A Guide to Treating Cold Sores with Cannabis and CBD

A Guide To Treating Cold Sores with Cannabis

It’s cold season, but don’t worry. That doesn’t mean it has to be cold sore season. Like a cold, cold sores can be spread to others. Unlike a cold, the virus that causes cold sores likes to stick around for a while. Forever, to be exact. To top this off, cold sores can’t be cured, and they often return. So if you’re suffering from a cold sore, be aware. This virus can be transmitted, and if spreads to someone with a compromised immune system. Prescription treatments are available for cold sores, but can be expensive and, in some cases, make the situation worse. Could cold sores be a job for cannabis and CBD? Science says there is a reason to hope.

Cold sores will most likely appear as small, fluid-filled blisters around your mouth, although they can show up on your nose, cheeks or fingers. They can also show up inside the oral cavity of your mouth and can be mistaken for a canker sore.
So let’s break it down:

  1. Burning and Itching: Cold sores usually begin with an itching or burning sensation in the affected area (typically the lips). This first stage is the best time to start treatment for cold sores.
  2. Blisters: Next, fluid filled blisters will form. These are typically clumped together in groups of tiny blisters. They most commonly appear around the mouth, but can show up in other places in other areas of your face and fingers. Those with severe eczema may experience sores in larger parts of their body.
  3. Scabbing: Once the blisters appear they will then burst like any other blister. This leaves painful open sores all around the affected area. Once the fluid in these blisters ooze out, a scab like crust will form.

The scab is where the most unsightly part of a cold sore comes in, and it can also be irritating to the skin. Having a dry spot on your skin limits the elasticity in that area. This means that, since cold sores commonly affect the mouth area, eating and drinking can become fairly painful ordeals. These movements can reopen the sores, prolonging the healing process. Keeping your cold sore moisturized can help aid in the healing process.

To say that cold sores are painful and inconvenient is an understatement. However, you can count on the first outbreak being your worst. The following outbreaks are typically more mild, and will most likely affect the same area.

Though cold sores can be painful and contagious, they are not fatal for the average healthy individual. Like many viruses cold sores can clear up on their own without treatment. The virus just needs time to run its course. This is all with exception of those who have weak immune systems. The most fragile individuals include babies or those with HIV/AIDS. Certain factors can even trigger a cold sore. These factors include:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Stress
  • Menstruation
  • Eczema

All of the circumstances have something in common: a suppressed immune system. Keeping a healthy immune system is important in fighting off any illness, and cold sores are no exception. A healthy person will have a much easier time fighting off the virus than one with a weak immune system. If you think that you may have a compromised immune system, the help of a doctor could be needed. Seek medical advice if you are experiencing:

  • Cold sores reccurring more frequently than normal
  • You have irritation around the eyes
  • The cold sores don’t heal within a couple of weeks
  • Symptoms become too severe to manage

Who Can Get Cold Sores?

Anyone and everyone can get a cold sore. Cold sores do not discriminate. In fact, 90 percent of all people will get at least one cold sore in their lifetime, and 40 percent of adults will get repeated cold sores.

This doesn’t mean you should constantly worry about contracting cold sores. Most are very mild. However, as previously stated, if you happen to contract HSV-1 (or HSV-2) and your symptoms are severe, treatment may be necessary as eye problems can occur. If you are suffering from HSV-1 and have a fragile immune system, the symptoms could be life threatening. If the infection spreads to the brain it could lead to meningitis or encephalitis.

What are the Cold Sore Risks and Treatments?

While it’s true that cold sores are not a serious illness, it could lead to some pretty life-threatening diseases if you throw caution to the wind too often. Babies and those who are sick are at a greater risk to have severe symptoms Being extra responsible about hygiene (and personal space) when around these individuals is pertinent.

Babies are one of the most obvious examples of those with weak immune systems. One baby in particular is, unfortunately, an example of how scary a simple cold sore can be for a venerable little body.

Mariana Sifrit was less than a week old when she contracted viral meningitis caused by HSV-1. It was believed that Mariana contracted the disease from a kiss by someone infected with HSV. Nicole and Shane Sifrit both tested negative for HSV and were at a loss as to how Mariana became infected.

A week after Mariana was born her parents were married. It was directly after the ceremony that Nicole and Shane noticed that something was terribly wrong with their little girl.

“She had quit breathing, and all her organs just started to fail,” Nicole Sifrit told WHO.

The parents also noticed that Mariana had stopped eating and would not wake up. These are all common early symptoms of meningitis. Babies, with their delicate systems, just can’t fight off something as aggressive as meningitis very easily.

Sadly, Mariana passed away at just 18 days old.

This is an extreme case, and cold sores are certainly not deadly to the general public. However, babies have the most vulnerable immune systems within the first month of their lives and Mariana is, unfortunately, not the only baby to suffer from a kiss of death. Babies are most at risk when dealing with cold sores and precautions should be made when potentially exposing young infants to those who are infected with the HSV-1 virus. Thoroughly washing your hands before handling a baby, and avoiding kissing the infant are two ways to keep HSV from spreading.

Cold sores typically just come and go and are easily managed. However, a recent, and somewhat alarming, report revealed that HSV-1 is actually linked to` more genital herpes than ever before. An estimated 2% of those with HSV-1 have genital herpes.

For the majority of those who suffer from cold sores, it is just a slightly painful annoyance that crops up now and then. Even though cold sores are a mild condition for most, treatments for cold sores are still preferable to suffering through the itching, burning and tingling often associated with the virus.

Though HSV cannot be cured, treatments are available. Often, topical medications are recommended such as the popular drug Abreva. This is an OTC over the counter treatment that helps to speed up the healing process and manage pain. It is applied often throughout the day to achieve optimum results.

Abreva may help to heal a cold sore, but it certainly comes with some side effects of its own. The most common side effect is a headache, but others include burning, dryness, itching, rash, soreness, and swelling.

Many of these side effects are ones are a cold sore sufferer is already trying to avoid. If your treatment is simply making these symptoms worse, then it might be time to search for another treatment.

This is why so many are beginning to turn to cannabis and CBD for help with treating their cold sores.

What is CBD? Cannabidiol or CBD is the non-psychotropic cannabinoid in the cannabis plant. It is receiving some much-earned recognition for its potential ability to treat a variety of illnesses such as addiction, obesity, inflammation, and anxiety just to name a few. It has made its way into the medical limelight, but it still remains controversial.

Why is CBD so popular?
The negative stigma behind marijuana comes from its ability to cause a high in its users. This is due to a particular chemical compound found in the cannabis plant called tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. THC is a psychotropic cannabinoid and is responsible for the euphoric effects associated with marijuana. When THC enters the bloodstream and travels to the brain it binds to the receptors (CB1 & CB2) within endocannabinoid system.

The endocannabinoid system runs throughout the body within the brain and immune system. CB2 receptors are found in both the brain and the immune system but the majority of the receptors are found within the nervous system. As a result these receptors help regulate inflammation and pain which can result in treating some very chronic ailments. CB1 receptors are only found within the brain and they deal with regulating motor functions, emotion, pain, sensory, cognition and sensory perception. As you can imagine when these receptors (CB1) are influenced they can help regulate some very serious conditions such as epilepsy, PTSD, as well as other serious neurological conditions. Furthermore they can also help treat chronic minor ailments such as anxiety.

Some treatments using cannabis can include CBD, THC and in some cases both. THC actually binds to the CB1 receptors while CBD only causes a chemical reaction to tell the endocannabinoid system to produce more CB2 receptors which can go to work at helping our bodies. In the case of both cannabinoids (THC & CBD) being used, when THC binds to the receptors, CBD can dull or completely subdue the high effects provided by THC. This means a much more effective treatment can be produced with many more medical benefits and less negative side effects i.e. getting “stoned” and potentially getting paranoid. Further to this CBD interacts with other receptors we use on a daily basis and also along with other medications. These receptors are PPAR, GPR55, vanilloid and serotonin. When medications both modern (Prozac) and cannabis based interact with these proteins they can potentially treat epilepsy, diabetes and other serious illnesses.

Cannabis is making its way into scientific studies left and right. The more CBD and THC are researched, the more potential it seems to have in improving health care. But could cold sores be among the illnesses that can be treated with cannabis?

Let’s take a look at some of the studies done on cannabis and cold sores.

While the studies performed so far are not exactly solid, they do give a very good foundation for more proper scientific trials to be done in the future.

From a viral standpoint, THC has shown some promise in inhibiting HSV-2-specific (genital herpes) glycoproteins synthesis, maturation, and transport mechanisms. In other words, when THC was applied to HSV-2, it appeared to slow down the growth of the virus and suppress its ability to infect. This was a fairly reliable study, but still not enough evidence to come out and say that THC is the miracle cure for cold sore.

Further Research

THC can also work with the CB2 receptors in the brain which are responsible for the immune system. Because of this handy function, THC can affect the CB2 receptors in a way that can potentially dampen the immune response to many infections. Since a cold sore is an infection, logically we could apply this information to cold sores as well.

As yet, we do not officially have enough evidence whether CBD could be considered a viable option for HSV. However, we do have evidence that CBD is an effective anti-inflammatory. This information alone can open a lot of doors for many different illnesses, and cold sores are no exception. Studies on CBD for inflammation have been done for skin health and revealed that CBD can help with conditions such as psoriasis. This gives us reason to think that it may help in other matters of skin health.

We certainly need clinical trials and scientific research on a larger scale to fully prove the effectiveness of cannabis use on HSV. We do, however, have enough evidence here to justify taking a more in-depth look at cannabis for cold sore treatments.

The good news is that you don’t need to wait for researchers to catch up. Trying a cannabis product such as CBD topical treatments could help with the symptoms of a cold sore. With little to no side effects, it certainly doesn’t hurt to try CBD oil to see if it could help treat your cold sores. This is especially true if other treatments seem to be ineffective for you.

There are many over-the-counter and natural remedies out there. CBD oil or other cannabis products could quite possibly be the treatment you’ve wanting.

Does CBD peak your interest? Find out more about CBD by reading Can CBD help cure my cold sores?

Natural Remedy for Cold Sores

Aside from over-the-counter medications such as Abreva, there are also a few all-natural treatments for cold sores out there. Many have to do with diet change, and some are topical solutions. Here is a list of a few treatments that may bring relief from a cold sore.

Avoid Coffee: Coffee is said to encourage cold sores. Those who are prone to cold sores may find that cutting their coffee intake could make a difference in their outbreak frequencies.

Vitamin C: Vitamin C is great for all-around immune health, but it plays an important part in healing cold sores. Taking vitamin C powder along with citrus bioflavonoids could greatly reduce sores.

Vitamin E: Applying vitamin E topically can help to heal a cold sore and reduce pain.

Yogurt: One very important remedy for treating cold sores is eating yogurt. Plain yogurt with acidophilus can help to reduce or eliminate cold sore breakouts. Yogurt also contains lysine, which is another natural treatment for cold sores.

L- Lysine: This is a popular natural cold sore treatment. L-Lysine is an essential amino acid that many people are finding useful in treating cold sores. Some say that it helps lower the frequency of their outbreaks, while others say that it simply shortens the period of time in which their cold sores last.

Licorice: The glycyrrhizic acid found in licorice has shown to actually stop the virus cells that cause cold sores. This isn’t to say that snacking on any licorice candy with help your cold sore. You need to make sure that what you are eating actually contain licorice and not just anise flavoring. Licorice powder can also be added to cream and applied to the affected area as protection from further infection.

Natural remedies can be amazing ways to keep your health in check. There are so many ways that we can heal our bodies by simply changing our diets or trying a new supplement. But when treating something like a cold sore, it is nice to be able to take one single remedy and be done.

When treating a cold sore controlling the spread of the virus itself is a huge worry for many. Besides this, the pain and inflammation experienced by those who get cold sores can be extremely uncomfortable. When looking at a good all-around cold sore remedy, cannabis may just fit the bill.

Instead of taking vitamin E to reduce pain, yogurt to control breakouts, and vitamin C for immune health, why not try to bundle these benefits into one simple remedy? This is why cannabis is something worth considering.

Despite the lack of scientific research on CBD on cold sores, many people are finding relief from their cold sore symptoms by trying CBD oil. If you’re that person who is searching for relief from your cold sore outbreaks, try thinking outside of the drug store. With little to no side effects linked to CBD, you almost can’t afford not to try it.

Want to explore some CBD products that may help with that pesky cold sore? Read Using CBD Cream To Treat Cold Sores, for more information.

Cold sores are extremely common and will more likely than not affect you or those around you. Though most of the population will only experience a cold sore once (not multiple breakouts) this should still be a topic of concern on an international level. Research on effective treatments is vital in keeping a leash on HSV infections. Cannabis has proved itself time and time again. CBD oil products even have the support of the World Health Organization (WHO) and are often used on children because of the mildness of CBD. The effectiveness of CBD in healthcare has been proven; now we just need to delve a little deeper into the specifics of its use as a cold sore remedy. A CBD treatment for HSV is likely just around the corner.

As with all medicinal substances, please consult a physician before using any cannabis products.

Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
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