly ambitious bout with a pepperoni pizza. After all, a hardcore case of the marijuana munchies can sometimes wreak havoc on a person’s ability to eat without causing bodily harm. But after a quick Google search during breakfast, you soon realize that the monstrous lesion turning your mouth into a deleted scene from the Toxic Avenger could actually be a dreaded case of herpes.
Toxic Avenger Photo courtesy of IMDB
Courtesy of IMBD
Although the herpes virus is considered a sexually transmitted disease, it can be easily spread through the sharing of joints, vaporizers or any other smoking device. It is one of those super foul social hazards on the scene that does not receive the attention it deserves. Most devout pot smokers, even if they are aware of the risks associated with participating in those ever-so-popular communal smoke sessions, typically do not dwell on the fact that the bowl or bong pressed against their lips might be crawling with cooties.
But they might want to start. Some of the latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that nearly 50 percent of the American population between the ages of 14 and 49 will have contracted this disease before 2018 comes to screeching halt. The consensus is that it’s not really possible these days to swap spit with too many people before turning one’s mouth into a biohazard.
“If you have oral herpes and a cut on your lip, you could easily spread the disease by sharing blunts or joints,” Dr. Carolyn Cegielski, a gastroenterologist from Mississippi, told High Times.
But never fear. Although the herpes virus should be considered a legitimate threat for those cannabis users who share weed with fish-lipping fiends, this vile disease does not have to cripple the concept of social marijuana use. Now, thanks to the legalization of recreational marijuana in a growing number of states, there is a variety of cannabis products on the market that cater to those individuals who no longer wish to share. These creations were not designed to be passed around the room like a bottle of toilet hooch in a Mexican prison. But rather, they are intended to bring a certain level of class and civility to those interested in living a disease free cannabis lifestyle. Here are three innovative products that provide the highs without the herp.
Toast – For The Smokers
Photo courtesy of Toast
Toast is a cannabis cigarette built for the germaphobe. The company devised these fancy low-THC joints to mimic the experience one might have while sipping on a cocktail. Its Original Slices and Gold Pack contain a 2:1 and 4:1 CBD:THC ratio, which provides the user with around 4-6 percent THC per cigarette. Toast is an “all-natural, mildly potent, 100% Cannabis cigarette,” according to company’s website. “While a Slice is designed to be consumed entirely by you, share your pack with friends for a social experience.”
Keef – For The Drinkers
Photo courtesy of Keef Brands
In the same way that members of civil society do not share their beers with others, Keef Brands has taken this concept to cannabis. The company has a variety of THC-infused soda’s and flavored sparkling water. Each beverage contains 10mg of of the intoxicating compound, so they are perfect for moderating a buzz, sip by sip, without getting too stoned, too fast. It is also the low dose of these concoctions that prevents party leeches and deadbeat friends from gaining any benefit whatsoever by stealing a swig when you’re not looking. Of course, we advise never leaving a drink unattended.
Kiva – For The Chocolate Lovers
Photo courtesy of Kiva Confections
Edible cannabis products are a solid purchase for any pot enthusiast trying to catch a buzz without encountering the mouths of others. Kiva Confections has an impressive variety of chocolate bars that, if used properly, can provide the user with a nice, consistent high without risking a lifelong virus. Each bar comes with 100 mg of THC, but they are sectioned off into 5 mg servings — making them very microdose friendly. Technically, these chocolate bars can broken in half and shared with others. But thankfully, no mouth contact is necessary.
Remember — marijuana buzzes wear off, but herpes is forever.
I am a freelance writer hailing from the darkest depths of the armpit of America. That’s Southern Indiana, just in case you were wondering. When I’m not carving out a…
I am a freelance writer hailing from the darkest depths of the armpit of America. That’s Southern Indiana, just in case you were wondering. When I’m not carving out a juicy story for various publications including High Times, Cannabis Now, and BroBible, you can find me down at the local tavern watching the Indiana Pacers, drowning my sorrows in the greasy comforts of a cheese double cheese with cheese. My qualifications are simple. I’ve been on the cannabis scene for the past six years. My work has appeared in Playboy’s Smoking Jacket, Mashable, Salon, and the New York Daily News, just to name a few. I also got really stoned one night with former Pantera vocalist Phil Anselmo and showed up for work the next day like it was nothing at all. Not as easy as it sounds. In addition to my coverage of the mad, mad world of cannabis legalization and the culture that exists around it, I am currently writing my first novel, which I hope will earn me enough money to never be seen or heard from again. Wish me luck!
Although the herpes virus is considered a sexually transmitted disease, it can easily be spread through the sharing of joints, vaporizers or any other smoking device. But there are some cannabis products that can help prevent the spread of this disease.