If you had shingles, you know how painful they are. Also, if you had chickenpox in your teenage, you might know the pain of a boil rash, but did you ever know you probably have the shingle virus resting in your body?
Shingles are instigated by the same virus as chickenpox, varicella-zoster. It remains inactive in the body after chickenpox and can be activated at any time, and doctors don’t know what triggers it.
So how will you deal with the rashes and pain? Medications generally have side-effects, and shingles can be quite devastating. That’s why some people mainly focus on CBD for shingles to avoid such negative side-effects that come with shingles medications.
Studies show that cannabidiol or CBD is the non-psychoactive component of the cannabis plant. It might help you to improve the symptoms of everything from depression and anxiety to skin cancer and nerve pain. Now there is preliminary confirmation that shingles can be improved by using CBD productsCBD Oil for Shingles too.
Shingle is a type of rash with shooting pain that shows up only on one side of the body part. It begins with the same virus that causes chickenpox, varicella-zoster.
Commonly, people who have experienced chickenpox earlier can have shingles in the future as the virus remains inactive/dormant in the nerve tissues near your brain and spinal cord after the body experiences chickenpox.
The varicella-zoster virus usually wakes up in a weakened immune system causing shingles. This virus is also known as herpes zoster. A person who is 50 years or older, has HIV, cancer, or is under severe stress, or is taking prescribed medications that weaken the immune system is more likely to catch shingles.
Symptoms of shingles can be raised dots on your face or body that eventually turn into red and painful blisters. They start to dry out over 7 – 10 days. Also, you’ll feel a shooting or stabbing pain, you could have a fever, a tingling feeling in the skin, an upset stomach, or chills. The shingles virus is infectious to people who never had chickenpox and have not been vaccinated.
Antiviral medications might slow down the development of shingles rash and lower your chances of having problems. Famciclovir (Famvir), Valacyclovir (Valtrex), and Acyclovir (Zovirax) would be something your doctor would recommend.
Nonsteroidal and anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen can be used for inflammation and pain. Calamine or Lidocaine lotion can be used to numb the pain of the rashes.
Symptoms of Shingles
Burning pain in an area of the body is the first symptom people notice in Shingles, and the most common symptoms are severe pain. In some cases, people confuse the Shingles pain for other conditions, such as a lung issue or kidney infection, depending on what area of the body it affects. This burning and tingling pain generally lasts for some days.
Next, a red rash also develops. After a few days, the rash forms small clusters of fluid-filled blisters that are terribly itchy and painful. Some people may also experience:
- Sensitivity to light
- Abdominal pain
In most cases, the blisters dry out over after 10 days, and after 3 – 5 weeks, the rash clears.
Risk Factors for Shingles
Not every person who has chickenpox needs to develop shingles. Approximately 1 in 3 (1:3) adults will develop shingles at nearly some point in their lives. Although we don’t know why some people have shingles and others don’t, there are some risk factors to consider. These include:
- Lowered immune system
- Being an older adult (over 50)
- Medications such as steroids
- High amounts of stress
Causes of Shingles
Anyone who had chickenpox in their lives can develop shingles. The virus that causes chickenpox can live inactively in the central nervous system for several years.
Many factors can cause the virus to revive, allowing it to travel through the nerve channels and come out to the skin, forming a painful and itchy, blistery rash.
Science is still uncertain about exactly why this dormant virus reactivates in several people, but most scientists believe that it’s due to a weakened immune system. There are many causes and factors for developing shingles, such as:
- Some medications that weaken the immune system.
- As we grow older, the body’s immune system weakens, thus opening the door for all sorts of complications and diseases.
- Stress can definitely be a significant point in weakening the immune system. A person who had chickenpox can get shingles at any age.
- For instance, a baby developed shingles in her late adolescents due to extreme stress.
- Undergoing treatments that might also weaken the immune system.
Can Shingles Cause Other Complications Too?
1. Yes, it can cause other complications, too; one is skin infections. Shingles begin with a blister and rash. These blisters open up and invite in a complete host of bacteria. To avoid such conditions, keep skin dry and clean and avoid harsh soaps when you’re in the rash phase of shingles.
Prolonged pain after a rash has cleared Post Herpetic Neuralgia. Many sufferers experience pain for more than 3 months after the rash disappears. Some even report experiencing this blistery pain for many years. This pain can present as a stabbing pain, deep ache, pain with a light touch, profound numbness, or painful itching. Exposure to such a pain level can cause victims to develop insomnia, depression, trouble concentrating, and fatigue.
2. The other complication can be neurological symptoms. Some people develop neurological symptoms such as facial paralysis, dizziness, vertigo, inflammation of the brain, and hearing loss.
Although the shingles cases run their course within five weeks, however, there are instances where this is not the case. In people with low body immunity, the episode of such complications may last longer than 5 weeks. This warranties medical attention from your doctor. Also, shingles can produce other complications like,
If you get shingles around the eyes, it can result in eye infections that can also lead to blindness.
It occurs when pain continues in and around the shingles rash area, even after the rash has disappeared.
This happens due to the damage done to the nerves. Sufferers who experience post-herpetic neuralgia might also become depressed or have issues with sleeping due to chronic pain.
Skin infections are also a possibility with shingles. If the rashes are scratched, and the blisters are broken open, the bacteria can enter the skin and create an infection.
Is Shingles Contagious?
Yes, Shingles can be transmitted from person to person when in the blister phase, but under a condition, if someone has never had chickenpox.
Also, you cannot catch shingles from someone; however, the varicella-zoster (chickenpox) virus is highly contagious, i.e., people who are exposed to people with shingles cannot catch it, but they can catch chickenpox.
Once the rash has encrusted, the person is no longer considered infectious but should still practice some cautions. Consider a few things to limit exposure to others when you’re in the blister phase of shingles.
- Try to avoid touching or even scratching the rash area.
- Keep the rash dry, covered, and clean. This is important when blisters are still filled with fluid and/or oozing.
- Avoid anyone who never had chickenpox, nursing and pregnant women, and anyone with a weak immune system.
- Wash your hands more often than usual.
You should consume foods high in lysine and low in arginine when suffering from shingles.
Lysine is an amino acid that counters the effects of arginine, and arginine is a type of amino acid that the virus uses to reproduce in your cells.
So, avoid foods high in arginines such as soy, gelatine, grains, nuts and seeds, dark chocolate, alcohol and caffeine, and specific muscle building supplements.
And consume foods high in lysines like most poultry and meat, yogurt, most cheeses, most fruits (especially mangoes, pears, and apples), and fish.
Using CBD Oil for Shingles
CBD is non-psychoactive, and the primary component of the cannabis plant has been shown to improve many ailments, from depression and anxiety to epilepsy, pain, and even some cancers. Recent studies show that it may also help to reduce symptoms of shingles.
How CBD Interacts with Our Body
CBD affects our bodies because of the endocannabinoid system, which controls physiological functions in mammals in the peripheral organs and central nervous systems. CBD compounds are attached to endocannabinoid receptors in our bodies, which regulate the cell function in many tissue types.
That means CBD oil for shingles helps in the same way. Cannabidiol connects to CBD receptors called CB1. According to a study published in the newsletter Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (2006), the CB1 is found in the skin cells.
CBD comes in many forms, like cream, sprays, oil, edibles, etc. Since shingles arise on the skin, CBD oil for shingles can reduce inflammation and pain. This is because when CBD links to CB1 receptors in the skin, it activates the neuro-protective functions that can fight nerve damage and inflammation.
The Hartford Courant reported (2017) that a Connecticut panel of physicians projected to expand Connecticut’s medical marijuana laws to cover types of conditions that can be treated by the drug, such as fibromyalgia, shingles, rheumatoid arthritis, and muscular dystrophy.
The paper also reported that the daughter of a 95-year-old World War II Navy trouper spoke in a public hearing advising the panel to approve medical marijuana for extreme shingles cases.
According to Regina Walsh, shingles is the one thing that took him down. She read a letter by her father that shingles left him with nerve pain that has overwhelmed him ever since and that medications had no effect on his nerve pain or had unacceptable side effects.
The panel also concluded that shingles should be added to a list of marijuana-treatable diseases, but rejected osteoarthritis, eczema, and severe emphysema.
CBD History and Its Use for Pain
CBD (cannabidiol) is derived from an industrial hemp plant, known as cannabis Sativa.
There is subjective evidence to support cannabis’s use for minimizing Shingles pain management as far back as 2000 B.C.
Numerous people use medical cannabis, also known as medical marijuana, for nerve pain. It contains the same cannabinoids as CBD oil. However, medical marijuana contains THC, which is a psychoactive component not found in CBD items.
A study found that CBD activates CB1 receptors in mice with stress-induced neuroinflammation and excitotoxicity (resulting in the death of neurons tempted by stress-activated amino acids) and improved their symptoms.
As exposure to stress induces neuroinflammation and excitotoxicity in the brain, like how the shingles virus is activated, CBD for shingles can prove helpful.
The researchers decided that the CB1 activation by CBD can be a new therapeutic strategy against neuropsychiatric and neurological pathologies caused by neuroinflammation or excitotoxicity.
Another study published in Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy states that CB1 receptors are more often found in the nervous system, particularly in the basal ganglia and cerebellum, where the shingles virus remains inactive.
Activating the CB1 receptor caused a substantial reduction in neuroinflammation in their study, reaching a conclusion to the study published in Neuropsychopharmacology.
Downsides of Using CBD Oil for Shingles
Although millions of people are already using CBD and cannabis for different reasons, there are some side-effects. CBD is usually well-tolerated because of its non-psychoactive nature. It doesn’t get you high like THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), another component found in cannabis.
However, other common side-effects are changes in appetite, fatigue, and diarrhea. CBD can also intermingle with other medications.
CBD is not controlled or regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, so its dosage may not be accurate as labeled. There have been ongoing CBD oil cases containing THC, which have a substantial effect instead of CBD’s non-psychotropic effect.
Currently, many people are using CBD oil for shingles. Due to its healing properties, there is no concrete research proving that CBD will help decrease shingles symptoms other than reducing pain and being adequately absorbed by the body. Although, it might be worth a shot if you have tried other medicines and nothing seems to be working.