How cannabis can ease the pain of Lyme disease

Did you know that you have a natural “marijuana supply” already coursing through your body?

Well, not exactly a marijuana supply…

The endocannabinoid system and its receptors are found throughout your body, in your brain, connective tissue, glands, organs and immune cells.

The functioning of this “secret” body system is essential to health. It produces neurotransmitters called cannabinoids that regulate mood, memory, pain sensation, appetite and more.

So, it’s no wonder that medical cannabis works! It mimics the action of the natural endocannabinoids your body is already producing.

There are over 20,000 published reviews and studies demonstrating the therapeutic power of cannabidiol (CBD), the extract of the marijuana plant that does not cause the “high” we associate with marijuana use.

CBD has strong anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-depressant, anti-tumor and neuro-protective qualities. It has been used to treat health conditions such as Crohn’s disease, anxiety, antibiotic-resistant infections, diabetes, arthritis and more.

And now, you can add Lyme disease to that list.

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Conventional treatment not good enough

Lyme disease is the result of being bitten by a tick carrying the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi.

Most people associate tick bites with high grass or deep woods, and will take precautions if they’re going hiking or camping. But more and more, ticks are migrating into more populated areas of North America.

Related: The newest deadly tick danger

When it comes to a case of Lyme disease, killing the bacteria that causes it is the only real cure.

The official recommendations of the CDC for folks diagnosed with Lyme disease is a rigorous course of antibiotics. But relapse rates after such treatments are as high as 40 percent.

That’s where the antiseptic and antibiotic properties of cannabis might help. After all, cannabis has been studied since the 1950s, first as a treatment for tuberculosis and then other diseases.

But attacking the bacteria at the root of the disease is not the only way it may help those suffering with Lyme disease…

5 symptoms of Lyme disease cannabis can help

Lyme disease patients suffer with a wide range of debilitating symptoms, sometimes for months and years. CBD has been shown to ease at least five of those symptoms, including:

1. CBD lowers anxiety. Many people with Lyme disease suffer debilitating anxiety, and many are not at all happy with the potential side effects of medications. A 2015 study published in the journal Neuropathics showed “substantial evidence” that CBD could reduce chronic anxiety.

2. CBD is naturally anti-inflammatory. Chronic pain is almost a given for people who struggle with Lyme disease over the long term.

A 2012 study from the National Institutes of Health suggest that CBD could be an effective alternative to medications for inflammation, largely because users do not build up a tolerance to CBD as they do with many medications.

3. CBD is neuroprotective. This means that it protects nerve cells from damage and degeneration. This is important for Lyme disease sufferers.

A frequent side-effect of antibiotics meant to kill the infection is that the body becomes flooded with neurotoxins, resulting in brain fog, depression, insomnia, autoimmune conditions and more. CBD can help stem that flood of neurotoxins.

Research from the Medical College of Georgia found that CBD could reduce the formation of compounds that damage nerve cells in the eye.

4. CBD reduces nausea. Cannabis is well-known for its anti-nausea effects. It can also help Lyme patients increase their appetite and regain some needed strength after bouts of nausea or vomiting.

5. CBD treats seizures. Medical marijuana is a proven treatment for seizures, one of the lesser-known, more debilitating symptoms of chronic Lyme disease.

If you want to try medical marijuana

In order to try medical marijuana, if it is legal in your state, you must be registered with the state. The first step is to see your doctor, who may send you to a doctor specializing in medical marijuana treatment.

The doctor will confirm your condition and the medical need for using marijuana, at which point you will be given a card to present at the dispensary where you will purchase CBD oil or other forms of medical cannabis.

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Joyce Hollman

By Joyce Hollman

Joyce Hollman is a writer based in Kennebunk, Maine, specializing in the medical/healthcare and natural/alternative health space. Health challenges of her own led Joyce on a journey to discover ways to feel better through organic living, utilizing natural health strategies. Now, practicing yoga and meditation, and working towards living in a chemical-free home, her experiences make her the perfect conduit to help others live and feel better naturally.