Only people who have experienced shingles know how painful the condition may be. Shingles are similar to chickenpox, which is a type of bodily rash that usually affects children.
But did you know that you probably have the shingle virus in its inactive form in your body? In this article, we’ll give you a better understanding of shingles and the pain associated with it. We’ll also review the industry’s top brands that sell high-quality CBD oil in various formats to address this condition from different angles.
Going back to chickenpox, it is triggered by the same virus as shingles — varicella-zoster. The virus remains asleep in the body after the chickenpox has been treated and can be activated at any time in your life.
The worse part? Doctors don’t know what activates the virus.
So how do you manage those painful rashes? Conventional medications usually have a long list of side effects, not to mention that a severe case of shingles can be crippling itself. That’s why people start seeking natural alternatives, such as CBD oil.
Studies show that CBD has remarkable anti-inflammatory and painkilling properties, both of which may be useful for treating shingles. Researchers argue that a large share of these benefits comes from CBD’s interaction with the endocannabinoid system.
In a hurry? Here’s our ranking of the best CBD oils for shingles.
CBD Oil for Shingles: Best Brands and Products in 2020
1. Royal CBD (Editor’s Choice)
|Potency||250 mg – 2500 mg|
|Available Flavors||Natural, Berry, Mint, Vanilla|
|CBD per serving||8.3 mg – 83.3 mg|
Why Royal CBD is the Best CBD Oil for Shingles:
This California-based brand specializes in making CBD extracts from organic plants grown in Colorado. These products are gently extracted using supercritical CO2 to preserve the original cannabinoid profile of the hemp plant without using additional heat or solvents. Royal CBD rigorously tests its products in a certified laboratory for potency and purity.
The Royal CBD oil is available in four different concentrations, including 250 mg, 500 mg, 1000 mg, and a high-potency 2500 mg bottle. This potency carries 83 mg of full-spectrum CBD in every milliliter, which is a decent dose for problems like shingles or persistent pain and inflammation. Since this is a full-spectrum product, it contains all phytonutrients naturally occurring in hemp, so you’re getting the entourage effect from other cannabinoids and terpenes.
Royal CBD also offers two types of broad-spectrum topicals: warming cream and cooling menthol gel with a convenient roll-on applicator. Both products are rich in CBD (350 mg and 500 mg) and contain other ingredients that enhance the health benefits of CBD oil for shingles, such as menthol or a blend of ayurvedic herbs.
For more information, read our Royal CBD review.
2. Gold Bee (Best Value)
|Potency||300 – 1200 mg|
|Available Flavors||Natural, Honey|
|CBD per serving||8.3 mg – 33.3 mg|
About Gold Bee
Gold Bee is another craft company that makes organic full-spectrum CBD oils, but unlike Royal CBD, this brand focuses on the production of low- to medium-potency oils. Gold Bee’s products are great if you’re looking for premium CBD extracts, but your daily dose doesn’t exceed 40 mg of CBD.
Gold Bee is a true maverick when it comes to the flavor of its CBD oils. While most companies sell CBD tinctures in flavors like mint, vanilla, or berries, this one uses a natural honey flavoring, which does a great job at dominating the earthy hemp taste of natural CBD oil.
Although Gold Bee doesn’t have any CBD topicals in its line up (yet), you can choose from full-spectrum softgels and broad-spectrum vegan gummies if CBD oil isn’t your pair of shoes.
3. CBD Pure (Runner Up)
|Potency||100 – 1000 mg|
|CBD per serving||3.3 – 33 mg/mL|
About CBD Pure
CBD pure is another brand that sells low-potency CBD oil, although the guys have recently added a 1000 mg bottle to their collection, catering to more experienced users and those who need more CBD in their daily routine. You can choose from two types of CBD — full-spectrum oil and capsules — which isn’t the broadest product selection out there, but it definitely beats many companies with the quality of the formula.
CBD Pure’s products come from sun-grown hemp and are extracted at low temperatures to achieve the desired potency without compromising the extract’s phytochemical profile.
The company offers a 90-day Satisfaction Guarantee program for people who are looking for a risk-free way to try out its products. If you’re not satisfied with the results, you can send the product back for a full refund.
Read our recently composed CBDPure review.
4. Hemp Bombs (Best THC-free)
|Potency||125 – 4000 mg|
|Available Flavors||Natural, Acai Berry, Orange Creamsicle, Peppermint, Watermelon|
|CBD per serving||4 – 133 mg/mL|
About Hemp Bombs
Unlike the aforementioned brands, Hemp Bombs specializes in the production of broad-spectrum and isolate-based CBD products. This company covers a wide range of formats, from traditional oil drops and capsules to delicious gummies, vape liquids, topicals, and products like beard balm or tattoo aftercare.
All of Hemp Bombs’ products are THC-free, so if you’re apprehensive about taking even trace amounts of THC in CBD oil due to drug testing, or you’re allergic to other compounds from hemp, this company has got you covered.
Hemp Bombs CBD oil comes in a wide range of potencies, from 125 mg to 4000 mg of CBD per bottle. You can choose from flavors like Peppermint, Acai Berry, Watermelon, or Orange Creamsicle — but keep in mind these flavors have been achieved with synthetic flavorings.
Read our full Hemp Bombs review HERE.
5. CBDistillery (Best Variety)
|Total CBD||250 – 5000 mg|
|Potency||8.3 – 166 mg/mL|
If you’re shopping for CBD on a tight budget, then CBDistillery is your best bet. This company is not only one of the largest CBD producers in the United States, but it also sells some of the most affordable products in the North American market.
CBDistillery offers sublingual drops, softgels, CBD gummies, topicals, and powders (isolates). The company’s CBD oil and softgels are available in two versions: full-spectrum and broad-spectrum. The latter option contains all the non-psychoactive compounds from hemp, but with THC completely removed after initial extraction.
CBDistillery covers the entire potency range for CBD oils, from 250 mg to 5000 mg of CBD per bottle. You can combine the oil with one of CBDistiller’s topical products, such as CBDefine Skin Care Cream or CBD salve, both of which contain 500 mg of CBD per container.
Why Are People Taking CBD Oil for Shingles?
Shingles are characterized by a painful, blistery rash that is triggered by the virus varicella-zoster and looks quite similar to chickenpox. The condition usually manifests its presence as a patch of bumps that are filled with fluid on the skin. It typically appears on the left side or right side of the torso, but can actually pop up anywhere on the body.
Once a chickenpox infection has gone, the virus turns into a “standby mode” and can get activated several years later to trigger shingles — also known as herpes zoster. Shingles typically appear in older people and can spread to those who haven’t had chickenpox yet (1).
At first, a shingles outbreak can be confused with a slight fever, especially due to a tingling sensation under the skin. A person with shingles can experience moderate to severe pinching pain in the affected area, itchiness, and red patches of skin with bumps.
Conventional treatments for shingles include antiviral drugs like acyclovir to shorten the duration and severity of shingles. People also take over-the-counter painkillers such as lidocaine to help relieve the irritating pain caused by the condition (2).
Even when shingles disappear after a few weeks, a person can still suffer from persistent pain lasting for years. This condition is marked by postherpetic neuralgia, which is a problematic complication that affects the nerves and skin.
According to a growing number of anecdotal reports, CBD can be a viable treatment for viral infections. Despite the lack of specific research in relation to CBD and shingles, this cannabinoid is said to have anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties, both of which can help inhibit the growth of viruses such as varicella-zoster, which activates shingles (3).
How Could CBD Oil Help Relieve Shingles?
CBD is one of the major chemical compounds found in cannabis plants, both hemp in marijuana. CBD has numerous therapeutic effects for various health conditions. Unlike another dominant cannabinoid, THC, which is mainly present in marijuana, CBD doesn’t cause intoxication. In other words, you can’t get high off of CBD oil (as long as it comes from hemp).
Once taken, CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is the main regulatory network within the body. Its complex signaling structure is responsible for maintaining internal balance (homeostasis) between all physiological and psychological processes (4).
These processes include pain perception, inflammatory response, and communication between the cells in the immune system.
In a review published in 2009, CBD and other cannabinoids were mentioned as strong anti-inflammatory agents for a range of health conditions. CBD signals the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the ECS, helping individuals decrease their sensitivity to pain and reduce inflammation (5).
Although this research doesn’t specifically mention the use of CBD oil for shingles, its relationship with the ECS can allow it to treat nerve damage caused by the disease.
The Pros and Cons of Taking CBD Oil for Shingles
- Multiple studies on humans and animals have shown CBD to produce painkilling effects and be useful in treating neuropathic pain.
- Unlike THC, CBD doesn’t get the user high because it doesn’t directly bind to the cannabinoid receptors in the brain.
- Several health organizations, including the major ones like WHO, have suggested that CBD has a good safety profile and can be tolerated by humans in doses as high as 1500 mg a day.
- Hemp-derived CBD products are legal as long as they comply with the FDA’s guidelines and meet the conditions listed in the 2018 Farm Bill.
- There’s still a lack of longitudinal human trials that would test the efficacy of CBD specifically for the shingles virus.
- Hemp-derived CBD oil is a health supplement according to the FDA, so there are no regulations in place when it comes to the production standards or the labeling of CBD products.
- CBD interacts with most prescription drugs in a similar grapefruit does. If your medication has a “grapefruit warning,” it means you shouldn’t take it along with CBD at one time. Always consult your doctor before including CBD in your antiviral treatment plan.
CBD Oil vs. Alternative Shingles Treatments
On top of prescribing antiviral drugs to ease the symptoms caused by shingles, a doctor may also recommend natural remedies that can alleviate pain and relieve discomfort. Most of these natural treatments involve the use of topical products that are designed to help with the affected area of the skin.
One possible natural remedy is to cleanse the blisters with a bath of colloidal oatmeal that consists of cornstarch paste and lotions to reduce itching. The rash can also be treated with essential oils from plants such as tea tree, chamomile, and eucalyptus.
Similar to the above natural treatments, CBD oil is available as salves, gels, balms, and lotions that you can combine together with these ingredients to use them for shingles rash and other skin infections. CBD is appropriate for all types of skin.
How to Choose the Right CBD Product for Shingles?
CBD comes in three main forms: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate.
Full-spectrum CBD is made from the whole hemp plant. It contains all phytonutrients from hemp, including CBD, trace cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, essential fatty acids, and various other minerals. These compounds help the body process CBD more efficiently, allowing lower doses to remain effective. These products also contain trace amounts of THC — up to 0.3%.
Broad-spectrum CBD is just full-spectrum CBD minus the THC content. THC is removed from broad-spectrum extracts after initial extraction. These products evoke some of the entourage effects.
Finally, CBD isolates contain just pure cannabidiol and are good for people that are apprehensive about taking any THC in their products or allergic to other components in the hemp plants. This type of CBD provides the highest dose per serving but lacks the synergy of broad-spectrum and full-spectrum CBD.
No matter which form of CBD you decide to choose, these tips will help you buy high-quality CBD oil every time you shop for it:
- Choose products with certificates of analysis (COA) or reports from a third-party laboratory. These documents are proof that the company sells safe products that match the advertised potency.
- Make sure CBD oil is legal where you live. In the United States, hemp-derived CBD products are federally legal, but individual states can place their own limits on their availability.
- Purchase products sourced from non-GMO and organic plants. The hemp should come from a licensed producer and be processed by a reputable brand. The majority of the craft CBD companies grow their own hemp or use the courtesy of local farmers.
- Reach out to other customers on social media and read product reviews regarding a particular brand and product before placing an order. Most of all, make sure that your vendor is authorized by the federal government to sell CBD.
- Always consult with a doctor that has practiced using cannabis for medical conditions. A consultation with a knowledgeable professional will help you establish the right dosage and calibrate your routine to avoid potential interactions with your antiviral medication.
CBD Dosage: How Much CBD Oil Should You Take for Shingles?
There is no one-size-fits-all dosage for CBD oil, especially when it comes to treating shingles. Experts generally agree that the best practice is to start with a low dose of CBD and gradually increase it until you notice improvements in the symptoms of your conditions.
Patients with shingles can either take CBD oil sublingually or use a topical product directly on the affected area. You can administer both at the same time.
According to anecdotal reports from patients, an oral dose of 20–25 mg of CBD daily works well for shingles pain relief. You can also use a ratio of 1–6 mg for every 10 pounds of body weight as your starting point.
When it comes to topicals, we suggest that you apply them to the affected area once daily or as recommended by your physician. Doing so can help ease the pain and reduce itchiness that accompanies shingles.
How to Take CBD Oil for Shingles?
Although CBD oil comes in a plethora of forms, topical products are perhaps the best for shingles. CBD topicals range from lotions to salves, balms, gels, creams, and even bath bombs.
A topical containing CBD can potentially provide localized and instant relief in areas where it is applied. Using topical formulations can be particularly useful for reducing the itchiness and inflammation of painful red rashes triggered by shingles.
Using CBD creams is easy. You just need to ensure that the skin stays clean, dry, and free of other substances that could compromise the efficacy of the topical.
Massage the CBD product gently for several seconds into the problematic spots for better absorption.
What Causes Shingles?
Shingles is a painful, itchy rash that usually appears on one side of the body. It is caused by the same virus that is responsible for chickenpox. Usually, people who have had chickenpox at some point in their lives can have shingles in the future because the virus remains in a standby mode in the nerve tissues located near your brain and spinal cord after a chickenpox infection.
Common Symptoms of Shingles
Shingles are characterized by raised dots on your body or face that eventually transform into painful, red blisters. It takes about 7–10 days for them to dry out, but you’ll experience a stabbing pain as well as a tingling sensation in the skin after the shingles virus goes dormant again. These feelings can be accompanied by fever, chills, and an upset stomach.
Risk Factors for Shingles
The varicella-zoster virus usually gets activated by a weakened immune system. A cancer patient after chemotherapy, HIV, or people in their 50s and older — especially those under severe stress — are more likely to get shingles. If you take medicines that weaken the immune system (immunosuppressants), you’re in the group of higher risk, too.
Can People Spread Shingles?
Shingles doesn’t spread between people, but the varicella-zoster virus is highly contagious. In other words, people exposed to individuals with shingles cannot catch it, but they can catch chickenpox and develop shingles later in their lives.
Complications of Shingles
Although most cases of shingles run their course within a few weeks (usually five weeks), there are instances where complications may occur. In people with a weakened immune system, the shingles episode may last longer than that.
Also during their postherpetic neuralgia, most people having sleep problems. Not to mention they could become depressed due to chronic pain. This may require medical attention from your doctor.
The complications of shingles include:
If shingles appear around the eye, it can cause eye infections that could result in blindness.
Postherpetic neuralgia appears when pain is persistent in the area of the shingles rash, even after the rash has disappeared. This is caused by damage to the nerves.
Skin infections are also a real threat. If the rash is scratched and the blisters get damaged, the open wound can create a way for bacteria to enter the skin and cause an infection.
Final Thoughts: Does CBD Oil Help with Shingles?
People with shingles suffer from a painful rash caused by the virus varicella-zoster, which is the same virus responsible for chickenpox. The virus stays asleep in the body and can get reactivated later on as shingles.
Common risk factors for shingles include older age, weakened immune system, skin infections, and nerve damage. Symptoms of shingles include severe and persistent pain, red blisters, and inflamed, itchy skin. Before the outbreak, a person may experience symptoms similar to fever on top of a tingling sensation in their skin.
Although shingles can resolve in a few weeks, a person can still suffer from chronic pain from postherpetic neuralgia (PHN). This condition derives from complications that damage the nerve cells in the body.
Human and animal studies have shown that CBD has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, both of which can help alleviate the symptoms of shingles, such as itching and pain. Moreover, CBD is a potent antioxidant and neuroprotectant, so it can protect the nerve cells against damage and help them recover from shingles.
Although we have yet to wait for studies targeted specifically at using CBD oil for shingles, the evidence presented in this article is promising, to say the least.
- InformedHealth.org [Internet]. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-. Chickenpox: Overview. 2014 Jun 30 [Updated 2019 Nov 21].Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279621/
- CDC.gov [Internet]. United States: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Shingles (Herpes Zoster): Treating Shingles. 2019 Jul. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/shingles/about/treatment.html
- Tagne, A.M. et al. (2020). Cannabidiol for Viral Diseases: Hype or Hope? Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, vol 5(2). https://doi.org/10.1089/can.2019.0060
- Pavlovic et al. (2018). Quality Traits of “Cannabidiol Oils”: Cannabinoids Content, Terpene Fingerprint, and Oxidation Stability of European Commercially Available Preparations. Molecules, vol. 23(5).
- Russo, E.B. (2008). Cannabinoids in the Management of Difficult to Treat Pain. Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management, vol. 4(1), pp 245–59.