Herpes is extremely infectious and almost impossible to treat. It is considered that once you get this infection, you get it for your whole life. It can stay latent and hide from your immune system, but once the symptoms reveal themselves, the illness brings much discomfort. Some believe that cannabis can increase the risk of getting the infection. But what if we say that marijuana can instead help treat herpes?
There are two kinds of Herpes simplex virus (HSV): HSV-1 produces cold sores, which are small, open wounds around the mouth or right on the lips; HSV-2 produces fever blisters on genitals. Both kinds of the virus are extremely contagious and ubiquitous.
Both kinds of the herpes virus can be acquired sexually or transmitted by contact with an infected area of the skin. Since the symptoms of the virus are not always obvious and the disease can even develop without any symptoms, the chances of getting the infection are high.
The symptomatic stage of the HSV-2 brings large discomfort to the person: they may experience intense itching, pain, fever, muscle ache, they also may get open sores and blisters on the genitals and buttocks areas.
However, some people experience only mild symptoms that they can mistake for allergy or insect bites. Nevertheless, even these blisters are extremely contagious and very difficult to cure.
That is why it is not recommended to share a joint with other people if you or they have HSV. But at the same time, if you consume marijuana according to all the hygiene rules, it can help you treat your illness.
The studies about the effect of cannabis on HSV-1 and HSV-2 started several decades ago, when the researchers studied frequent recurrences of herpes virus infections among cannabis smokers. It initiated more studies about the relationship between cannabis and HSV, and already in 1991 the scientists found out that TCH indeed could reduce the infectivity of herpes simplex virus by 80%.
Another study reveals how exactly cannabis inhibits the viability of HSV. THC suppresses HSV-2 maturation and transport mechanisms and inhibits glycoprotein synthesis that is responsible for virus' infectivity without causing any effect on poliovirus or adenovirus type 2. It is interesting that the study showed that THC influence on the virus depended on the presence of serum proteins. Plus, it worked only if the concentration of THC was high; low level of THC caused no effect on viral particles at all.
The factors that activate viral replication of herpes are also the object of molecular biological studies. The scientists found out that latent HSV is activated by transcription factors and certain extracellular signals: open reading frame 50 facilitates viral replication, so the virus can get to the host organisms easier.
The review made by Center for Substance Abuse Research investigated the immunomodulating benefits of THC. This cannabinoid interacts with CB2 receptors, therefore, it has the possibility of altering the immune function without psychoactive effects.
One of the studies conducted on monkeys in 2004 found the THC treatment inhibited cancer-causing HSV replication. They proved that micro-dosing of THC could inhibit Epstein-Barr virus reactivation and other similar viral strains. However, every virus requires different amount and concentration of THC.
For instance, the dose of THC that is effective against gamma HSV is helpless against HSV-1. However, if the dose is right, THC can be effective against all kinds of HSV.
So, once THC is in the system, it can slow or inhibit viral replication of HSV. Moreover, marijuana does not have those side-effects that are usually associated with the medicine that is prescribed to treat HSV infections. Cannabis is safe, it works directly on the virus, but the anti-viral benefits of cannabinoids against HSV are something that still needs to be examined more thoroughly.
For now, we know that THC can suppress HSV replication, but we still do not know about all the actions of THC against HSV and whether other cannabinoids (CBD, CBN) have any influence on treating the disease.
Even though not all the details of the relationship between cannabis and HSV are clear, it is not the reason to suffer from the symptoms of the disease. There is a number of different cannabis-based oils and balms that treat painful cold sores (HSV-1) and genital lesions (HSV-2). At least, cannabis is much safer than other medicine used for this purpose, which is commonly considered unacceptably toxic.
If you do not trust local products, you can try an herbal formulation that has been patented as a potential treatment for HSV symptoms. This medicine consists of cannabis oil and root extracts. A patient should first apply the oil onto the lesion area, then cover it with cannabis root fibers, and fasten the band with the help of the medical gauze. It is recommended to leave the bandage there for 24 hours. This procedure may have to be done two or three times. You can expect the healing of the lesion area and no recurrence of the disease after three days of applying this product.
You can also google different cannabis-based cosmetics or cold sore treatments made of hemp, or ask the local budtender in a dispensary about them. Some companies issue easy-to-use lip balms that can significantly reduce outbreaks and healing time.
It is better not to let the disease develop untreated, especially because the treatment is easily available online. No need to suffer, marijuana comes to the rescue.