Studies suggest cannabis could treat herpes virus
Herpes simplex virus (HSV) is a common viral infection that anyone can contract sexually from an infected person. Herpes most commonly affects the skin and membranes of the genitals. For some time now many patients have been using the herb topically. Cannabis can treat skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis. Now, recent research is providing some evidence that the herb can treat herpes outbreaks.
What is the herpes virus?
Herpes is a disease that can affect anyone at some point in their life. Once you have the herpes virus, you can have recurring herpes outbreaks on a regular basis. Especially during periods of fatigue or stress. The herpes virus family resides in a group of viruses responsible for many human ailments. Some of them include chickenpox, shingles, common cold sores, genital herpes, and the Epstein-Barr virus (infectious mononucleosis).
Symptoms appear when the immune system is suppressed, especially during an episode of stress. This is why cold sores and other herpes are linked to times of stress when increased production of cortisol decreases immune function. A herpes outbreak is embarrassing and bothersome in everyday life. In those affected, the virus is present in the body at all times
Symptoms can include blisters, open sores, pain, fever, itching, and pain. This viral disease that occurs with herpes can have different locations and manifestations.
Herpes can be localized:
- on the skin (herpes labialis) and mucous membranes (oral herpes): in this case the virus is HSV1 (Herpes Simplex Virus 1),
- at the level of the genitals: in this case, it is HSV2 (Herpes Simplex Virus 2).
The virus can touch:
- the external parts of the individual,
- but also the internal parts (nervous system, stomach, liver, etc.)
The manifestations of herpes are often:
- pimples (in some cases, the cold sore on the lip may be herpes),
- rash with or without itching,
- burns (eg genital herpes), vesicles.
Herpes simplex 1 is the common cold sore, which is acquired by skin contact with the virus. Herpes simplex 2 is considered a sexually transmitted infection and causes severe pain in the genitals.
Chickenpox and infectious mononucleosis (Epstein-Barr virus) have their own standard treatments. But all of these drugs can be accompanied by rare but serious side effects… Acyclovir, for example, has been linked to mental changes and hallucinations. Although nausea, vomiting, headache and diarrhea are more common.
Whatever the reason, many patients are eager to find other treatment options. Fortunately, a unique natural option may be on the horizon. However, clinical evidence shows that cannabis can relieve this kind of inflammation. The available research does not come from human clinical trials. In fact, most of them are of poor quality. But the idea of using cannabis products to treat herpes was introduced some time ago.
A study published in 1980 treats human cells grown outside the body (in vitro) with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The cells were infected with herpes simplex 1 (HVS-1) or herpes simplex 2 (HVS-2). After the administration of THC, both forms of the herpes virus stopped replicating. Similar results were reported in research from 1991 and 2004. In 1991 study, scientists have found that THC reduces the infectivity of the genital herpes virus. Except that the study involved cells grown outside the body. The 2004 study also revealed that THC treatment reduces the replication of herpes family viruses in vitro.
A small study on humans in 2010 tested a facial cream containing synthetic cannabinoids against postherpetic neuralgia. Post-herpetic neuralgia is a painful condition that is one of the most common complications of acute herpes zoster infection. Treatment with cannabinoids has been very successful. Five of the eight participants experienced an average reduction in pain of 87,8%, which is quite impressive. Topical cannabis cream was well tolerated and did not produce any adverse effects.