Best Cannabis Strains for Shingles

Treating a common skin problem with nature
MarijuanaBreak Staff MarijuanaBreak Staff / Updated on January 15, 2019

marijuana for shingles

Shingles is an extremely painful and common skin condition known to affect adults who have previously been exposed to a virus. It is a blistering skin rash that impacts approximately 1-in-3 Americans during their lifetime. There are a variety of ‘standard’ treatments available, but of course marijuana for shingles is not typically recognized as a normal source of therapy.

DID YOU KNOW: Shingles is especially prevalent in people aged 60+, which is why you should get the shingles vaccine before that age?

Also known as ‘herpes zoster,’ the painful rash caused by shingles can last from 2-4 weeks. However, it isn’t uncommon for those affected to suffer severe pain for months or even years after the initial rash goes away.

This pain is also known as PHN (postherpetic neuralgia). An estimated 20% of shingles sufferers end up with PHN. While most people who get shingles only suffer the condition once, some people get it a second or even a third time.

In this article, we discuss some of the most common causes of shingles, how it manifests itself in various individuals, and in what ways the use of cannabis for shingles may be able to offer natural pain relief.

How Do People Get Shingles?

The varicella zoster virus (VZV) causes shingles; it is the same virus responsible for chickenpox. If you ever contract chickenpox, the virus remains dormant in the body for many years. Medical researchers have yet to discover why, but in some cases, the VZV ‘reactivates’ many years later and causes shingles.

In other words, you are at risk if you’ve ever had chickenpox and while kids can contract the disease, the risk increases as you get older. In fact, over 50% of all cases occur in adults aged 60+. Your risk is even higher if you:

  • Had a medical condition that prevented your immune system from functioning properly. Examples include HIV and cancers such as lymphoma and leukemia.
  • Take immunosuppressive drugs such as medication received after organ transplantation or steroids.

How Does Shingles Impact the Lives of Sufferers?

As it develops on the body or face, shingles is potentially extremely noticeable. The rash forms blisters that scab over in 7-10 days and normally clears up in 2-4 weeks.

Before the development of the rash, symptoms include itching, pain, and tingling in the area that the rash ultimately develops. It is common for these sensations to begin anywhere from a day to five days before the appearance of the rash.

Sufferers of the rash find that it appears in a single stripe on the left or right-hand side of the body. Occasionally, the rash can look like chickenpox insofar as it is more widespread. Symptoms of shingles include:

  • Possible loss of vision.
  • Headaches.
  • Fever.
  • Upset stomach.
  • Chills.

| Shingles is a more serious condition than most people believe, and proper treatment must be initiated in order for a quick, efficient recovery.

For example the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that up to 4% of shingles sufferers are hospitalized in the United States. Around 30% of hospitalizations occur in individuals with weak immune systems. The CDC also estimates that an average of 96 people dies in the U.S. from shingles each year.

In what is a worrying trend, the rate of shingles amongst adults in America is increasing annually; especially in the senior population. As of 2014, only 28% of adults aged 60+ had the shingles vaccination in the United States.

Non-Marijuana Shingles Treatments

According to the CDC, getting the shingles vaccination is the single best way to reduce the risk of contracting the disease. There are also several antiviral medicines such as valacyclovir, acyclovir, and famciclovir available to treat the condition.

However, while these medicines are potentially effective, they only work if you take them as soon as possible after the illness. Most patients use analgesics to relieve the pain, and other remedies include calamine lotion, wet compresses, and colloidal oatmeal baths.

Marijuana, Shingles, and Available Medical Research

Marijuana contains cannabinoids; these are compounds believed to have properties that can protect nerve cells. Shingles sufferers in Connecticut received hope in February 2017 when a panel of doctors urged the state’s Consumer Protection Commissioner to add the condition to the list of medical issues that qualify for medical marijuana.

| The typical problem when trying to study marijuana for shingles is that cannabis typically takes more than a year to be approved for research.

Regina Walsh spoke to the board and explained how her 95-year old father, George, needed help to cope with the debilitating pain of shingles that had affected him for three years. According to Walsh, every available form of medication either had no impact on his nerve pain, or else it did but led to negative side effects.

One of the members of the panel, Dr. Vincent Carlesi, outlined that shingles could lead to suicide such is the pain it causes. The board agreed that marijuana should be used to treat the condition. This news comes on the back of results from several studies which showed that cannabis compounds were effective ways to reduce chronic nerve related pain:

  • Zoppi Silvia et al.: This 2011 study showed that by activating the CB1 receptor in the body, the cannabinoids found in marijuana could encourage neuroprotective actions that fight nerve inflammation and damage.
  • Yannick Marchalant et al.: This 2008 study also found that activating the CB1 receptor helps reduce neuroinflammation, especially in the areas where shingles originate such as the basal ganglia and cerebellum.

5 Best Marijuana Strains for Shingles

marijuana treatment for shingles

There are several different ways to take marijuana when using it to relieve the pain of shingles:

  • Using vaporizing equipment to inhale the marijuana’s cannabinoids as steam.
  • Ingestion when added to food, beverages or tinctures.
  • Smoking marijuana in ‘traditional’ fashion via cigarettes and pipes.
  • Topical creams that are absorbed into the skin.

Remember, the main reason to use marijuana for shingles is to combat the intense pain of the condition; especially if you suffer from PHN. While there are many excellent marijuana strains to treat the pain of shingles, here are five of the best:

1 – ACDC (Sativa Marijuana Strain)

This marijuana strain has an extremely high sativa content with 20% CBD against a maximum of 6% THC although most marijuana strains have far lower levels. ACDC is an unusual but pleasant tasting strain with sweet, skunk and earthy flavors. As it makes you happier and calmer, it is a sociable marijuana strain which means you can use it before work or when you go out with friends.

2 – Cannatonic (Hybrid Marijuana Strain)

Cannatonic offers a 50/50 split between indica and sativa with 12% CBD and 7-15% THC. It offers a relaxing and uplifting high with a distinct woody citrus flavor and earthy smell. The indica/sativa ratio ensures your head remains clear so you can continue with your daily activities.

3 – CBD Kush Marijuana Strain

As is the case with Cannatonic, CBD Kush provides an even ratio between sativa and indica. It also has a CBD: THC ratio as high as 7:1 as it contains 7% CBD against as little as 1% THC. CBD Kush does an excellent job of easing pain, and its smooth exhale makes it a pleasure to smoke.

4 – Sour Tsunami Marijuana Strain

This is yet another hybrid marijuana strain with equal amounts of indica and sativa. It has a high CBD content of up to 11% against a THC level of around 10%. Sour Tsunami is typically used to treat seizures, insomnia, and chronic pain. Although it is relatively easy to find in Michigan and California, it is more difficult to come by if you don’t live in the Pacific Northwest.

5 – Steven Hawking Kush Marijuana Strain

Also known as SBK, this marijuana strain is named after the legendary scientist. It has the highest CBD level on this list at 22%, which makes it ideal if you want to ease your pain but don’t wish to sacrifice functionality. It rewards users with delicious cherry and berry flavors with just a hint of mint.
When using medical marijuana, please be sensible. The list above contains marijuana strains with high levels of CBD and low levels of THC as they enable you to focus and stay alert while reducing the agony of shingles.

Article Sources:

  1. Michelle Messer
    Thank you

    Thank you for the information

  2. Sharon Williams
    CBD is better

    Although Cannatonic works good for Shingles, but CBD with THC is even better. I would say go for CBD, especially if you are non smoker, and shingles would go away quickly.

  3. Joe Alexander
    Looking for information and pain relief pleasee

    I’ve been dealing with PHN for a year now. None of the “pain” meds have touched the nerve pain in my head. I’m looking for an alternative and am considering trying CBD oil. Wjat lind should i try and how much do you use? I’m thinking a tincture or gummy.

  4. Hardik Awasthy
    ACDC is my choice

    I get Shingles off and on, I am 45 years male, and it is quite painful and ugly as well. I live at a very dry place, in Rajasthan in India, and the sweat further aggravates my condition during summers. My wife has started giving me ACDC in a beverage, every day and they have completely disappeared. This was one of the grandma’s cure she told me in her maternal household. The drink has some lemon, grapes, soda, water, salt and ACDC, i think a very low concentration of ACDC and I drink it everyday. It is good to taste as well. Let me know if you guys need the exact recipe but Shingles will definitely go away!

    1. Mike M
      Recipe please?


      I am 44. Pain from shingles is very persistent. I am very anxious that this will be chronic, to some degree. What is your recipe, please?!

    2. Annette
      shingles recipe, please!

      Hardik Awasthy – I would definitely like the recipe if you are willing to post it. Thank you.

  5. Carolyn Nicholson

    Sour Tsunami is superb for insomnia. I’m so thankful for a better nights sleep

  6. Lorena Mayhew

    Steven hawking works wonders. I’ve actually only tried it once but definitely need to use it again after reading this.

  7. Susan Doody

    ACDC is a great strain that healed my shingles in an effective way. It’s been a great help.

    1. sandra
      Please post a link to the ones that are pure and work well

      I’m looking for a solution to post shingles pain. I prefer tablets or creams… anyone have luck with these and if so, please post a link. Hard to figure out which ones are safe and pure.

      1. Kay
        Kush for PHN after shingles

        I tried so many products and spent so much money trying to relieve the pain and sensitivity. Kush topical oil has made it almost gone I just used it for a couple of days and had so much relief. I wish I found this week’s ago. I know it came from somewhere in Humboldt County, .ca.

  8. Truman

    Could use some information on how often to apply to my mother. The container says “as needed”.

  9. Araceli Jackson

    Apart from severe pain, shingles are really bad. Been smoking Cannatonic lately. Works like a charm.

  10. Lisa

    Looking for something for 87 yr old mother who has suffered with post herpetic pain for 10 years. How often do you need to apply to affected area?

    1. ginny

      my mom is also 87 and has had PHN for two years (I can’t even imagine your poor mom with 10).
      The topical cream doesn’t touch the pain. Mom has been to the max with traditional pain management and cannot tolerate even 50 mg of the drugs. She is in intense pain every day. This is her second year with medical MJ. I worry about the edibles because she has a tendency to forget things (she’s still very active and social), so I don’t want her to ingest too much by mistake. She vapes with a 3x (1:1) CBD-THC when she remembers! LOL I was at the dispensary yesterday and we are going to try (for 2 weeks) a 10mg capsule of pure CBD every morning along with her daily meds. Hopefully she will get some relief.

  11. Constance Blackburn

    Had severe pain in the affected area. Tried marijuana cream as it gets nicely absorbed. It works, it really does. Highly recommended.

    1. mic

      Which cream did you use
      Looking for info for my mom , pain has been with her +15 yrs no meds work

      be well & enjoy your day

      1. Rosie

        My mother uses a balm that we found in a colorado dispensary called Nordic Goddess. It has CBD as well as THC. Does not completely get rid of the shingles pain but makes it tolerable.

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