HSV-1 and HSV-2 - Can Medical Cannabis Help? | cannabisMD

HSV-1 and HSV-2 – Can Medical Cannabis Help?

Medical Cannabis and treating HSV-1 and HSV-2

Image Credit: Kristiana Gankevych on Shutterstock

Small blisters both occur in oral and genital herpes. These are caused by a HSV known as the Herpes Simplex Virus. There are two types of herpes simplex virus: Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and (HSV-2). HSV-1 is commonly attributed to cold sores in and around the mouth, lip and nose area. HSV-2, on the other hand is associated with herpes on the genitals. In some cases genital herpes can be contracted through HSV-1 via oral sex.

Though weaker immune systems are more prone to bad outbreaks and infected, the viruses are relatively commonplace. HSV-1 is very common. Many adults can be positive for HSV-1 but never suffer from an outbreak even if they carry the virus.

While others can suffer with having regular outbreaks which are due to triggers such as stress. You can contract herpes through direct contact or sexual contact with an infected person. If you are sexually active be sure to use protection against STDs. When the sores are in their ulcer stage, where the skin breaks open, the viruses are at their most infection.

An understood that billions of people 50 years old have the HSV-1 infection globally. An estimated 417 million people people aged between 15 to 49, worldwide, have HSV-2. HSV-1 is not as serious as HSV-2, unless the infection is ocular (in the eye) herpes which can lead to blindness.

What Does the Science Show?

If you put the HSV-1 virus and the HSV-2 virus under a microscope, they look nearly identical. They actually share about 50% of the same DNA and 85% of the same genetic material. Though the DNA shared percentage is relatively minute particularly if you consider humans share 98% of the same DNA with chimps, how the DNA behaves and forms into genes is what makes the viruses so similar. They share major segments of DNA that are used to develop biological functions or genetic material.

Their shared genetic traits mean HSV-1 and HSV-2 behave similarly, but evolutionarily the viruses diverged years ago–presumably when humans begin to have sex face to face. The viruses, thus, share or have similar genes which has a large impact on their appearance and behavior.

What’s the Difference Between HSV-1 & HSV-2?

The Similarities: Both HSV-1 and HSV-2 infect the body’s mucous membranes, normally the mouth or genitals. Once infected, they lie dormant until they become reactivated due to physical or emotional stimuli. When reactivated, the viruses replicate and travel through nerve pathways.

They then surface to the surface of the skin with a physical outbreak or viral shedding. Viral shedding is how both types can be active and pass on to others even when there are no noticeable symptoms.

HSV-1 and HSV-2 present themselves identically so you cannot differentiate the viruses by how the lesions (blisters) look alone. The physical symptoms of HSV-1 and HSV-2 are visibly indistinguishable.

Most herpes infections both oral and genital are asymptomatic. Two-thirds of infected people experience no symptoms at all or symptoms that are too mild to notice and are oblivious to the fact that they are infected.

The Differences: The most critical difference between the types is when and where the virus is dormant in the body. HSV-1 usually is dormant in the nerve cells near the base of the neck. From there, outbreaks tend to occur on the face, most commonly mouth. HSV-2, however, usually is dormant in the nerve cells near the base of the spine. From there, outbreaks tend to occur in the genital–and occasionally anal–region.

Most people are unaware the viruses can infect both locations. After all, more than 30% of new genital herpes infections are the result of the HSV-1 virus. The main reason for the rise in genital HSV-1 infections being the common misconceptions that the types are fundamentally different.

HSV-2 is the most common cause of neonatal herpes, a rare, dangerous infection in newborn babies. HSV-2, unlike HSV-1 rarely spreads to different areas of the body outside its original vicinity–unlike HSV-1. Under most circumstances neither are major threats to health.

There are some clear differences when comparing the two viruses in the location of the infection, risks, and social perceptions. Due to cold sores impacting as much as 95% of the population HSV-1 is less stigmatized than HSV-2. The main area of stigma seems to be in the separation of oral herpes and genital herpes.

Can You Treat Herpes with Medical Cannabis?

Studies have shown that using THC to reduce HSV outbreaks is effective; although, THC is illegal in many countries and states. There are anecdotal claims that suggest CBD is also capable of alleviating the herpes symptoms, but further clinical research is needed.

You can also try suppressives types of therapy as well as modern antiviral medications. Suppressive types of therapy are known to help with the number of outbreaks you suffer from. Therefore if you get rid of herpes but it keeps coming back. This may be a useful potential solution as well as using medical cannabis.

If consider using medical cannabis to treat herpes alone or with a combination of other treatments please seek advice from a doctor/medical professional. CBD and Medical Cannabis can be considered low risk options for treatment as they have very few side effects.

Any side effects felt are usually minor and dos related i.e. using too much can make you feel tired or hungry etc. Please follow the laws of where you reside and follow medical recommended doses.

Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
At cannabisMD we aim to provide you with all the information and knowledge you need to take the next step in your personal cannabis journey! Read about our team

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *