weed and herpes

Can Cannabis Help Treat The Symptoms Of Herpes?

Published : Sep 15, 2018
Categories : Medical cannabis

Herpes is a lifelong condition with a great deal of social stigma attached to it, even though it affects a huge portion of Western society. Could cannabis be the answer for boosting the immune system and treating the symptoms?

There’s nothing better than sharing a couple of bongs or spliffs with a group of friends after a long week. Most of us try not to dwell too much on the fact that a spliff passed around a smoke circle can be contaminated with cooties. The hazards associated with communal smoking often go overlooked, yet it is not uncommon for the occasional social stoner to wake up with a nasty spot on the side of their face.


Herpes is part of a virus family known as the herpes simplex virus. The most commonly found type is herpes simplex 1 (HSV-1), which may well affect up to 95% of the American population. Herpes simplex 2 (HSV-2) is more commonly known as genital herpes, and could affect up to 20% of the US population.

Symptoms of herpes never go away and can often increase in severity when a person is feeling stressed or the immune system is weakened. These symptoms vary in severity and can cause more serious conditions such as genital herpes outbreaks, chickenpox, cold sores, and mono.

If you are affected by herpes, understand that you are by no means alone. Plus, it could give you the perfect opportunity to use cannabis! This is because cannabinoids have excellent potential for reducing stress and boosting the immune system, as well as treating some of the more severe symptoms of the virus.


Herpes is a particularly difficult virus to manage since it can spread easily. HSV-1 spreads through simple skin contact, kissing, and sharing drinks. HSV-2, however, is a sexually transmitted infection. Both forms of herpes require a constant level of management to lessen the symptoms.

Outbreaks of the viral infection can often cause problems in day-to-day life, not just due to pain, but also the social stigma attached to it. Even some of the side effects of pharmaceutical drugs can cause less than desirable reactions such as vomiting, diarrhea, and headaches. The three drugs most commonly prescribed to treat this virus are acyclovir, famciclovir, and valacyclovir.

As a result, many patients look for other, more natural alternatives.


Research into the use of cannabis for preventing outbreaks of herpes has been slim, and there is little clinical data available. However, preliminary studies have shown considerable potential since the early 1980s, and later in 2004. All of the studies showed the same thing: cells treated with THC are able to stop cells infected with HSV-1 or 2 from replicating. If this wasn’t interesting enough, a study conducted in 1991 showed that THC may also reduce the rate of infection.

Pain associated with the symptoms of herpes can be reduced with cannabinoids, and topical therapies have shown promise for reducing the pain associated with shingles. Since cannabis is able to soothe the mental stress that often triggers a herpes outbreak, as well as some of the physical symptoms, cannabinoids are definitely intriguing as a possible future treatment for the condition.


This is going to take some trial and error. If you have a canna-friendly doctor, by all means engage them. Certain strains of medicinal cannabis are bred for their antiviral properties. They might be able to suggest particular strains to start with. This is also a discussion you should have with your local dispensary, even if you are discreet about the actual condition.

Both oral ingestion and smoking or vaporizing will produce different effects that are more or less effective at boosting the immune system. Topical treatments such as THC creams and oils have displayed the ability to stop or reduce the progression of pain and sores caused by the herpes virus.


Some lifestyle changes may be necessary in order to control and manage the symptoms of herpes. The reduction of stress can be managed through maintaining a healthy diet, a regular sleeping pattern, and regular exercise. Since it is a lifelong condition, it is important to think about how lifestyle changes such as regular use of cannabis will affect your everyday life.

Cannabis is being invoked for its therapeutic potential for a wide array of health conditions. Is cannabis effective in treating herpes symptoms?

Marijuana Products Can Help Stop The Spread Of Herpes

Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

You get out of bed in the morning after a long weekend of reefer chiefing shenanigans with a group of friends and spot a mysterious sore festering up on the side of your lip in the bathroom mirror. At first, you brush it off as a battle wound, perhaps something that happened during an overly ambitious bout with a pepperoni pizza. After all, a hardcore case of the marijuana munchies can sometimes wreak havoc on a person’s ability to eat without causing bodily harm. But after a quick Google search during breakfast, you soon realize that the monstrous lesion turning your mouth into a deleted scene from the Toxic Avenger could actually be a dreaded case of herpes.

Toxic Avenger Photo courtesy of IMDB

Courtesy of IMBD

Although the herpes virus is considered a sexually transmitted disease, it can be easily spread through the sharing of joints, vaporizers or any other smoking device. It is one of those super foul social hazards on the scene that does not receive the attention it deserves. Most devout pot smokers, even if they are aware of the risks associated with participating in those ever-so-popular communal smoke sessions, typically do not dwell on the fact that the bowl or bong pressed against their lips might be crawling with cooties.

But they might want to start. Some of the latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that nearly 50 percent of the American population between the ages of 14 and 49 will have contracted this disease before 2018 comes to screeching halt. The consensus is that it’s not really possible these days to swap spit with too many people before turning one’s mouth into a biohazard.

“If you have oral herpes and a cut on your lip, you could easily spread the disease by sharing blunts or joints,” Dr. Carolyn Cegielski, a gastroenterologist from Mississippi, told High Times.

But never fear. Although the herpes virus should be considered a legitimate threat for those cannabis users who share weed with fish-lipping fiends, this vile disease does not have to cripple the concept of social marijuana use. Now, thanks to the legalization of recreational marijuana in a growing number of states, there is a variety of cannabis products on the market that cater to those individuals who no longer wish to share. These creations were not designed to be passed around the room like a bottle of toilet hooch in a Mexican prison. But rather, they are intended to bring a certain level of class and civility to those interested in living a disease free cannabis lifestyle. Here are three innovative products that provide the highs without the herp.

Toast – For The Smokers

Photo courtesy of Toast

Toast is a cannabis cigarette built for the germaphobe. The company devised these fancy low-THC joints to mimic the experience one might have while sipping on a cocktail. Its Original Slices and Gold Pack contain a 2:1 and 4:1 CBD:THC ratio, which provides the user with around 4-6 percent THC per cigarette. Toast is an “all-natural, mildly potent, 100% Cannabis cigarette,” according to company’s website. “While a Slice is designed to be consumed entirely by you, share your pack with friends for a social experience.”

Keef – For The Drinkers

Photo courtesy of Keef Brands

In the same way that members of civil society do not share their beers with others, Keef Brands has taken this concept to cannabis. The company has a variety of THC-infused soda’s and flavored sparkling water. Each beverage contains 10mg of of the intoxicating compound, so they are perfect for moderating a buzz, sip by sip, without getting too stoned, too fast. It is also the low dose of these concoctions that prevents party leeches and deadbeat friends from gaining any benefit whatsoever by stealing a swig when you’re not looking. Of course, we advise never leaving a drink unattended.

Kiva – For The Chocolate Lovers

Photo courtesy of Kiva Confections

Edible cannabis products are a solid purchase for any pot enthusiast trying to catch a buzz without encountering the mouths of others. Kiva Confections has an impressive variety of chocolate bars that, if used properly, can provide the user with a nice, consistent high without risking a lifelong virus. Each bar comes with 100 mg of THC, but they are sectioned off into 5 mg servings — making them very microdose friendly. Technically, these chocolate bars can broken in half and shared with others. But thankfully, no mouth contact is necessary.

Remember — marijuana buzzes wear off, but herpes is forever.

I am a freelance writer hailing from the darkest depths of the armpit of America. That’s Southern Indiana, just in case you were wondering. When I’m not carving out a…

I am a freelance writer hailing from the darkest depths of the armpit of America. That’s Southern Indiana, just in case you were wondering. When I’m not carving out a juicy story for various publications including High Times, Cannabis Now, and BroBible, you can find me down at the local tavern watching the Indiana Pacers, drowning my sorrows in the greasy comforts of a cheese double cheese with cheese. My qualifications are simple. I’ve been on the cannabis scene for the past six years. My work has appeared in Playboy’s Smoking Jacket, Mashable, Salon, and the New York Daily News, just to name a few. I also got really stoned one night with former Pantera vocalist Phil Anselmo and showed up for work the next day like it was nothing at all. Not as easy as it sounds. In addition to my coverage of the mad, mad world of cannabis legalization and the culture that exists around it, I am currently writing my first novel, which I hope will earn me enough money to never be seen or heard from again. Wish me luck!

Although the herpes virus is considered a sexually transmitted disease, it can easily be spread through the sharing of joints, vaporizers or any other smoking device. But there are some cannabis products that can help prevent the spread of this disease.