Cold sores are not only unsightly but also a painful, extremely distressing feature you can’t wait to get rid of. Unfortunately, even with all the advances in medicine, there’s still not an easy cure in sight for them. Instead, there are only ways to numb the pain and somewhat accelerate the healing process.
Yet, Cannabidiol (CBD), a natural, non-psychoactive compound of the cannabis plant, shows promise in both limiting outbreaks and easing cold sores.
Hints from scientific research and a myriad of anecdotal evidence point towards CBD being an effective remedy for cold sores. Read on to find out more about cold sores, currently available treatments, and the answer to the question, ‘Does CBD help cold sores?’.
What Are Cold Sores?
Cold sores, which also go by the name of fever blisters, are a viral infection made up of tiny blisters’ clusters filled with clear fluid. The clusters usually appear in and around the mouth, particularly in areas where mucus is aplenty, and they are highly contagious.
If the tiny blisters pop, the clear fluid oozes out and dries into a crusty layer. While cold sores aren’t particularly dangerous to health, they are still very itchy, sensitive, and highly contagious. Not to mention the fact that they love showing up around your face, making you feel more than a little bit self-conscious of your appearance.
How Do You Get Cold Sores?
Cold sores happen due to a viral infection called Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV-1). HSV-1 is very closely related to the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV-2) that’s transmitted sexually and which most people know simply as herpes.
HSV-1 spreads from person to person through close physical contact, such as by touching or kissing. Estimates say that up to 50 percent of the world’s population have HSV-1 even if they never actually developed cold sores. Sometimes, people with the virus simply never have it manifest a single cold sore. Lucky they!
HSV-1 stays inactive most of the time, but once an outbreak happens, chances are it will happen again later. The reason for this is that the virus lies dormant in the skin’s nerve cells, ready to agitate healthy cells again whenever it pleases. Any of the following may trigger a cold sore outbreak.
- Colds or the flu
- Food allergies
- Dental work or other oral trauma
- Immune system deficiency
- Sunlight or exposure to ultraviolet light
Cold Sore Treatments
Over-the-counter creams are the most commonly prescribed for treating cold sore outbreaks. Some of them act by soothing the blisters, while others contain an anti-viral drug known as acyclovir. Administering the anti-viral creams is an excellent move to make as soon as you feel the signs of a fresh cold sore starting to develop. Still, over-the-counter creams are not always that much of an adequate remedy.
A doctor might prescribe you oral anti-viral medication in case of severe or recurring cold sore outbreaks. The drugs include valacyclovir, famciclovir, and acyclovir. The main issue with said drugs is that they often lead to some side effects. These include diarrhea, headaches, vomiting, and dizziness.
The hit-or-miss effectiveness and side effects of those conventional treatments for cold sores are plenty and well documented. They are the main reasons why people often seek out more natural cold sore remedies. Among them, peppermint oil, witch hazel, aloe vera gel, as well as herbal medicines such as sage, rhubarb, and licorice. Still, there’s not much evidence showing that those remedies are actually useful, and they might not work for all.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one so-far-overlooked natural supplement that may help with cold sore outbreaks. It is a non-psychoactive compound extracted from the cannabis and hemp plants. Recent research shows that it might have many potential health benefits, including being effective when you have cold sores.
So, Does CBD Help Cold Sores?
To better understand how CBD might help with cold sores, you first have to understand two types of medication used for their treatment – anti-inflammatories and anti-virals. CBD appears to have both of these properties, which is why it might be an effective option. When applying it, CBD may act as both an anti-viral and anti-inflammatory to your cold sores.
Why Choose CBD for Cold Sores
HSV-1 attacks cell tissues in the mucous membranes, and this is why cold sore outbreaks often confine themselves to the mouth area. When the virus attacks the surrounding tissues, the cells are damaged. Damage to the cells triggers the release of white blood cells. It is this event that causes the inflammation, pain, blisters, and sores you would rather not have.
CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system’s primary objective is to regulate and maintain the body’s internal homeostasis. The ECS consist of a complex network of receptors spread all over the body. CBD work by interacting with those receptors, triggering particular effects that include the already mentioned anti-viral and anti-inflammatory responses.
If the fact that CBD comes from cannabis makes you wonder about it having a psychoactive effects, rest easy. For that to happen, you would need a product with a THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) content of 3 percent or higher. THC is, by the way, a cannabinoid, the same kind of compound CBD is. The thing is that high-quality CBD products always have a very low content of THC, 0.3% or less of it to be precise. Not even close to getting you a little bit high. Thus, no need to fear having a bad trip (or any trip at all!) when taking CBD.
What CBD Products Might Help Cold Sores?
People with cold sore outbreaks may turn to a variety of CBD products. Here are the different kinds of CBD products commonly used for cold sores.
CBD oil is perhaps one of the most popular and effective ways so far to consume CBD. Its effects kick-in fast. Applying it will help in soothing and drying out the affected area, promoting a quicker healing process.
Isopropyl alcohol is also something you can add yourself to CBD oil to boost its effectiveness. One drop of CBD oil mixed with ½ ounce of isopropyl alcohol forms a paste that is easy to apply and may be an effective remedy for cold sore outbreaks.
CBD may also help cold sores without necessarily applying it directly to the skin. Another way to consume CBD oil is by putting it inside a capsule for easy ingestion orally without having to taste it. To use CBD pills for cold sores, just take the recommended dosage when you feel a cold sore outbreak coming on. You may start to notice it clearing up in a few days.
CBD Lip Balm
One of the most effective ways to address an outbreak of cold sores is by using CBD lip balm. If you use lip balm on cold sores, it may reduce inflammation and boost the healing process. It can also help reduce redness and swelling caused by cold sores. It helps moisturize the lips, and the great thing about it is that it can be applied as many times as needed for preventative therapy.
You can purchase pre-infused CBD lip balm or create your own by using CBD oil combined with your favorite lip balm. First, melt the balm base in your microwave in 30-second intervals until it is all melted down. Next, add 2 to 6 drops of CBD oil, depending on your preference. Then pour the mixture into a small container to set and harden. Allow up to one hour before using it.
How to Choose the Right CBD Product for Cold Sores
You need to pay close attention to the CBD product you buy for herpes treatment. Currently, three different presentations of CBD available for purchase that are best for this purpose. These are:
- CBD Isolates
CBD isolate is the purest form of this cannabis compound. Isolates undergo a process of extraction whereby CBD in its purest is the final output. People who want to get the most CBD may choose isolates due to its higher purity. Isolates typically come in powdered or crystal form and don’t have a distinctive flavor. Full-Spectrum CBD is the third and final variant of CBD. This type of CBD contains all the compounds of the cannabis plant, including THC. Full-spectrum CBD is known for the “entourage effect.” That is when the several different compounds in it interact synergistically to boost its effect.
Broad-spectrum CBD is the type that contains all compounds of the cannabis plant except tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). According to some users, broad-spectrum CBD also has a milder version of the entourage effect, not as noticeable as with full-spectrum CBD.
No matter what types of CBD you decide to purchase for your cold sores, you must choose high-quality products to get the most out of them. At Tanasi, you will find only the highest quality full-spectrum CBD products with trace amounts of THC (less than 0.3%) to enjoy maximum health benefits.
Does CBD Help Cold Sores? – The Takeaway
You could quickly address cold sores with high-quality CBD products such as those at the first signs of an outbreak.
Research is still underway to ascertain just how much more effective CBD is for cold sores compared to conventional creams. Also, remember to check in with your doctor before you start using CBD, more so if you are already on other medications as well.
Lastly, keep in mind that cold sores are highly contagious. So, it is always advisable to stay away or, at the very least, avoid close contact with others as you heal. This way, you won’t be the reason someone else suffers the same ordeal you did with those annoying cold sores.