If you’ve ever experienced a shingles outbreak, you know just how painful and uncomfortable it can be. Typically, you’re left scrambling for ways to feel better, especially since the condition currently has no cure. But, that leaves us curious about the relationship between medical marijuana and shingles. Can marijuana help with the condition? Or, does smoking make shingles worse?

Here, Elevate Holistics is taking a closer look at using marijuana for shingles and whether or not this is an effective treatment option.

medical marijuana and shingles

What Are Shingles? 

Before we talk about medical marijuana and shingles, let’s focus on shingles, first. Specifically, what is it?

Shingles is a painful skin condition that results in a rash and blisters throughout the body. Though it can happen anywhere, most people experience a band of blisters across the torso. 

This condition is more common than you think, as there are more than 200,000 cases every year. Shingles is technically a “reactivation” of the chickenpox virus, so those who have had chickenpox are much more susceptible to shingles than those who haven’t. 

Even if it has been years since you’ve had chickenpox, it isn’t unusual to develop a case of shingles. The virus stays dormant in your body until reactivated, so you can experience an outbreak at any time. However, the actual trigger of an attack is still unknown — though age and weakened immune systems tend to be significant factors.

If you’re worried you may have shingles, here are some of the most common signs and symptoms:

  • Parts of your skin are painful, tender to touch
  • Numbness or tingling in concentrated areas
  • Itchiness
  • Red rash appears in areas of discomfort
  • Fluid-filled blisters
  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Light sensitivity
  • Fatigue

Contact your doctor if you think that you’re experiencing symptoms of shingles. While shingles isn’t life-threatening, it can be excruciating, and it isn’t something to ignore. If you notice your rash near your eye or have a weakened immune system (or are around someone that does), seek medical help immediately. 

Is Shingles Curable? 

No, unfortunately, shingles is not curable. However, there are many treatments and even vaccines that you can take to help prevent the virus that causes both chickenpox and shingles. You can also turn to certain antiviral medications that work to heal blisters and clear up outbreaks. But, sadly, there is not a cure for the virus as it stands. 

How Does Medical Marijuana Help Shingles? 

medical marijuana and shingles

Even though there is no cure for shingles, that doesn’t mean there aren’t great treatment options to turn to when seeking relief. Today, it’s more popular than ever to turn to medical marijuana for shingle relief. But, how does this plant help those with the skin condition?

Our bodies react so well to medical marijuana because of our endocannabinoid system. Our ECS is present all throughout the body and effortlessly accepts and works alongside the natural cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, too. We’ve recently discovered that the ECS plays a considerable role in skin inflammation and immune health; this means that cannabis may also help with this.

Shingles is quite literally the skin reacting to extreme inflammation of the nerves beneath the skin. Thus, products like cannabis topicals — which are meant explicitly for skin application — may provide quick, concentrated relief in the areas you need most. While medications target inflammation, they don’t create as quick of a result, nor are the results concentrated to just one place. So, medical marijuana and shingles pose a positive relationship because of the deep-seated, strictly targeted application of the anti-inflammatory cannabinoids

LEARN MORE: Medical Marijuana for Acne

What Symptoms Can Marijuana Treat? 

The symptoms that using cannabis for shingles can relieve are remarkable. As we mentioned, many cannabinoids in marijuana have anti-inflammatory properties. Along with this, many of them are analgesics, as well. Thus, medical marijuana is terrific for helping to treat the residual pain and discomfort that comes from having shingles. 

Many people underestimate the pain that a condition like this can cause; however, you have to imagine living for days with a strip of blisters on your torso. This isn’t easy! Thus, medical marijuana for shingles can help alleviate these harsh, burning pains and provide nearly immediate relief. If there are places that hurt more than others, you can apply an extra dose of topical. 

Relieving pain is one thing, but actually working to reduce redness and decrease swelling is a whole different benefit of medical marijuana and shingles. A lot of people turn to cannabis skin products daily for their ability to combat redness and promote healthier skin. Thus, when used on shingles, the cannabinoids work hard to do the same. Of course, a cannabis topical will not heal you of your shingles, but it may make them more manageable to deal with until they heal on their own. 

Best Strains for Shingles

If you’re looking for the best strains for shingles, you’ll want to find strains that help reduce pain and lower inflammation. But, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are three strains for shingles you should try. 

Cannatonic – A heavy CBD strain, Cannatonic is an excellent choice for any person looking to experience strong medicinal relief. Cannatonic is typically used as a therapeutic strain to combat pain, promote relaxation, and even calm muscle spasms. When used within a topical, the strong CBD levels work beautifully to target painful bumps and swelling all over the skin. (Plus, the sweet, slightly citrus flavor is delightful.)

Granddaddy Purple – Granddaddy Purple is one of the most famous indica strains in the cannabis community. This dark purple strain is great for helping to fight pain, induce relaxation, and help you get some much-needed rest. Getting good sleep with shingles can often feel impossible, as it isn't easy to find a comfortable position. But, with a few hits of Grandaddy Purple, you may be able to find the relaxation you need to sleep.  

GG4 – When it comes to the best cannabis strains for shingles, GG4 is definitely one of the top. Otherwise known as Gorilla Glue, GG4 is a balanced hybrid strain that produces both intense pain relief and stimulating, buzzy euphoria. This combination is great for those with shingles, as you’ll likely experience a break from your pain and feel more uplifted than before. If you need to fight some full-body pain, GG4 is the strain for you. 

CBD Oil for Shingles Pain

CBD oil for shingles

We know about medical marijuana and shingles, but what about using CBD oil for shingles pain? Is this effective? You bet it is! 

CBD oil is wonderful for helping to manage pain, especially skin discomfort. However, it’s important to note that CBD topicals will be the most effective product choice for shingles. You can apply most CBD oils topically, but make sure you double-check before doing so. 

Applying CBD oil for shingles pain is a great way to give your body a natural dose of comfort without worrying about any harmful side effects. With CBD oil, you will not get high; instead, you just experience the medicinal effects of the hemp or marijuana plant. (But, do note that even THC topicals will not get you high — topicals do not allow cannabinoids to get into the bloodstream.) 

If you’re interested in using CBD for shingles nerve pain, it’s a great idea. CBD is tremendous for combatting pain, and when you apply it directly to points of inflammation, it works even better.  

Should I Use Medical Marijuana for Shingles?

We can’t tell you whether or not you should use medical marijuana for shingles. However, we can say that medical marijuana and shingles present a beneficial, helpful relationship that a lot of people seem to benefit from. 

So, if you’re looking for an alternative form of pain relief from your skin condition, turning to some medical cannabis may not be the worst idea. After all, it seems as though more people every day are finding relief through cannabis for skin conditions like shingles. 

No matter what, consult with your doctor before starting consumption in case you’re on other medications. 

How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card for Shingles

Currently, you cannot get your medical marijuana card for shingles alone. However, that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck. 

The symptoms that shingles bring can more than qualify you for an MMJ card. Chronic pain is one of the most common qualifying medical conditions we see for MMJ across the country and, guess what? Shingles cause chronic pain. All you have to do is meet with the right doctor, and getting your medical marijuana card for shingles may be easier than you think. But, where do you find a qualified marijuana doctor in the first place? 

Here at Elevate Holistics, we specialize in helping people just like you get their medical cards. We have a team of board-certified physicians that have been working with cannabis and assisting people in obtaining MMJ for years. Our physicians will work with you over the phone to determine whether or not you qualify for medical marijuana. If you do, we’ll get you the recommendation you need to finish the process and get your hands on your card.

So, even though you can directly get your medical card for shingles, Elevate Holistics can help you get your recommendation for the symptoms the condition brings. This way, you can experience the connection behind medical marijuana and shingles firsthand. 

Ready to get your own MMJ card? Click the button below, find your state, and book an appointment to get started.