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Cannabis For Herpes: A Long-Term Management Tool?

Written by Marguerite Arnold

Cannabis appears to be able to help Herpes sufferers – both in managing outbreak symptoms and preventing them in the first place.

“Herpes” actually is a catch-all term for the herpes virus family. It is a group of viruses behind some of the nastiest chronic conditions for which there is no cure. These include chickenpox, mono, shingles, cold sores and of course, genital herpes. Herpes simplex can be acquired by casual contact (such as cold sores or mono) or sexual contact.

The disease affects soft tissue, skin and mucous membranes. Symptoms include open sores, itching, muscle ache and pain.

Worse – this happens on an ongoing basis post infection. Every time immune systems are compromised, the virus takes the opportunity to flourish. In fact, outbreaks are directly linked to the increase in production of the stress hormone cortisol.

Sufferers have little recourse when it comes to conventional treatment.  Drugs used to treat outbreaks on the upper body and genitals have terrible side effects.

That said, there is now good and growing evidence that cannabis might be the best long-term management medication in patients’ toolbox.

Cannabis appears to not only directly combat symptoms of viral outbreaks, but appears to be able to prevent them in the first place.

Despite early medical hysteria in the early 1970’s claiming that cannabis caused herpes, scientific evidence since then has come to a dramatically different conclusion. Studies dating as far back as the 1980’s show that when cells infected with herpes simplex 1 or 2 virus are exposed to THC, they stop replicating. In 1991, scientists also found that THC application reduced the infectiousness of the virus in cells cultured outside the body. In 2010 a small human trial found that facial cream containing synthetic cannabinoids appeared to help the pain associated with shingles.

So what does all of this mean? Cannabis is still an unconventional treatment for herpes infection and outbreaks. However it is well on its way to becoming a recognized treatment option. And that is good news for those who suffer from the multiple ailments this virus can cause.

[Featured image credit- Pixabay]

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About the author

Marguerite Arnold