Cannabis and Lyme Disease

If you are from the northeast, Lyme disease is a familiar threat. For those not well acquainted with it, Lyme is an infectious disease spread by ticks. Areas of highest risk for encountering ticks are grassy and wooded areas, and preventative measures are your best bet for avoiding Lyme. Wearing long pants and shirts, using insect repellent that contains DEET and showering immediately after exposure are all ways to reduce the risk of being bitten by a tick carrying Lyme.

The most telltale sign that you’ve been bitten is the bulls-eye rash that presents around the tick bite, however, approximately 25% of people infected with Lyme do not develop the rash. Early symptoms of Lyme include headache, fever, muscle soreness and weakness. Lyme left untreated or poorly treated can progress into a chronic condition, and much more serious symptoms include facial paralysis, abnormal heart rhythms, severe headaches, psychosis and anxiety, and swollen and stiff joints.

One major role that cannabis plays with Lyme disease is combating some of the negative effects of the antibiotics prescribed to treat the Lyme. Antibiotics wipe out both good and bad bacteria, and frequently leave the GI system open to fungal and bacterial infections. The GI tract is full of CB1 receptors, which, when activated by cannabis, can help to repair the damage from antibiotics and maintain good gut health.

Cannabis is also very helpful in alleviating some of the symptoms of Lyme disease. Headaches and body pain are two major symptoms from which medical  cannabis users find relief. Physical pain in the joints and muscles can be eased with cannabis topicals, edibles and flower. The lethargic components of Lyme can also be combated with cannabis, as many patients find sativa strains to be somewhat stimulating, enhancing creativity and focus. Cannabis products that are high in CBD are especially beneficial to those with Lyme, as it has many anti-inflammatory properties that can decrease Lyme symptoms before they escalate. Cannabis has been found to be antipsychotic and anxiolytic, which can alleviate some of the mental health concerns of late stage Lyme.

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