I remember years ago a patient telling me that he cured a “cancerous” lesion on his dog’s leg using cannabis oil. At the time I thought it was fanciful and interesting but probably coincidental at best.

However, it appears that the topical use of cannabis oil (CO) may indeed be curative in many dermatologic applications. It makes sense because phytocannabinoids are potent anti-inflammatory compounds. They help to reduce the immune response that makes a condition painful or uncomfortable. Certain cannabinoids can also arrest the replication of, or sometimes kill, both viruses and bacteria. Often times dermatologists will combine a corticosteroid such as prednisone with an antiviral like acyclovir to treat a superficial herpes infection (except in the eye). Such an approach reduces the symptoms of infection while killing the virus.

CO therefore mimics medical ointments that combine both a corticosteroid (prednisone or hydrocortisone) and an antiviral or antibiotic. The only problem is that medical transdermal products are usually available only by prescription. Even the veterinarian salves require an office visit. They can be costly. Perhaps you don’t really need to see a doctor. Let’s look at some alarming herpes statistics.


Worldwide, the rate of HSV infection– counting both (HSV-1) and (HSV-2) – is around 90%. About 1 in 6 Americans (16.2%) aged 14 to 49 is infected with HSV-2. HSV-2 prevalence was nearly twice as high among women (20.9%) than men (11.5%), and was more than three times higher among blacks (39.2%) than non-Hispanic whites (12.3%).[ref]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epidemiology_of_herpes_simplex) 06/06/2015[/ref]

In the US for example, a miniature tube of acyclovir cream for patients with herpes runs for around $30 or more and lasts about as long as it takes to read this article. Anyone with “herpes” may run through a half-dozen tubes per year.


The research on using THC to treat herpes simplex is Spartan at best but there’s enough to support a trial of such an approach. As far back as 1980 Blevins et al demonstrated that herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and type 2 (HSV-2) failed to replicate in human cell cultures when exposed to a solution of delta 9 THC.[ref]Blevins RD, Dumic MP. The effect of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol on herpes simplex virus replication. J Gen Virol. 1980. Aug;49(2):427-31.[/ref]

Seven years later Mishkin and Cabral demonstrated that micromolar concentrations of Delta 9 THC inhibits the synthesis, maturation, and cellular transport of HSV2-specified glycoproteins.[ref]Mishkin EM, Cabral GA. Inhibition of cell-associated herpes simplex virus type 2 glycoproteins by delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 1987 May;185(1):41-8.[/ref] Translated, it basically means that replication of HSV was arrested. Decreased expression of virus glycoproteins may be valuable in the human immune response to HSV infection.

Supporting documentation came from a publication released in 1991 which stated: …the data suggest that THC preferentially reduces the infectivity of the enveloped herpes simplex virus.[ref]Lancz G1, Specter S, Brown HK. Suppressive effect of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol on herpes simplex virus infectivity in vitro. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 1991 Apr;196(4):401-4.[/ref]

Right, so we now know that THC can inhibit HSV replication. What we don’t know, since studies are not yet available, is if other phytocannabinoids will perform the same way. We also need clinical trials on humans to completely verify if transdermal cannabis is a valuable tool in treating HSV infection.

But why wait for science to catch up? Look at the accumulating data on cannabis oil and the treatment of cancers-initially most of it appeared as self-reported case studies. Why not try it for yourself and see if it helps?