Understanding the Benefits of Medical Marijuana for Shingles

What Is Shingles?

Shingles is a viral infection that causes a painful rash. Although shingles can occur anywhere on your body, it most often appears as a single stripe of blisters that wraps around either the left or the right side of your torso. It is a remnant from this virus that lays dormant in the body and reactivates later in life. While it isn’t a life-threatening condition, shingles can be very painful. 

The signs and symptoms of shingles usually affect only a small section of one side of your body. These signs and symptoms may include:

  • Pain, burning, numbness or tingling
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • A red rash that begins a few days after the pain
  • Fluid-filled blisters that break open and crust over
  • Itching

It also causes other symptoms like sensitivity, fever, headache, and fatigue. Long term pain can also persist, even after the rash has cleared from the body.

How Medical Marijuana Helps Patients with Shingles

Shingles causes pain in part by attacking nerve cells. Traditional painkillers like morphine do not work well since shingles damages the receptors that would ordinarily allow traditional painkillers to provide relief. However, the receptors for cannabis and cannabinoids are located throughout the body and are not attacked by the shingles virus allowing medical marijuana to provide pain relief to shingles patients. 

Medical marijuana can also reduce inflammation, one of the major symptoms of shingles. It can help relieve the symptoms of pain caused by shingles as no matter how patients choose to take their medication. This means that shingles patients have many options of how to medicate using medical marijuana according to what feels most comfortable. 

As research continues, scientists are learning more about how medical marijuana can help shingles patients, as well as coming closer to a cure for this painful disease. Many patients with shingles have found relief through cannabis, which is approved for chronic pain in most medical marijuana states.