Let’s Talk Cold Sores: How CBD Can Help
One morning earlier this year, I woke up to a street full of snow and the driest lips I have ever had. While I was thrilled at the blanket of white covering the ground, I was frustrated by the knowledge that I would have to keep track of a new tube of lip balm while I waited for my lips to heal. Nevertheless, I dutifully applied lip balm throughout the day and assumed I was in the clear. The next morning, however, I realized I was anything but: I had gotten my first cold sore.
For those of us who have had cold sores before, we know how frustrating they can be. Not only does pain erupt at the slightest movement, but your entire mouth is as dry as the Sahara. It’s crazy that something as small as a cold sore can force you to change so many habits, but it’s the truth. Talking and chewing become nearly impossible, not to mention the fancy maneuvering you have to do when putting food in your mouth.
It’s safe to say that I wanted the sore gone stat. Unfortunately, relying on Chapstick to get rid of my cold sore wasn’t going to cut it. I needed to bring out the big guns. I needed CBD.
As soon as I started using Farmer & Chemist CBD to treat my cold sore, I noticed an immense difference. The sore started shrinking overnight and my lips retained moisture that they previously would have ignored. I also noticed that I was more relaxed, as my mind had stopped focusing on the pain of the sore. CBD had proven its versatility yet again.
What are cold sores?
Cold sores are the unsightly result of the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). They are typically categorized by small groups of blisters that gather on the lips, though they can affect other areas. They are usually accompanied by a sore throat and a dry and inflamed mouth. According to an article published in Pediatrics in Review , between 60-95% of adults will experience a cold sore at some point in their lives. The few that don’t truly are the lucky ones.
How can CBD help?
CBD is one of the most versatile wellness products on the market. Two of its most well-documented uses are as an anti-inflammatory and anti-viral—two properties that directly combat cold sores.
When our bodies are attacked by HSV-1, they respond by sending white blood cells to patch up any areas the virus may have damaged. While these blood cells do chase away the unwanted infection, they also cause the inflammation, blisters, and sores typical of a cold sore.
CBD helps by reducing this inflammation and providing relief while simultaneously boosting your body’s natural tendency to fight off malevolent cells. This is done through its interactions with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). If you’re curious to learn more about how CBD works, read our previous blog post “Let’s Talk CBD.”
Topical creams are a cold sore’s worst enemy
There are three products I recommend to aid in your valiant fight against the cold sore: It’s the Balm, Problem Salved, and Steady Going.
The first Farmer & Chemist product I tried on my cold sore was It’s the Balm . No longer did I need to keep track of a small tube of chapstick— It’s the Balm did all I was hoping for, and more.
This is Farmer & Chemist’s CBD-infused balm that is created with beeswax and MCT oil, in addition to essential oils like lavender and eucalyptus. Every few hours, I would place some of the CBD-infused balm directly atop my cold sore. Although it would be a little uncomfortable at first, within a few minutes the relief flooded in.
It’s the Balm is an amazing choice to fight cold sores because it provides both pain relief and moisturization. It’s also easy to use—just scoop out enough balm to liberally cover the afflicted area. Let it sit for a few seconds and wait for the effects to kick in. It’s the Balm comes in three different sizes and concentrations: 1oz with 500mg of CBD, 1oz with 1,000mg of CBD, or 2oz with 2,000mg of CBD.
For the days when the balm wasn’t enough, I supplemented with some Problem Salved . Our anti-inflammatory CBD-infused salve simultaneously moisturizes your lips and fights inflammation, so it’s the perfect warrior against cold sores. It’s also a bit more concentrated than the balm, with 1920mg of CBD in the 1oz package.
Furthermore, Problem Salved also features 0.3% THC, purely to aid in absorption and effectiveness. Pairing CBD with this minimal amount of THC helps cannabinoids bind to your body more effectively, increasing the amount of relief you feel. Don’t worry, it’s not nearly enough to produce any unwanted high.
Tinctures help too!
Although the physical symptoms of cold sores are frustrating and painful, we haven’t talked about the negative effect HSV-1 can have on your mental health—and talk about a stressor. When I had my cold sore, I found that I couldn’t stop thinking about it. My anxiety skyrocketed. Despite my best efforts, thoughts like “ I hope I don’t look too gross,” and “ How long will this cold sore last?” and “ Will I have to eat through a straw for the rest of my life?” kept creeping in. Needless to say, it was exhausting.
This is where Steady Going came in.
Steady Going is our phytocannabinoid-rich tincture that simultaneously gets rid of pain and anxiety. One of the most versatile products on the market, it can be used both topically and orally. Every morning, I would drip a few drops of Orange You Happy directly atop the cold sore, followed by placing a pharmacist recommended dose under my tongue. Placing the tincture on the sore would subdue inflammation and provide pain relief, while the dose under my tongue would aid in soothing any anxiety about the situation as a whole.
There are three flavors of Steady Going: Orange You Happy , Minty Me , and Natural . The Natural flavor contains 1000mg of CBD and absolutely no THC while Orange You Happy and Minty Me consist of 1500mg CBD and 0.3% THC. Never fear, just like Problem Salved, this trace amount of THC is there solely to aid in absorption and effectiveness—it’s not nearly enough to induce any high.
Make cold sores a thing of the past
Cold sores are no fun, but with Farmer & Chemist on your side, you have no reason to stress. Our broad-spectrum CBD products are only the highest quality and ensure that any anxiety about cold sores becomes a thing of the past. So, next time you feel a cold sore coming on, quickly douse the threat with a little It’s the Balm or Problem Salved. You’ll thank me later.
For all your CBD needs, follow us on Facebook and Instagram at @farmer_and_chemist! Or, if you’re a bit more old-fashioned, come visit us in our brick-and-mortar store at 7719 S. Main St. in Midvale, Utah. We can’t wait to see you!
CBD for Herpes: Can it Help Clear up Outbreaks?
Guess what – you probably have herpes. Even if you don’t have any active sores, it’s estimated that approximately 66% of the general population is carrying the Herpes Simplex 1 virus, and approximately 12% is carrying the Herpes Simplex 2 virus, both of which can lead to painful and unsightly breakouts in the oral and genital regions.
What if you do have active sores? Well, we know how incredibly uncomfortable, painful, and embarrassing they can be. We fully understand the need to clear them up as quickly and efficiently as possible.
As it turns out, CBD may be an effective remedy for herpes breakouts. However, it is one that a lot of people have never heard of and would never think of trying. In this article, we’ll talk about what exactly the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) is and how CBD works to both clear up active sores and helps to prevent and suppress breakouts in the future.
The Herpes Simplex Virus: What Is It, Exactly?
There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding herpes and the virus(es) that cause it. Namely, most people want to know whether or not oral herpes (cold sores) and genital herpes are the same.
Yes and no, as it turns out.
In order to quickly and efficiently clear up some of the common myths and inconsistencies surrounding the virus, here’s a short FAQ on all things HSV:
Herpes is a virus, plain and simple. The vast majority of the time it lies dormant in cell bodies in the oral and genital regions. However, things like stress and illness (which suppress the immune system) can cause the virus to flare up. This produces the stereotypical sores and blisters.
- How many different types of herpes are there?
Generally speaking there are two kinds of herpes; HSV Type 1 and HSV Type 2. HSV-1 is by far the more common form of the virus and is the one usually responsible for the common cold sore.
HSV-2 is less common and is the one primarily responsible for breakouts in the genital region.
- Can HSV-1 cause genital herpes? And can HSV-2 cause oral herpes (cold sores)?
Yes – via oral sex, a person can easily get genital herpes from someone with oral herpes (HSV-1). Likewise, a person can get oral herpes from someone with a genital (HSV-2) infection. In fact, it’s estimated that up to 50% of genital herpes cases arise from HSV Type-1 virus. The only way to know which form of the virus is causing lesions is to do a swab and have a laboratory type it.
- How long does herpes last? Does it ever go away?
Unfortunately, once you have HSV, you have it for life; there is no cure. However, the vast majority of the time the virus is in the latent stage, which means it lies dormant in cell bodies. This is why most people who have the virus aren’t even aware of it. When flare-ups do occur, they typically only last a few days.
- Is herpes always contagious?
The herpes virus is highly contagious, but only when the virus is shedding. Viral shedding refers to the progeny that a virus releases when it reproduces.
While contagiousness is much higher during an active breakout, viruses can (and do) shed while dormant. Thus it is entirely possible to contract HSV from someone with no active symptoms.
Herpes is transferred either through saliva (kissing, oral sex, sharing drinks), or direct skin to skin contact.
Conventional Herpes Treatments (Not CBD)
The majority of people with active herpes breakouts simply let the body’s immune system take care of it. The sores generally clear up within several days. However, in instances of severe or especially unsightly/painful breakouts, it is sometimes necessary to seek treatment.
Some common household herpes remedies have included things such as:
- OTC painkillers for pain/soreness relief (acetaminophen, ibuprofen)
- Soaking in salt/sitz baths
- Lip balms with lemon balm or lemon tea compresses
- Natural herbs like rhubarb, sage, peppermint, mint, and witch hazel oils
- Licorice root or licorice powder mixed with water or petroleum jelly (licorice root is a natural antiviral)
- Lysine creams/supplements or echinacea tea/supplements (both are immune-enhancers)
- Milk (which contains lysine and antibodies)
- Vitamin E (oils, ointments) and Vitamin E-rich foods
- Vitamin C and Vitamin C-rich foods (which boost the immune/infection-fighting cells)
There’s also no shortage of over-the-counter cold sore remedies, which include things like medicated ointments (Blistex, Carmex, etc), zinc oxide creams, Orajel (a numbing cream), and Zilactin.
In the most severe cases (or in instances where the sores last longer than a couple of weeks), some doctors will recommend pharmaceutical medications. Acyclovir (Zovirax, Sitavig) is probably the most common herpes prescription medicine. It acts as an antiviral treatment to suppress the actual HSV virus.
Other treatments include drugs like Valtrex and Famvir, which are also both antivirals that act to suppress the activity of HSV. While effective, these medications can cause side effects such as extreme fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Living With Herpes
Though uncomfortable, embarrassing, unsightly, and painful, HSV is not a particularly debilitating virus. As we said, the vast majority of the human population will live their entire lives with it. Many will not ever know it’s even there.
That being said, the presence of either form of the HSV virus can pose a risk of developing other, more serious conditions. Some of these include meningitis, chickenpox (Herpes Zoster virus), Bell’s palsy, and encephalitis. However, these instances are rare and usually only develop in cases where the individual’s immune system is suppressed or compromised.
CBD for Herpes: How It Works
As you’ve probably noticed, all forms of herpes medication act as either an antiviral or an anti-inflammatory. CBD can act as both an antiviral and an anti-inflammatory agent.
A herpes outbreak typically occurs during an illness such as the cold or flu or during heightened periods of emotional stress, menstruation, or immune-suppression caused by other medications. What’s happening is the virus is actively attacking cell tissues in mucous membranes. This is why outbreaks most commonly occur in moist mucosal regions in the mouth and genital areas.
When the virus attacks the surrounding tissue, the cells become severely damaged. This triggers immunoregulatory white blood cells to combat the attack. All of this activity is what causes the pain, inflammation, and physical appearance of herpes sores and blisters.
The cannabinoid functions by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS has receptors in every cell and tissue type in the human body. The primary role of the endocannabinoid system is to regulate and maintain internal homeostasis. Dr. Dustin Sulak of the American Academy of Cannabinoid Medicine has gone so far as to call this endogenous network the “…most important physiologic system involved in establishing and maintaining human health.”
CBD for Herpes: The best treatment methods
Antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties have been discovered in all five of the cannabis plant’s most active chemical compounds. These include:
- CBD (cannabidiol) (cannabigerol) (cannabichromene) (cannabinol)
However, CBD is many people’s preferred choice because it does not display any psychoactive properties. That is, it won’t get you high at all.
As far as treatment methods go, many people like to apply infused topical CBD creams and ointments directly to herpes sores. The quickest and most direct use of CBD for herpes, though, is in the form of oil. CBD oils are more potent than creams and are able to pack more CBD molecules in a smaller volume. Therefore, they are able to fend off HSV pathogens and clear up the inflammatory-induced sores and blisters faster.
If using CBD oil for herpes, pay close attention to the product you’re choosing. For the past three years, the FDA has been issuing warning letters to several companies for advertising “CBD oils” that contain little to none of the active cannabinoid. To help ensure that you’re getting a reliable product that actually has pure CBD, we’ve listed a few of the brands below that we consider the most reliable and most reputable over the last several years.