Medical cannabis is gaining more and more recognition for its beneficial outcomes on many conditions ranging from nausea to rare forms of epilepsy. One area researchers are becoming more interested in is cannabis as a treatment for Lyme disease. But does it really work?
Since the original discovery of cannabis’ medicinal benefits eons ago, it has been used as a form of treatment for various conditions. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is the plant’s main non-psychoactive component that can be utilised to alleviate pain and nausea, as well as provide relief for symptoms of anxiety, inflammation, insomnia, and even depression.
Recently, it has been discovered that cannabis can also be used by those afflicted with Lyme disease. But how exactly does it work? In this article, we discuss how cannabis can affect the treatment of Lyme disease, and explore if it is indeed a revolutionary new method of ameliorating this ailment.
WHAT IS LYME DISEASE?
If you happen to be bitten by a deer tick, then suffer from rashes, head and body aches, chills, and nausea over the next few days, you are likely suffering from Lyme disease. Once the tick gets in contact with human skin, it initially injects a numbing agent that hinders its victims from feeling anything at first.
Ideally, this disease should be given treatment for a few weeks via prescribed antibiotics, and if left unattended, could turn into more chronic joint pains, and at worst, could even lead to meningitis. But if the tick was immediately detached from the skin in under 36 hours, contracting the disease is more unlikely.
CANNABIS AS A TREATMENT OPTION
Medical experts naturally veer towards pharmaceutical treatment first when it comes to conditions such as Lyme disease. However, several studies have also been conducted to show how cannabis can be included as a treatment option.
This 2008 study, for one, showed how cannabis is effective against an “antibiotic-resistant” strain of MRSA. The study also points out that antiquated claims of cannabis increasing one’s vulnerability to infection is paradoxical, to say the least. In fact, the researchers argue for the strong antibacterial potential of numerous cannabinoids including CBC, THC, and of course, CBD.
First-hand accounts from Lyme disease sufferers, meanwhile, reveal how certain patients have used cannabis to combat symptoms of the infection. Particularly, high-CBD strains were used as a medication to replace other anti-inflammatory drugs. Another patient claimed that the seizures she had been suffering from as a result of the disease had stopped after smoking cannabis. Again, this doesn’t come as a shock, given the noted anti-inflammatory and anticonvulsant mechanisms of CBD.
HOW TREATMENT OF LYME DISEASE WITH CANNABIS ACTUALLY WORKS
When it comes to dealing with infections or other diseases, CBD is often seen as the more effective option when compared to THC. This is why CBD oil is usually the go-to form of medication when the herb comes into play, as opposed to smokable forms such as joints or bongs. Even the 2008 study from above mentions how inhaling marijuana smoke can indeed lead to immunosuppression and other adverse side effects. Experts also advise patients to use cannabis medication mainly to alleviate the symptoms of Lyme disease, and not to turn their backs on antibiotics.
Other studies show that cannabis is known to eradicate traces of spirochetes, which is one of the main causes of Lyme disease. This research was conducted by British Columbia medical expert Dr. Ernie Murakami, who made his case about using CBD oil as a form of treatment.
Unfortunately, we cannot offer a solid, cohesive conclusion regarding whether or not Lyme disease can be cured or effectively treated with cannabis. Under current research, CBD certainly seems to display positive implications, but far more research is needed. One positive thing to note, however, is that more and more doctors are encouraging experimentation with CBD-rich products, so long as patients are not avoiding all forms of traditional medication.