Can marijuana treat herpes?
Herpes comes in many forms. It includes the common chicken pox and a cold sore, but it could also become shingles or an STD. Current medications sometimes work to knock down infections, but they include a long list of side effects.
Marijuana has antiviral qualities, which means certain virus die when exposed to it. Research says the Herpes Viruses are one example. This article discusses the types of herpes and how marijuana can be used to cure an infection.
What Is Herpes
Herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that no sexually active person is immune from. It causes gross, often painful sores (blisters) on the cervix, genitals, mouth, and skin on various parts of the body.
Most carriers of the herpes virus don’t have symptoms, although it is a long-term or chronic condition. It is caused by an infection known as the herpes simplex virus (HSV). There are two types of HSV: HSV-1 (oral herpes) and HSV-2 (genital herpes).
What Causes Herpes
The herpes simplex virus is very contagious. It can be transmitted (passed on) from one person to the next through direct physical contact. An infected adult can give it to their children from early contact, causing them to contract HSV-1 or oral herpes. Infected children carry the virus with them for their entire lives. Others can also contract the virus from them throughout their lifetimes.
General interactions can also cause the HSV-1 virus to infect others. Some of these interactions include kissing (very common), sharing lip glosses and balms and using the same utensils as an infected person. During a person’s herpes outbreak, the chances of spreading the virus are increased greatly. Cold sores are a sign of HSV-1. People with them have high chances of infecting anyone with whom they perform oral sexual activities while the cold sore exists.
The form of the herpes simplex virus that’s contracted through sexual contact is known as HSV-2. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (ADD), 20 percent of the sexually active adults in American have been infected with HSV-2. Most people living with HSV-2 got it by coming into direct physical contact with herpes sores.
AAD also reports that of the people with HSV-1, most contracted it from it from carriers who are asymptomatic, meaning they show no symptoms of herpes (no visible sores).
Age has no limits with this virus, as anyone can contract it. Increased exposure also increases your chances of getting an infection.
When it comes to sexually transmitted herpes simplex virus, people who participate in unprotected sex or other unprotected sexual activities are at greatest risk of getting it. According to experts, condoms are the best form of protection against HSV-2.
Certain people are more likely to contract HSV-2. These include females, those with multiple sex partners and those with a weak immune system. Having another sexually transmitted disease also increases the risk. Children can also be exposed to the virus during childbirth, causing immediate health complications.
Symptoms of Herpes
The “classic” symptoms of herpes are lesions, specifically:
Herpes scientific literature uses the word “lesion” to describe any irregularity or break in the skin. Lesions caused by genital herpes generally look like blisters or pimples. Eventually, they will crust over. In time, they will scab, just like a small open wound.
Many herpes virus carriers don’t experience symptoms during recurring episodes. But, when they do, the symptoms of the virus are the same as what they experienced when they first contracted it. A herpes lesion may look like a pimple or insect bite, or it may be a red spot or what is mistaken as razor burn. Some people even develop ingrown hairs or hemorrhoids.
Herpes lesions caused by HSV2 can be found on the genitals (vulva or penis). The virus can also cause sores in nearby areas. It’s very common for carriers to find lesions between their thighs or buttocks (often confused with hemorrhoids).
Current Treatments for Herpes
Genital herpes outbreaks are treated using a variety of antiviral drugs to help carriers. These drugs were created to help the virus carriers stay free of symptoms for longer periods of time. They are also known to reduce the duration and severity of the symptoms of herpes during flare-ups.
There is no cure for herpes; but, herpes medications can help make life as a carrier easier. The three commonly used drugs on the market are:
- Famciclovir (Famvir)
- Acyclovir (Zovirax)
- Valacyclovir (Valtrex)
These medications are very expensive, not always effective, and require a prescription. Plus, they come with a list of possible side effects, such as nausea, diarrhea, headaches, depression, kidney damage and hair loss.
Marijuana and the Herpes Virus
Marijuana, on the other hand, may be a safe treatment for herpes. Phytocannabinoids are naturally occurring cannabinoids within the marijuana plant. These compounds are anti-inflammatory. So, they help relieve discomfort and pain caused by sores. They also have the ability to kill bacteria and viruses.
Dermatologists often prescribe an antibiotic or an antiviral ointment combined with a corticosteroid ointment to reduce symptoms of the virus and kill it. Cannabis oils mimic such ointment, combining the two without the use of prescription drugs.
Herpes drugs are very expensive. Many HSV-infected patients simply cannot afford the costs of the doctor’s visit needed to get a prescription, or the meds themselves. Cannabis oil gives them a more affordable alternative to treating it, without the side effects caused by herpes drugs.
Previous studies done on tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) show that it moderates the T-cells and immune system within the body. This helps it counter the virus caused by herpes infection.
Cellular transport, maturation and the glycoprotein synthesis of herpes are inhibited by THC. This, in turn, helps to suppress its level of infectiousness and reduces the inflammation responses of the body.
In one study, researchers found that THC was responsible for inactivating the virus itself. While another study shows that THC helped to inhibit the spread of herpes. It specifically targeted the cellular and viral mechanisms required to transmit the virus.
CBD vs. THC
The cannabis plant (also called buds or flowers) contains two main compounds. They are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (Cannabidiol). THC has been proven to help bring relief from pain and itching caused by herpes sores or lesions. However, some carriers prefer not to get high, or have various reasons why THC can’t be introduced into their systems.
On the other hand, CBD does not get you high. Instead, it counteracts the euphoric (high) effects caused by smoking weed or using other medical marijuana products containing THC. It may also help those battling to treat, handle and maintain the herpes virus.
CBD & the Herpes Virus
While there have been studies on the relationship between THC and the Herpes virus, there have not been any on the other cannabinoids, such as CBD and CBG. This means CBD-only products, such as CBD oil, may also help with the symptoms of Herpes. Until more research is done, we may not know for sure.
How to Take Medical Marijuana To Treat Herpes
Marijuana can easily be smoked, vaped or eaten. This may help with the pain involved with herpes. Marijuana oil, either as CBD oil or as a tincture that includes THC, can be used to make medications that can be applied directly to the skin.
These topicals include::
- Marijuana infused honey
can be bought online or made right in your kitchen (Google it). Honey is known to heal wounds, scars, and scabs. Adding medical marijuana to eat helps relieve the itching during the healing process.
- Cannabis Lip Balm
contains the ingredients of marijuana needed to relieve the pain caused by cold sores. It also contains a high level of CBD, which promotes healing.
- Cannabis Creams
have anti-inflammatory benefits that help to heal skin and make it look healthy again. This could help herpes lesions heal without leaving scars while providing soothing relief from itching and pain.
Growing Your Own Medical Marijuana to Treat Herpes
There are four good reasons to grown your own medical marijuana to treat and stop the symptoms of herpes:
- Control Quality
– Growing medical marijuana yourself allows you to control the amount of CBD and THC in your weed, based on the strain you choose.
- More Affordable
– It’s much more expensive to visit the medical marijuana dispensary regularly than it is to grow your own weed.
– Herpes can be painful and uncomfortable. So, going out to the dispensary to get relief can be inconvenient.