Lyme Disease and Cannabis: What can start as a simple bite from a tick can lead to a relentless disease. Lyme disease is a crippling, mysterious sickness that can be difficult to treat due to the underlying symptoms that come with the medical condition. For those who aren’t familiar with the illness, it is caused by spirochetal bacteria of the Borrelia genus. The microscopic bugs have the ability to hide in deep tissue and change forms, making them extremely hard to eradicate.
In addition to dealing with the medical condition, individuals must endure the devastating side effects that come with traditional treatments, such as daily doses of morphine, tramadol, or oxycodone. Reliance on conventional forms of medication leave some patients weak, depressed and addicted to the drugs that are designed to help them cope with the disorder. According to the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society, current treatments for the illness are not effective, with 40 percent of the courses resulting in a 40 percent relapse rate. This figure increases dramatically when the treatment is delayed or postponed.
Managing Lyme Disease Symptoms
Recently, patients suffering from the disease have tried using marijuana to treat various manifestations that come with the sickness. Such individuals typically use weed to deter drug dependency, or alleviate the side effects of common treatments, including nausea and lack of appetite. Many patients are seeking alternative forms of medicine, due to the deteriorating effects of strong prescription meds. Some felt that their bodies were breaking down twice as fast, when simultaneously dealing with the disease and the powerful drugs.
In the past few years, numerous accounts of patients testing cannabis as a viable form of treatment has surfaced online. Some started experimenting with smoking the plant, and moved on to using a vaporizer or eating edibles. “In the hospital, I have needed to have morphine or lorazepam through an IV to accomplish what smoking two grams of cannabis does on the comfort of my couch, in a fraction of the time,” explained Alexis, a patient diagnosed with late-stage Lyme disease.
“I was dealing with major nausea, weakness, insomnia, horrific night terrors/nightmares, hearing things, hallucinations and wretched headaches, all of which were side effects of the medicine,” said Lydia Niederwerfer, a Lyme disease survivor.
Cannabis Oil and Lyme Disease
It is important to consider that cannabis may not serve as a direct cure for the disease. But in some cases, patients are able to almost make a full recovery, using potent forms of marijuana, such as pastes and oils. Shelly White, a patient with Lyme disease, was having up to 10 seizures per day from the illness. Smoking weed completely stopped the seizures, and a month of cannabis oil treatment helped her return to work and school.
Marijuana can also be used to ease depression in Lyme disease sufferers. This is critical for patients because suicide is the leading cause of death for individuals diagnosed with the condition, mainly from the onslaught of depression due to hormonal and chemical imbalances. For more information on cannabis treatments and depression, check out our blog.