The herpes simplex viruses that cause oral herpes (cold sores) and genital herpes are known as Simplex I and Simplex II and can be sexually transmitted or transmitted via skin contact. They are a retrovirus, which means they avoid the immune response of the body when it is lying dormant. In a similar way to the way HIV is incurable, herpes avoids detection by inserting itself into the DNA of its host cell.
This might sound like something out of science fiction, but it is genuinely how retroviruses work. They hijack the infected cell to use its own mechanisms to insert itself into the DNA, where it remains dormant until the right conditions arise. There are conditions, or factors that might contribute to trigging the herpes virus. These might be due to stress, infection, or an amount of time has passed, as the regularity with which herpes recurs suggests.
When the cell dies, it bursts and spreads broken bits of cell and viruses all over the surrounding area. This is a clear signal that something is going wrong and the body mounts an immune response. There is extra blood flow to the area, lots of cytokines (immune system proteins) and immune cells flood the surrounding area. The results of herpes are
Eventually, the immune system mops up all the viruses in the bloodstream and kills any detectably infected cells. The inflammation goes down and the herpes sores disappear. However, if only one virus infected a single cell, the virus has not been wiped out and it can easily come back. It usually does when the conditions are right, and the cycle repeats itself.
Modern genetic science is figuring out ways of entering cells and removing or changing the DNA of that cell without killing it. There is a technique called CRISPR which does exactly that. Unfortunately, for the moment, there is no way of getting herpes viruses out of the infected cells. All anyone can do is treat the symptoms associated with the herpes simplex virus.
The two best-known cannabinoids (the neurotransmitters/cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant) are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC gets you high but CBD does not. Studies have shown that both THC and CBD contain therapeutic benefits including anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and antioxidant properties. For this reason, CBD oil and pure THC have been experimented with and heavily studied to try to find a treatment or a cure for herpes.
The findings of several studies point to CBD being significantly useful for treating the symptoms of herpes do due CBD’s medical effects and benefits. One of the problems with taking antiretroviral drugs is that they have some odd and unpleasant effects on the body. CBD, in particular, has very few, as well as not being psychoactive. For this reason, it is being explored extensively for the treatment of the painful sores that herpes causes.
When a small amount of cannabis oil or pure CBD/THC is applied topically to the affected area, the immune system is suppressed in a local way. By reducing the immune response, the itching, swelling, and redness from cold sores decrease. This has the unfortunate side effect of potentially increasing the length of a herpes outbreak. However, for many people, a few extra days of slightly itching herpes instead of a shorter, intensely painful and itching outbreak is a worthy compromise.
CBD does not have psychoactive effects and the herpes-fighting properties can be enjoyed without having to take time off work or driving. THC can cause the ‘high’ effect though, so if that’s not desired, then users are advised to opt for CBD instead. Obtaining CBD, even where it is illegal, is remarkably easy. In countries that have legalized medical marijuana, it can be obtained on prescription or bought from medical marijuana dispensaries.
You can get a hold of CBD legally, it is legal around the world if it comes from the hemp plant and if it contains less than 0.3% of THC. Only take it for your herpes in consultation with your doctor. There can be side effects, and while they are rarely severe or long-lasting, they do exist. CBD may interact poorly with other medications that you take. It’s better to be safe than sorry. So exercise a level of caution, apply just a little to an unaffected part of the skin, on the arm, for example, to test for allergic reactions before applying to the herpes sore.
Figuring how best to treat herpes can be confusing and really frustrating. The use of CBD is a relatively safe choice. Any information about CBD should be taken with a pinch of salt because there is a lot of hype surrounding the drug, especially online. Misinformation is rife, so look for proper scientific studies before seeking out your CBD herpes cure.