Herpes comes in two forms, Type 1, which is oral herpes, and Type 2, which is genital herpes. Herpes in both forms cycles between dormant and active periods. The active phases of the condition are commonly brought by periods of stress, illness, lack of sleep, or some other event that exacerbates the condition which leads to a breakout of sores. Herpes sores can be painful and can also cause other pain associated with urination or itching.
There is no cure for herpes and it can be transmitted through contact with someone else’s sores who has the condition. Most commonly, it is transmitted during active outbreaks. It is often thought that herpes can only be transmitted sexually, but, in its oral form, it can be also transmitted through kissing or even from sharing drinks.
Cannabis can help herpes sufferers in a variety of ways. Medical marijuana can help decrease anxiety surrounding everyday life or big events, which often can trigger outbreaks. Different cannabinoids have different effects on anxiety, with CBD appearing to be the most effective at reducing anxiety. A 2011 study published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology showed that CBD greatly decreased the symptoms experienced by people with social anxiety disorder. CBD also has anti-inflammatory effects that could help to decrease the severity and pain caused by a herpes outbreak.
Physiological measures, like blood pressure and heart rate, as well as personal evaluations showed greatly decreased levels of anxiety in patients who were administered CBD during a public speaking test compared to those who had taken a placebo. The anxiety reducing effects could help decrease the frequency or severity outbreaks, especially leading up to important events that often cause increased stresses.
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THC can help reduce pain caused by an outbreak. Pain experienced by people with herpes is often neuropathic in nature, a kind of pain that cannabis is particularly effective at targeting. A [study by the University of California at Davis]](https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/results/NCT01037088?term=cannabis&rank=14§=X601) found that THC could greatly reduce neuropathic pain experienced by patients, even in the very small concentrations of 3.53% and 1.29% THC. 61% and 57% of people in the study groups who received cannabis for treatment experienced a reduction in their pain, leading the study to conclude that THC has great analgesic effects on neuropathic pain.
Some preliminary studies have also found that THC could even change how the body responds to the herpes virus. THC appears to be able to modulate the body’s immune response to help counter the spread of herpes. THC may help inhibit the synthesis of glycoproteins, which helps with the maturation and spread of the virus.
This means that cannabis could actually help decrease the viruses viability and reduce its spread by up to 80%. Though more research is needed to confirm these findings, the current research does indicate that THC could interfere with viral replication. CBD could also potentially add to cannabis’ potential to block the spread of the virus because of its own anti-microbial properties.