How Does Medical Marijuana Help With and Treat Shingles (Herpes Zoster)?

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Treating Shingles With Medical Marijuana and the Best Strains For It.

Overview

Shingles in a common disease that 1 in 3 people develop during their lifetime. In the Unites States alone, an estimated 1 million people are diagnosed with shingles each year. Shingles which is also referred to as Herpes zoster, is an infection that is caused by varicella-zoster virus. It should be noted that varicella is also the same virus that causes chickenpox and this explains why anyone who has recovered from chickenpox can develop shingles. 

After a chickenpox infection, it is possible for the shingles causing virus to live in the nervous system for many years before reactivating as shingles. However, it is also possible for the virus to lay dominant for many years and many adults with the dominant virus are likely not to experience any outbreak of shingles.

Shingles may also reactivate many times in some people. Even though shingles is common in adults above 50 years old, the virus may reappear in people of all ages as long as they have previously had chickenpox. The most common symptom of shingles is pain, which could be dull, burning, gnawing pain, sharp and sometimes comes and goes. Also a blistering rash may be another symptom of shingles. The rashes typically appear in one or more distinct bands known as dermatomes. 

Other common symptoms of shingles include fever, muscle pain and weakness, headaches, fatigue, joint pain, difficulties in urinating, upset stomach swollen glands (lymph nodes), malaise, nausea and chills etc. There exist vaccines that can prevent shingles. 

Currently, there is no way to eliminate the shingles or Herpes zoster virus from the body even though there are ways to ease the symptoms. For instance, prescription pain killing medications are sometimes used to ease the pain caused by shingles. Similarly, Antihistamines can be used to alleviate itching of the rashes caused by shingles.

Treating Shingles, Herpes Zoster, with Medical Cannabis

Can cannabis help treat Shingles?

Medical marijuana has been linked to the treatment of shingles. It should be noted that shingles cause pain by attacking nerve cells and traditional painkiller medications like morphine do not work well in alleviating pains associated with Shingles because the condition has been reported to be damaging to receptors that would normally make it possible for traditional painkillers to alleviate the pain. However, medical marijuana has been reported to be effective in providing pain relief to patients with shingles. 

This assertion can be explained by the fact that the receptors for cannabis are located throughout the body and cannot be attacked by the shingles virus. Medical marijuana can also reduce inflammation, which is a major symptom of Shingles. Researchers have investigated various actions that make it possible for medical marijuana to provide pain relief and anti-inflammation to shingles patients.

First of all, the natural endocannabinoid system in the body has neuroprotective functions that can fight nerve inflammation and damage. This natural endocannabinoid system can be activated by medical marijuana. When the CB1 receptor in the body is activated, cannabinoids derived from medical marijuana can then encourage these neuroprotective actions that act against inflammations.

Also, most traditional pain killers have been reported to have adverse effects on the body. For instance, Morphine is detrimental to the body’s ability to fight against pain on its own. Similarly, it has been proven that the long term use of opioids interferes with the actions of the body’s natural endocannabinoids, especially once it has developed tolerance to opioids. Rather, medical marijuana could be an alternative treatment of pain as it has fewer side effects.

Furthermore, the body generally has two known cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2). CB1 is said to be frequently found in the nervous system, notably in the cerebellum and basal ganglia, where the pain caused by shingles originates. Of course, activating CB1 receptors results in significant reduction in neuroinflammation.

Even though there is not enough clinical data to show how effective medical marijuana can be in the treatment of Herpes zoster or shingles, a few studies have pointed to that direction. According to an earlier study that dates back as far as 1980 and was repeated in 1991 and 2004 respectively, cells infected with the herpes zoster virus often stop replicating when treated with THC, a substance found in medical marijuana.

Another study that was carried out in 1991 and published through the US National Library of Medicine revealed that THC also reduces the infection rates of herpes zoster.

It is therefore apparent that more research needs to be conducted to ascertain the extent to which medical marijuana can be effectively used to treat the symptoms of herpes zosters. That said, some trains of medical marijuana are more effective in the fight against shingles than others.

Sources:

Marijuana strains reported to help with Shingles (Herpes Zoster):

Some of the best marijuana strains for spasticity patients include:

How To Get a Med Marijuana Card for Shingles

If you are a resident of a legal state and want medical marijuana to help treat treat Shingles (Herpes Zoster) or other medical conditions, you will first need to consult with a certified doctor in order to get your med card. 

To get started, simply fill out the MMJ patient registration form, press submit and a physician or clinic representative will contact you as available.

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