CBD Oil And Lyme Disease

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Medical marijuana/cannabis including CBD & THC helps many Lyme symptoms. Marty Ross MD LLMD reviews how and why to use it in a Lyme disease treatment. Many people with Lyme Disease suffer from chronic pain and inflammation. Find out how CBD can help relieve these symptoms and make life with Lyme Disease more bearable. Here are some of the best CBD oils for Lyme Disease, a condition caused by infected tick bites where primary symptoms include sleep disruption. Learn more.

Medical Marijuana, Cannabis, & CBD for Lyme

I lived in Washington state until late 2018 where state law provides for both medicinal and recreational use of marijuana. Federal law does not allow for medical marijuana, but it allows for the unrestricted sale of products derived from hemp. Hemp and marijuana are forms of cannabis. I recommended medical cannabis in my Seattle practice from marijuana or hemp for some of my Lyme disease patients based on the limited science available and based on the positive responses I witness. In this article I review

  • how medical cannabis and medical marijuana works,
  • CBD and THC,
  • conditions cannabis and marijuana helps,
  • how to take medical cannabis and medical marijuana,
  • starting doses, and
  • possible safety concerns.

Note:This is a long article with a lot of background. Skip to the bottom to see the conditions medical marijuana helps and information on how to take it.

Marty Ross MD on CBD and Marijuana in Lyme Disease

The Politics of Medical Marijuana

As I write this article twenty five states in the USA allow medical marijuana use and eight all marijuana recreational use. USA federal law currently allows for the use of CBD derived from hemp in all 50 states. Unfortunately the federal government, under the Trump administration, has put out some worrisome writings that it thinks hemp should be regulated the same as marijuana. In addition, US Attorney General Sessions calls for the federal government through US Attorneys at their discretion to enforce federal marijuana laws putting an end to state recreation and medical marijuana usage.

Cannabis, Marijuana, Hemp, CBD, THC

There are two varieties of cannabis plants. They differ in their appearance and chemical make up. The two plants are Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa. Both of these plants are called marijuana. Hemp is a variety of Cannabis Sativa that has less than .3% delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the psychoactive component of cannabis that gets people high. Both Indica and Sativa that have more than .3% THC are regulated as illegal drugs by the US government. Federal courts have ruled that industrial hemp, cannabis sativa with less than .3% THC, cannot be regulated as a drug. Thus cannabidiol (CBD) derived from hemp can be sold as a supplement across state lines and through the internet.

Cannabinoids & The Endocannabinoid System

There are over 400 chemicals called cannabinoids in cannabis that interact with the body’s natural cannabis system. Our natural marijuana/cannabis system is called the endocannabinoid system. The two main cannabis chemicals are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). These chemicals interact with our endocannabinoid system in a variety of ways. In addition to cannabinoids, cannabis has terpenes. Terpenes give the flavor and aroma to cannabis. They also change the absorption and effects of CBD and THC.

The endocannabinoid system is distributed throughout the entire body with receptors found in the brain and many major organ systems. There are two major chemical receptors called cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2). in addition to CB1 and CB2 there are some other minor receptors.

CB1 receptors are found on many organs including the brain and nervous system. They regulate the release of neurotransmitters in the brain and are psychoactive. CB1 regulates the heart and blood vessels, energy, thinking, memory, emotions, pain, muscle control, sensory regulation, the intestinal system, and much more.

CB2 is primarily anti-inflammatory and regulates the immune system. These receptors are found on a variety of white blood cells including B cells that make antibodies, T cells that fight Lyme, bacteria, and viruses, and macrophages that fight viruses. In addition to fighting infections, T cells release inflammatory cytokines that cause most Lyme symptoms. So regulating CB2 can lead to improvements in most of these symptoms.

The endocannabinoid system produces a number of chemicals that bind to the CB1, CB2 and minor receptors. The two major known ones are anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). These two chemicals are broken down by a number of enzymes.

THC works by binding directly to CB1 and CB2 receptors. CBD works indirectly by limiting the destruction of 2-AG and anandamide. This leaves more of these chemicals available to bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors. In addition to indirectly raising anandamide and 2-AG, CBD may bind to minor receptors exerting a direct influence on the organs and the nervous system.

THC is also psychoactive. This is what gives a person the high of smoking or eating THC. CBD does not have this effect. CBD is thought to decrease the psychoactive effect of THC. Because it is psychoactive, THC can cause some thinking impairment which could be a draw back for people in Lyme who have difficult thinking. By comparison, CBD does not seem to give thinking problems.

One other major difference of THC and CBD is that THC produces more sleepiness while CBD is more upping. Thus THC is better for night use compared to CBD which is better for day use.

Precautions

THC can cause psychosis. And CBD and THC can lower blood pressure and even cause heart attacks. So THC should not be used in people with psychotic mental health conditions. And both CBD and THC should be avoided in someone with low blood pressure or at risk for a heart attack. For instance someone with Lyme and paroxysmal orthostatic hypotension syndrome (POTS) should not use medical cannabis. And if a person has cognitive impairment on either CBD or THC, he or she should not drive.

What Does Medical Marijuana Help?

The research data base for medical cannabis is very limited due to US federal law that limits research on marijuana. Below I detail what is known through research on various medical conditions. However, there has not been any specific research on cannabis and someone with Lyme disease.

In 2016 the National Academy of Sciences published a review of the science and medical cannabis. Here is a list of its findings supported by research:

  • Prevents chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy in animal studies,
  • Inhaled cannabis reduces pain in HIV related neuropathy,
  • Can help with pain through a helpful interaction with opioid receptors (animal studies) and can help reduce pain for patients on narcotics,
  • Helps chemotherapy induced vomiting and nausea,
  • Decreases anorexia and wasting in HIV,
  • Reduces muscle spasticity in ALS and MS,
  • Decreases saliva production in ALS,
  • Reduces symptoms of depression in ALS,
  • Anecdotal reports shows help with depression, anxiety and stress,
  • CB1 receptor binders decrease seizures (in mice anandamide levels rise after seizures which stops the seizure),
  • THC in some animal studies decreases seizures,
  • CBD lowers seizures too through a number of proposed mechanisms by increasing anandamide levels, blocking enzymes that lower 2-AG and anandamide, or lowering glutamate levels,
  • Limited human experiments shows lower seizure thresholds,
  • Open label CBD studies show can lower seizures in humans,
  • THC can help HIV cachexia and wasting syndrome,
  • In HIV inhaled cannabis alleviates nerve pain,
  • In HIV can help with nausea,
  • Cannabis can alleviate symptoms of Chron’s and Ulcerative colitis like abdominal pain, nausea, and diarreha,
  • Decreases MS muscle spasm and pain,
  • Reduces pain,
  • In Parkinsons, decreases tremors, and stiffness like bradykinesia, and dyskinesia, and
  • In Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can help alleviate the hyperarousal state and insomnia.

Kills Lyme:In Canada, Dr. Erni Murakami did laboratory experiments showing CBD kills Lyme spirochetes. However there are no human experiments that show this to occur.

Medical Cannabis Benefits in Lyme

Based on the above research and what I see in my patients I recommend medical marijuana and medical cannabis for people with Lyme for the following reasons or conditions:

  • As an anti-inflammatory working through CB2 receptors it protects the health of the nervous system and brain,
  • Anxiety (I prefer CBD over THC),
  • Depression (I prefer THC over CBD),
  • Nerve pain,
  • Muscle and joint pain,
  • Insomnia (THC, not CBD),
  • Stomach and Intestinal dysfunction like diarrhea and cramping,
  • Seizures or seizure-like symptoms,
  • Nausea,
  • Difficulty maintaining weight,
  • Muscle spasms
  • Tremors
  • Muscle stiffness,
  • Improve immune function by lowering inflammatory cytokines, and
  • To decrease narcotics or to enhance their effect for pain control.

Kills Lyme?I am skeptical that it actually kills Lyme in any meaningful way in humans, although I am interested in this potential based on Dr. Murakami’s experiments. I have not seen improved killing of Lyme in my patients who use medical cannabis.

How to Take Medical Marijuana and CBD in Lyme

Medical cannabis comes in a variety of forms. Loose plant and oils can be inhaled either by using a vaporizer or directly smoking (plant). Of the inhaled methods, I prefer the vaporizer to limit harmful chemicals and irritants entering the lungs through smoking. Edible forms come in pills, drops, or in food. Also drops and sprays can be used in the mouth. There are creams and lotions which may have an effect where they are placed, but not throughout the body. The delivery method determines how quickly the effect will occur and how long it will last.

Delivery Method Time to Feel Effect Time of Peak Effect Length of Effect
Vapor or Smoke 90 sec 15 – 30 min 2 – 3 hours
Edibles/Pills/Drops 90 min 2 – 6 hours 4 – 12 hours
Mouth Sprays .5 – 2.5 hour 1.5 – 4.25 hours

Note: There is a lot of dfference in effects between different people.

Starting Dose: For someone who is new to cannabis and marijuana a good starting dose is 5 mgto see what the effect is. Based on that add more or less. Be careful with edibles because it could take 90 minutes or more to feel the effect.

CBD versus THC: CBD tends to be more activating and generally is good for daytime use. THC is more psychoactive creating sleepiness and the high; so it is better for before bed time use.

With CBD and THC from marijuana, there are products that are higher or lower in THC to CBD ratios. For instance a high THC product could have THC:CBD of 10:1. This type of product is good for night use. On the other hand a product of THC:CBD of 1:10 is good for day use.

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Dose Frequency: Take high CBD ratio products up to 2 times during the day and high THC products before bed.

Experiment with Ratios: For some people THC works better for symptom management than CBD does. So for daytime use a person may need to find a higher THC:CBD ratio that works for that person.

How to Limit the High: Vaporizing or smoking high THC products gives less of a high than edible forms. THC from edible forms is altered by the liver into a more psychoactive substance giving a greater high. Also CBD can lower the high too.

Talk to The Bud Keeper: Medical marijuana stores have bud keepers. Good ones know the products in the store. Talk with them before you purchase to help find the best product for your situation. There is a lot of variation in products including mixes of THC, CBD, other cannabanoids in the products, and terpenes that effect how any given product works.

In Washington State, medical marijuana stores were combined with recreational stores in 2017. In my experience, the bud keepers in recreational shops are generally not as skilled at finding the right medical product as bud keepers in medical marijuana stores. Fortunately, in Washington state, some stores have certification in medical marijuana. These medical certified stores tend to have bud keepers who know the medical properties of there products.

Disclaimer

The ideas and recommendations on this website and in this article are for informational purposes only. For more information about this, see the sitewide Terms & Conditions.

CBD Oil for Lyme Disease: How Can It Help?

Everyday life can be a nightmare if you have Lyme disease. It’s a persistent infection, one that can make you feel hopeless. Unfortunately, the current treatment options are limited and don’t always work, which is why a lot of people are turning to cannabidiol (CBD).

Lyme disease can cause debilitating effects from inflammation to neurological impairment and heart damage. It is the most widespread vector-borne disease in the United States.

Using CBD for Lyme disease is a relatively new approach. This blog post discusses how CBD helps with treating this condition and how you can choose the right type of CBD for you.

What is Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, which is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected ticks.

Almost every doctor will agree that Lyme disease is a big problem in the United States. It can be very hard to diagnose because it shares symptoms with common illnesses. The first symptoms are often fever, headache, and fatigue. If untreated, Lyme disease can worsen and cause more serious problems, including joint pain and heart problems.

There are two types of Lyme Disease: acute and chronic.

Acute Lyme disease lasts less than six months, while chronic Lyme disease lasts longer. There is no vaccine for Lyme disease, but there are tests that can help identify it early on so that treatment can start as soon as possible.

The disease is named after the towns of Lyme and Old Lyme, Connecticut, where a large number of cases were identified in 1975.

How Can CBD Help with Lyme Disease?

CBD has recently received a lot of buzz due to its medicinal properties. It has been shown in several studies to have beneficial properties for the treatment of health conditions such as inflammation, anxiety, insomnia, among others.

Since cannabis-based medicines are gaining popularity, many people are wondering if CBD could help with Lyme disease.

CBD vs Chronic Pain

In a study published in Pharmacological Reviews, modulation of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) activity was shown to reduce inflammation and neuropathic pain.

A 2016 study published in the European Journal of Pain reported that transdermal CBD applications reduced pain rating scores in animals suffering from arthritis.

Following daily use of CBD oil, the study noted that the score was reduced from a median of 4 to a median of 1.5. It concluded that CBD oil can be used to ease inflammation and pain associated with arthritis without causing side effects.

As part of the study, CBD was compared to current medications commonly prescribed by doctors for arthritis patients. Traditional remedies, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs used for arthritis, can have side effects, including vomiting, stomach pain, and nausea.

CBD vs Fatigue & Sleeplessness

Lyme disease patients frequently experience poor sleep quality, according to a study conducted by the Sleep-Wake Disorders Center. In addition, sleep disruption was found to be a contributing factor to fatigue.

Lyme disease affects neurotransmitters in the brain, which results in insomnia. There are many over-the-counter sleep aids available to patients with insomnia, including melatonin, herbal supplements, and antihistamines. However, one of the most effective methods of treating insomnia is by changing one’s lifestyle.

In rare cases, hypotonic drugs may be prescribed to patients, including benzodiazepines, benzodiazepine agonist receptors (BzRAs), chronobiotics, and low-dose doxepin hydrochloride.

There is, however, evidence from a 2015 study in the Sleep Disorders Journal that suggests these medications may have residual effects that may negatively affect daytime activities. Some people cannot tolerate the residual effects of these sleep medications, which affect daytime activities at home, work, and school.

According to a 2019 experiment published in The Permanente Journal, 72 adult patients who took CBD saw improvements in sleep and anxiety scores. A majority of the patients reported that they were sleeping better and their anxiety decreased. They claimed that these improvements lasted over time.

Additionally, the experiment found minimal side effects, such as fatigue. However, fatigue was ultimately determined to be the result of incorrect dosage.

CBD vs Neural Inflammation

Humans have an endocannabinoid system (ECS), a neuromodulatory system. A primary function of the ECS is to modulate the nervous system.

There are two main cannabinoid receptors within the ECS: cannabinoid receptors 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid receptors 2 (CB2). The therapeutic potential exists for these receptors in treating a variety of diseases.

CBD interacts with and stimulates CB1 and CB2 receptors. An animal study published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine suggested that non-psychoactive CBD could aid in alleviating chronic neuropathic pain. Additionally, CBD demonstrated analgesic properties.

The journal Bentham Science Publishers Limited published another animal study indicating that cannabinoids, including CBD, are capable of modulating neuroinflammatory disorders.

According to the study, cannabinoids prevented pro-inflammatory cytokines from being produced both in animal models and human cell cultures. It is thought that CB2 receptors are primarily responsible for this action.

There are some similarities between symptoms of Lyme disease and those of brain inflammation (encephalitis). Symptoms of encephalitis are headache, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, fever, seizures, slurred speech, hallucinations, and loss of consciousness.

Encephalitis, whether caused by Lyme disease or not, is a very serious illness and should be treated by a medical professional.

CBD vs Heart Palpitation

In a study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, CBD was found to suppress cardiac arrhythmias and reduce the size of infarcts (death of tissue caused by reduced blood flow) after a heart attack.

During the study, animals with the conditions were treated with CBD 30 minutes before coronary artery occlusion. CBD reduced both arrhythmias and infarct size after a heart attack. This suggests CBD may have cardioprotective properties.

Although CBD has shown promising results in animal subjects, people suffering from cardiac arrhythmia or heart attacks should always consult their doctor. You should never attempt to diagnose or treat yourself.

How Does CBD Work for Lyme Disease?

CBD oil has been reported to work for Lyme disease patients, but the research on the subject is limited. Even though CBD research for Lyme disease is still lacking, the 2015 paper for Clinical Infectious Diseases suggests it could be helpful.

CBD and other cannabinoids are found in cannabis. One of the main benefits of CBD for Lyme disease is its ability to influence the immune system. Specifically, CBD modulates the immune response and reduces inflammation.

But CBD’s benefits don’t stop there. Studies have shown that CBD may have antibacterial effects. CBD also acts as an antioxidant that protects cells from oxidative stress.

The potential benefits of CBD on mood and sleep are well documented. Patients who suffer the consequences of chronic diseases could benefit from CBD.

It would seem that CBD could provide some hope for Lyme disease patients. But further research is needed to determine the extent of its effectiveness.

Benefits & Risks of Using CBD for Lyme Disease

CBD has been shown to have many therapeutic benefits. While CBD can be beneficial for many people, there are some risks associated with its use.

The Benefits

  • Patients with Lyme disease have usually prescribed a course of antibiotics, and there may need to be more than one course. NSAIDs or acetaminophen may be prescribed for residual pain relief after the patient is recovered. In addition to providing pain relief, CBD oil may also relieve sleep disruptions and fatigue.
  • There have been studies that suggest CBD may alleviate Lyme disease symptoms, such as joint pain, inflammation, and nerve pain.
  • There are no psychoactive effects associated with CBD. A legitimate CBD product will contain less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
  • CBD has been declared non-addictive by the World Health Organization (WHO). Daily use of CBD is considered safe.
  • CBD doesn’t need a prescription to be purchased. You can buy CBD online and in local dispensaries.

The Risks

  • Using CBD along with prescribed medications is not recommended. CBD interacts with other drugs by altering the way the body metabolizes them.
  • CBD may reduce the population of some pathogens. A variety of gram-negative bacteria and Lyme disease-causing bacteria are resistant to CBD. There are already effective, safe treatments for Lyme disease.
  • The CBD industry is relatively new and much of it remains unregulated.
  • In some people, CBD can cause dry mouth, drowsiness, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.

CBD vs Other Alternative Treatments for Lyme Disease

Alternative procedures, including hypnosis, acupuncture, and meditation, can be used to ease insomnia, anxiety, and pain associated with Lyme disease.

Those suffering from sleep disruptions may also benefit from essential oils and chamomile tea.

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Some brands sell CBD tea bags and CBD-infused essential oils. People who wish to optimize wellness may also benefit from these products.

However, some studies have shown that CBD can improve an individual’s quality of life despite not being able to cure or completely eradicate all the symptoms of Lyme disease.

How to Choose a CBD Product for Lyme Disease

You need to consider two things when choosing a CBD product: the type of CBD and the manufacturer’s legitimacy.

Choose the Type of CBD That Meets Your Needs

CBD oil comes in three forms:

  • Full-spectrum CBD
  • Broad-spectrum CBD
  • CBD Isolate

A full-spectrum CBD oil consists of all the cannabinoids found in hemp. Among these cannabinoids are cannabidiol (CBD), cannabigerol (CBG), cannabinol (CBN), and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which shouldn’t exceed 0.3%.

It is best to use full-spectrum CBD oil for Lyme disease since it contains all the cannabinoids that the body needs.

Broad-spectrum CBD oil consists of all cannabinoids except for THC. It’s recommended for people who are concerned about the psychoactive effects of CBD oil.

Finally, CBD isolates offer CBD in its purest form. People who are sensitive to other cannabinoids usually prefer this type.

Check the Vendor’s Certificate of Analysis (COA)

Whenever you buy a CBD product, be sure to check its certificate of analysis (COA).

A COA is a certificate that provides information about the quality and purity of the CBD product. It includes the cannabinoid and terpenoid profile, contaminants, residual solvents, and heavy metals.

What to look for in a COA:

  • The certificate should be issued by an ISO-accredited laboratory.
  • If possible, the certificate should be issued by an FDA-registered lab.
  • The certificate should provide information about how much CBD is in the product (in milligrams).

How Much CBD Should You Take for Lyme Disease?

People suffering from widespread pain may seek immediate relief. CBD vape pens and CBD vape oils provide the fastest results. Unfortunately, vaping has been shown to cause negative side effects.

There is no standard CBD dose for Lyme disease. According to CBD: A Patient’s Guide To Medical Cannabis by Leonard Leinow, CBD can be effective for treating inflammatory conditions with a standard dose of between 10mg and 100mg a day.

However, you must start with a smaller dose and work your way up until you find the right dosage for your needs.

CBD can be easily administered by placing a few drops of CBD tincture under the tongue. You can use this method to relieve fatigue, insomnia, palpitations, and widespread pain.

For those who don’t want to ingest CBD, then you can use CBD topicals, such as creams and patches. These can be used to treat joint and neck pain. Unlike oral CBD supplements, CBD topicals don’t go through the digestive system.

Final Thoughts: Lyme Disease and CBD

Lyme disease patients may find some relief from CBD. The anti-inflammatory properties of this compound could relieve pain while also providing the body with additional health benefits. Anecdotal reports suggest CBD for Lyme disease has potential, but more research is needed to confirm its effectiveness.

You should consult an experienced medical professional before using CBD to treat Lyme disease or any other health condition. Ask for medical advice about the proper use of the substance in your particular situation.

Additionally, you should buy CBD products from a reputable vendor that can provide a Certificate of Analysis (COA) that publishes third-party lab reports on their websites. This will ensure that the products are free of contaminants and show how much CBD is in them.

Have you ever used CBD to alleviate a particular condition? Let us know how it worked for you in the comments section below.

References:

  1. Fine, P. G., & Rosenfeld, M. J. (2013). The endocannabinoid system, cannabinoids, and pain. Rambam Maimonides medical journal, 4(4), e0022. https://doi.org/10.5041/RMMJ.10129
  2. Hammell, D. C., Zhang, L. P., Ma, F., Abshire, S. M., McIlwrath, S. L., Stinchcomb, A. L., & Westlund, K. N. (2016). Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviors in a rat model of arthritis. European journal of pain (London, England), 20(6), 936–948. https://doi.org/10.1002/ejp.818 [1]
  3. Greenberg HE, Ney G, Scharf SM, Ravdin L, Hilton E. Sleep quality in Lyme disease. Sleep. 1995;18(10):912-916.
  4. Fitzgerald, T., & Vietri, J. (2015). Residual Effects of Sleep Medications Are Commonly Reported and Associated with Impaired Patient-Reported Outcomes among Insomnia Patients in the United States. Sleep disorders, 2015, 607148. https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/607148 [2]
  5. Shannon, S., Lewis, N., Lee, H., & Hughes, S. (2019). Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. The Permanente journal, 23, 18–041. https://doi.org/10.7812/TPP/18-041
  6. Dhopeshwarkar, A., & Mackie, K. (2014). CB2 cannabinoid receptors as a therapeutic target-what do the future hold?. Molecular Pharmacology, 86(4), 430–437. https://doi.org/10.1124/mol.114.094649
  7. Xiong, W., Cui, T., Cheng, K., Yang, F., Chen, S. R., Willenbring, D., Guan, Y., Pan, H. L., Ren, K., Xu, Y., & Zhang, L. (2012). Cannabinoids suppress inflammatory and neuropathic pain by targeting α3 glycine receptors. The Journal of experimental medicine, 209(6), 1121–1134. https://doi.org/10.1084/jem.20120242 [3]
  8. Saito, V. M., Rezende, R. M., & Teixeira, A. L. (2012). Cannabinoid modulation of neuroinflammatory disorders. Current Neuropharmacology, 10(2), 159–166. https://doi.org/10.2174/157015912800604515
  9. Ibid.
  10. Walsh, S. K., Hepburn, C. Y., Kane, K. A., & Wainwright, C. L. (2010). Acute administration of cannabidiol in vivo suppresses ischemia-induced cardiac arrhythmias and reduces infarct size when given at reperfusion. British journal of pharmacology, 160(5), 1234–1242. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1476-5381.2010.00755.x [4]
  11. WHO. Expert Committee on Drug Dependence. (2017, Nov 6-10). Cannabidiol (CBD).
  12. Van Klingeren, B., & Ten Ham, M. (1976). Antibacterial activity of delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, 42(1-2), 9–12. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00399444 [5]
  13. VanDolah, H. J., Bauer, B. A., & Mauck, K. F. (2019). Clinicians’ Guide to Cannabidiol and Hemp Oils. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 94(9), 1840–1851. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mayocp.2019.01.003
Nina Julia

Nina created CFAH.org following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.

CBD Oil for Lyme Disease – August 2022

A study published in Reumatologia mentioned that 10% of recovered Lyme disease patients continue to experience symptoms (6 ) . This condition is called Post-treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLD). The study also mentioned the lack of treatment for people suffering from PTLD.

PTLD symptoms may include rashes (resembling a bullseye), severe fatigue, joint pain, neck stiffness and pain, muscle aches, memory problems, nerve pain, nerve inflammation, and sleep disruption.

People who have recovered from the disease are often left to endure lingering symptoms without any prescribed treatments. There have been reports that these symptoms can even last for decades (7 ) .

Prolonged pain and sleep disorders can diminish the quality of life among individuals with PTLD. However, long-term use of prescribed medication may not be advisable due to their many side effects (8 ) .

Thus, there has been an interest in alternative approaches, like CBD, that may help with Lyme disease symptoms.

CBD vs. Chronic Pain

A study released by Pharmacological Reviews mentioned that modulating the ECS activity may trigger a therapeutic response to neuropathic pain and inflammation (9 ) .

The European Journal of Pain published a 2016 study reporting that transdermal CBD application reduced the pain rating scores among animal test subjects with arthritis (10 ) .

The study discussed that the scores were reduced from median 4 to median 1.5 after the daily application of CBD gel.

The study concluded that CBD possesses potential therapeutic properties for relieving inflammation and arthritis pain-related behaviors without any side effects.

The study also compared CBD to current medications often prescribed by doctors for patients with arthritis (11 ) .

Current medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for arthritis, taken orally, can cause side effects , like upset stomach, nausea, and vomiting (12 ) .

CBD vs. Sleep Problems and Fatigue

A study conducted by the Sleep-Wake Disorders Center revealed that Lyme disease patients commonly have poor sleep quality. Moreover, the study found that sleep disruptions are the cause of fatigue (13 ) .

Lyme disease can disrupt neurotransmitters in the brain, causing insomnia. Individuals with insomnia are sometimes prescribed over-the-counter sleeping agents such as melatonin, antihistamines, and other herbal supplements. Lifestyle changes are most commonly recommended and provide benefits.

Less commonly, doctors may prescribe hypotonic drugs, such as benzodiazepines, benzodiazepine agonist receptors (BzRAs), chronobiotic agents, and low-dose doxepin hydrochloride.

However, a 2015 study published on the Sleep Disorders Journal reported that these common sleep medications have residual effects that may impair daytime activities (14 ) .

Some individuals cannot tolerate the residual effects of strong sleep medications because they disrupt daytime activities at home, work, or school.

A 2019 experiment published in the Permanente Journal concluded that the sleep and anxiety scores of 72 adult patients have improved after taking CBD (15 ) . On average, the patients reported improvements in sleep quality and anxiety. These improvements were sustained over some time.

The experiment also discovered minimal side effects, one of which is fatigue. However, fatigue was later concluded to be a result of wrong dosing.

CBD vs. Brain and Nerve Inflammation

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a neuromodulatory system in the human body. Its primary function is modulating the central nervous system (16 ) .

The ECS is primarily composed of cannabinoid receptors 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid receptors 2 (CB2). These receptors have therapeutic potential for treating various pathologies (17 ) .

CBD has been found to interact and stimulate with CB1 and CB2 receptors.

The Journal of Experimental Medicin e printed an animal study suggesting that non-psychoactive CBD might help suppress chronic neuropathic pain. CBD was also shown to exhibit analgesic properties (18 ) .

Another animal study, published in the journal Bentham Science Publishers Limited, mentioned that cannabinoids , such as CBD, might have the ability to modulate neuroinflammatory disorders (19 ) .

The study suggested that cannabinoids inhibit the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines in both human cell cultures and animal models. This action has been thought to be mediated mainly by CB2 receptors (20 ) .

Some Lyme disease symptoms are similar to those of brain inflammation (encephalitis). Encephalitis symptoms may include headache, fever, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, seizure, hallucination, slurred speech, and loss of consciousness (21 ) . Encephalitis, caused by Lyme or otherwise, is always very serious and must be treated by a qualified physician.

CBD vs. Heart Palpitation

A study released by the British Journal of Pharmacology noted that CBD might help suppress cardiac arrhythmias and reduce infarct size (death of tissue due to reduced blood flow) after a heart attack (22 ) .

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In the study, animal subjects induced with the conditions were treated with CBD 30 minutes before coronary artery occlusion.

Test results demonstrated that CBD reduced both cardiac arrhythmias and infarct size after a heart attack. The study suggested that CBD might possess cardioprotective properties (23 ) .

CBD may have demonstrated promising results in animal subjects. However, human beings who are experiencing cardiac arrhythmia or heart attack must always consult a medical professional or emergency medical services. Never attempt to self-diagnose or self-treat.

How CBD Oil Works to Help With Lyme Disease

Several scientific studies have been conducted on how the endocannabinoid system (ECS) modulates the function of several systems in the human body.

A study from the British Journal of Pharmacology acknowledged that cannabinoids, such as CBD and THC, may trigger CB1 and CB2 receptors (24 ) . This stimulation may contribute to alleviating the symptoms of PTLD.

The Pros and Cons of CBD Oil for Lyme Disease

The Pros
  • Doctors usually prescribe a course of antibiotics for Lyme disease patients and it may require more than one course. Once the patient recovers, doctors can offer NSAIDs or acetaminophen for residual pain relief. CBD oil possesses properties that may also address symptoms , like pain, sleep disruptions, and fatigue (25 ) .
  • Studies have shown that CBD might help with Lyme disease symptoms, such as joint pain , inflammation, and nerve pain (26 ) .
  • CBD does not induce psychoactive effects. Legitimate CBD brands keep the THC levels lower than 0.3%.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has mentioned that CBD is non-addictive. It is safe for daily intake (27 ) .
  • CBD can be purchased without a prescription. CBD brands are available online and in local dispensaries.
The Cons
  • It is not advisable to use CBD in conjunction with prescribed medicines. CBD has been shown to interact with other drugs by affecting how the body metabolizes the medication.
  • CBD may reduce the population in a few pathogens. However, Lyme disease-causing bacteria and other gram-negative bacteria are resistant to CBD (28 ) . Certain antibiotics are already safe, mainstay treatments for Lyme.
  • The CBD industry is highly unregulated.
  • CBD has side effects, including drowsiness, dry mouth, diarrhea, and reduced appetite (29 ) .

How CBD Oil Compare to Alternative Treatments for Lyme Disease Symptoms

Alternative treatments for treating sleep disruptions, anxiety, and pain associated with Lyme disease include wellness procedures, like hypnosis, acupuncture, and meditation.

Individuals suffering from sleep disruptions may also turn to essential oils and chamomile tea.

Some brands sell CBD-infused essential oils and CBD tea bags. These products can also be an option for individuals who want to optimize wellness.

Although CBD cannot cure Lyme disease or completely eradicate all its symptoms, some studies have acknowledged CBD’s potential to improve an individual’s quality of life (30 ) .

How to Choose the Right CBD Oil for Lyme Disease

There are three different types of CBD oil available.

Full-spectrum CBD oil contains all the cannabinoids present in hemp. These cannabinoids may include cannabidiol (CBD), cannabigerol (CBG), cannabinol (CBN), and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) not exceeding 0.3%.

Full-spectrum CBD oil works best for Lyme disease symptoms since individuals can take advantage of the benefits from all the cannabinoids.

Broad-spectrum CBD oil contains all the cannabinoids without THC . For individuals who do not want psychoactive effects, this type of CBD oil is recommended.

Lastly, CBD isolates provide CBD in its purest form. This type is chosen by individuals who cannot tolerate other cannabinoids.

When buying a CBD product, consumers must look for the certificate of analysis (COA).

The COA is a third-party lab test result that determines if the CBD concentration in the product is the same as the concentration advertised by the brand.

The COA also confirms the cannabinoids’ potency. The test results also guarantee that the product is free from heavy metals, pesticides, and other contaminants.

How Much CBD Oil Should Be Taken for Lyme Disease?

Dosing and frequency of intake depend on how an individual responds to CBD. Unfortunately, there is a lack of research to determine how individuals with Lyme disease react to CBD.

First-time CBD users are advised to start with a low dose, gradually increasing it once their bodies grow accustomed to CBD.

However, it is important to consult with a doctor for guidance before trying any CBD product, and if you think you may have Lyme disease.

How to Take CBD Oil for Lyme Disease

Individuals experiencing widespread pain may want to find immediate relief. The quickest way to achieve results is through CBD vape pens or CBD vape oil.

However, studies show that vaping may lead to unfavorable side effects (31 ) .

A quick and easy way of administering CBD is by placing a few drops of CBD tincture under the tongue. This method may be used to address sleep disruptions, palpitations, fatigue, and widespread pain.

Individuals who prefer not to ingest CBD may use CBD topicals, such as creams and transdermal patches. These products may be used on joint and neck pains. With topicals, CBD does not have to go through the gastrointestinal system.

Can Late-Stage Lyme Disease Be Cured?

Late-stage Lyme disease is serious and life-threatening. It is treated with intravenous antibiotics for 14-21 days. Side effects include mild to severe diarrhea and low white blood cell count, making the patient susceptible to several antibiotic-resistant pathogens.

In some cases, the infection becomes dormant and reactivate when the immune system gets compromised.

Untreated Lyme disease may progress to heart problems, chronic joint inflammation, cognitive defects, and peripheral neuropathy (32 ) .

Post-treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome

Some of the symptoms of PTLD are so severe that they are comparable to symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis and fibromyalgia . In a study, some individuals register high on the Fatigue Severity Scale (33 ) .

As PTLD is linked to other health conditions, diagnosis becomes difficult. Some doctors conduct additional tests to determine if the patient is experiencing a resurgence of infection or an unrelated illness.

Lyme disease patients are sometimes tested for multiple sclerosis because the symptoms are similar. Moreover, doctors must conduct additional tests since a review has suggested that Lyme disease may trigger fibromyalgia (34 ) . So far, CBD has not been shown to treat Lyme or PTLD.

Is CBD Oil Legal?

The United States Farm Bill authorized the production, delivery, and selling of hemp. When the law was signed, hemp was removed from the list of controlled substances under the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) (35 ) .

Hemp-derivatives , such as CBD oil , can be produced, sold, and bought as long as THC levels do not exceed 0.3%.

Hemp-derived products can legally be sold in 50 States and U.S. territories. Although heavily unregulated, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) remains watchful of products containing CBD (36 ) .

Can Stevia Cure Lyme Disease?

A group of microbiologists experimented on Stevia rebaudiana leaf extract as a potential cure for Lyme disease (37 ) .

They discovered that stevia extracts have the ability to reduce the population of Borrelia burgdorferi samples. After a 7-day and 14-day subculture of treated Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria treated with Stevia had no regrowth. However, this research is too early to draw any applicable conclusions from.

Additional studies are needed to confirm whether Stevia can treat Lyme disease. However, this promising result may one day lead to another treatment option.

Can CBD Cure Lyme Disease?

A study published in the journal Antonie van Leeuwenhoek showed that CBD and another cannabinoid, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), reduced the population of staphylococci and streptococci (38 ) .

However, CBD and THC do not affect gram-negative bacteria, such as Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme disease bacteria), Escherichia coli (E. coli), and Salmonella enterica. CBD cannot cure Lyme disease.

What Causes Lyme Disease?

The parasite, Ixodes scapularis, is responsible for causing Lyme disease. This parasite is commonly known as a black-legged tick or deer tick. Usually found in plants and grass, these ticks can also latch on to stray dogs, horses, and raccoons.

People may encounter these ticks when going through plants or sitting on the grass. The ticks have no ability to fly or jump. They wait with their front legs outstretched and ready to latch on a passing human or animal.

This particular species of tick can carry up to seven types of pathogens, two of which are Borrelia burgdorferi and Borrelia mayonii . These are bacteria from the spirochetes group.

B.burgdorferi and B.mayonii are responsible for causing Lyme disease. In some cases, these bacteria can be resistant to antibiotics.

There are reports that a recovered individual may retain dormant bacteria. They may reemerge when the immune system becomes weak.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) mentioned that 300,000 individuals are infected with Lyme disease every year in the U.S (39 ) .

Can CBD Interact With Antibiotics?

The Journal of Clinical Medicine conducted a 2019 study that discussed the interaction between Epidiolex and Amoxicillin. Epidiolex is the only FDA-approved drug (for child epilepsy) containing CBD (40 ) .

The study found that the combination of CBD and Amoxicillin led to an increased risk of side effects. The interaction also led to a decrease in the efficacy of the antibiotics that were used.

Conclusion

According to the CDC, new tick-borne diseases are constantly being discovered. The number of reported cases has also been growing steadily in the US every year. They also mentioned that the parasite’s geographical territory is expanding, making it a public health concern (41 ) .

Early and accurate diagnosis is critical in overcoming Lyme disease. Symptoms may differ among early-stage and late-stage Lyme diseases. Individuals are advised to seek the help of a medical professional immediately upon discovering a tick bite or when symptoms arise.

Studies have suggested that CBD oil may have positive effects on lingering symptoms of Lyme disease, such as widespread pain and inflammation (42 ) .

Also, CBD has been shown to promote better sleep, reduce fatigue, and improve anxiety and depression (43 ) .

Although these tests on animals and human subjects have shown promising results, more studies are needed to verify CBD’s validity thoroughly.

Individuals must consult with a physician before adding CBD to their daily regimen.

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