Postherpetic Neuralgia

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Cannabis and CBD for Postherpetic Neuralgia

If you’ve had shingles before, you’re aware of the pain that comes with them. But, if your pain is severe and doesn’t go away or comes back after your rash has cleared up, you may be struggling with nerve pain postherpetic neuralgia (PHN).

What is Postherpetic Neuralgia

The most severe complication of shingles is Postherpetic Neuralgia (PHN). This damages the fibers and skin of the nervous, which causes painful pain which goes on long after the rash and the blisters of shingles fade.

Although shingles affect older people with approximately 68% of shingles who are over the age of 50, it can affect people of all ages. Shingles are also caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. Shingles can only occur in people with chickenpox or a measles vaccine. The only way to get PHN is to have herpes zoster first, a virus that causes chickenpox and shingles. PHN is believed to be responsible for damage to or modification to nerves that conveyed information about brain pain while the HZ virus is moving from the nerves to the body.

The length of patients experiencing PHN varies for those few; most patients with PHN have pain for 1 to 2 months. The length is unpredictable. About a third of patients with PHN have 3 months and about 5 months or longer symptoms.


Symptoms are usually limited to the area of the skin where the first outbreak of shingles occurred and may include:

Sharp burning, shooting, jabbing pain from time to time

  • Burning or squeezing, or feeling discomfort continuously
  • Extreme sensitivity to touch
  • Extreme sensitivity to temperature change
  • Itching
  • Numbness
  • Headaches

Other symptoms may include:

Pain that lasts three months or longer after shingles have healed. The associated pain was described as burning, sharp and jabbing, or deep and painful. Sensitivity to light touches. Those who have a disease often cannot even stand the touch of clothes in their infected skin (allodynia), causing scratching and numbness.

How Cannabis Can Help Relieve the Symptoms of Postherpetic Neuralgia

Because PHN pain can affect the quality of life of an individual, people use postherpetic pain relief to use medical marijuana. Marijuana contains cannabinoids, which can protect nerve cells. These nerve cells are destroyed by Shingles, causing pain.

Traditional prescription pain relievers such as morphine are not as effective as shingles cause nerve receptor damage that would normally provide relief to regular pain relievers.

But cannabinoid and cannabis receptors spread throughout your body and are not attacked by shingles. This allows the plant to relieve pain in individuals with shingles or postherpetic neuralgia. Medical cannabis has also anti-inflammatory properties, a major symptom associated with shingles.

There are specific ways to treat Postherpetic Neuralgia with medical marijuana. Some of them are:

  • Smoking cannabis in the form of joints, pipes, and bongs.
  • Using vaping equipment to inhale the herb’s cannabinoids in the form of steam.
  • Using topical creams and lotions that the skin absorbs.
  • Ingesting cannabis in food, tinctures, and beverages.

Cannabis subjects are different forms, such as creams, salves, oils, and balsams. These topicals bind to your CB2 receptors when your skin absorbs them to relieve pain. You’ll find many topicals nowadays on the market. Most of the time, your doctor will diagnose postherpetic neuralgia based on the duration of pain symptoms following shingles. Treatment for postherpetic neuralgia aims to control and reduce pain until the condition goes away.

Personalized Cannabis Consultations

Whether you are new to cannabis and need to learn the basics, or are simply trying to achieve more positive cannabis experiences, Veriheal’s coaches are here to help. You have the opportunity to become informed about this wonderful plant. Book an appointment today with one of our compassionate coaches to have a private discussion about your cannabis journey.

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Data Last Updated 05/18/2020

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