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Could Cannabis Be The Missing Piece of Tick-Borne Lyme Disease Treatment?

Emily Robertson
Female Deer Tick Crawling on a Straw

There are many studies to demonstrate that cannabis effectively treats all of the symptoms of tick-borne Lyme Disease.

Lyme disease is becoming a significant health issue in Canada. The bite of a borreliosis-infected tick causes this  inflammatory condition. There are many species of ticks, some of which are nothing more than a nuisance; the black-legged or “deer” tick is the most likely to transmit Lyme disease.  It is critical that patients receive antibiotics in the early stages of disease development. This means within the first few days of exposure. Treatment doesn’t always work in the later stages, resulting in long-term, debilitating consequences. Research, however, demonstrates that cannabis may be able to treat these late stage symptoms of Lyme disease.

Tick Sitting on a Leaf next to Human Finger

What are the symptoms of Lyme disease?

Lyme disease can be difficult to detect. If you are not aware of a tick bite, or if your symptoms are presenting as other conditions, it can be difficult for your doctor to know when to test/treat.

There are some key symptoms to look for if you live within, or have visited, regions endemic with Lyme ticks: fever, fatigue, rashes (especially the “bulls eye rash”), severe headaches. As the disease progresses, patients experience joint pain and issues with both the nervous and circulatory systems. In its most extreme cases, Lyme disease can affect the mental health of the individual and even develop into encephalitis. Lyme disease can cause such severe depression that it puts people at risk of dying by suicide.

Of course, you want to find out about Lyme disease before it spreads to your joints or to your circulatory and nervous systems. If caught early, doctors can prescribe antibiotics to rid your body of the disease. A treatment course for antibiotic treatment in Lyme disease can last as long as a month. Following this, the relapse rate is as high as 40 percent, and the risk of opportunistic antibiotic-resistant bacteria developing is also risk to patient health.

What is the Role of Cannabis in Lyme Disease?

There are no completed studies demonstrating that cannabis is a cure for Lyme. It is, however, very effective in treating symptoms. Cannabis has strong anti-inflammatory properties and effectively treats headaches, pain, anxiety, and depression.

A lesser known medicinal benefit of cannabis is its antibacterial property. A study from 2008 conclusively demonstrated that cannabis can be used as a natural antibiotic.  The difficulty in finding the best strain to treat Lyme, is that research has not yet determined which cannabinoids, terpenes, or other components of the plant are lending these healing benefits.

Woman's calf showing a bulls eye rash from a tick bite

Lyme disease is a serious condition that can change the course of your life forever. It is important to be aware of tick populations in your region and to take immediate action if you have been bitten by a black-legged tick. A strong antibiotic is the best treatment that can be offered, but cannabis is perhaps the best medicine to manage the multiple, debilitating symptoms of Lyme disease.

Cannabis should definitely be part of the arsenal in the your fight against Lyme. 

Emily Robertson

Emily Robertson has been writing freelance and contract work since 2011. She has written on a variety of topics, including travel writing of North America and the growing legalized cannabis industry across the globe. Robertson has a master’s degree in literature and gender studies, and brings this through in her writing by always trying to explore different perspectives. Born and raised in southwestern Ontario, Robertson moved to Glasgow, Scotland in 2016 to undergo her doctorate in Scottish Literature. She lives in the West End with her dog, Henley.

2 Comments
  • Avatar
    T A Niles

    Would love to know what the 2008 study was.

    April 1, 2019 at 9:37 am Reply
    • Jennifer Grant

      You can find that link within the article. Right on the “2008.” Look for green text. That indicates the presence of a link that will take you to more information.

      April 2, 2019 at 12:30 pm Reply

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