CBD for Lyme Disease
Imagine experiencing a mystery illness for months or years — stiff joints, fatigue, fevers, headaches. This is the reality for many people with Lyme disease as well as Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS). But is treatment in the form of CBD for Lyme Disease possible?
Lyme causes a plethora of symptoms. Often, it creates an unusual set of signs or symptoms which mimic other diseases like the flu, which makes it a challenge for doctors to recognize.
In many cases, it takes a long time before Lyme disease is diagnosed. This is due to imperfect testing techniques as well as the disbelief of the prevalence of the disease by some members of the medical community.
Although there are treatment approaches for Lyme disease, some people continue to have Lyme symptoms after treatment, referred to as PTLD, for which there are no approved treatments.
This leaves many people frustrated and hopeless. Many have no choice but to try to self-treat their symptoms and turn to alternative therapies. CBD has been shown to help with some of the symptoms that people with PTLDS experience.
Let’s look into the research behind CBD for Lyme and PTLDS.
Table of Contents
- CBD for Lyme: Just the Facts
- Understanding Lyme Disease
- Symptoms of Lyme Disease
- Complications of Lyme Disease
- Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome
CBD for Lyme: Just the Facts
Lyme disease is transmitted through deer tick bites and affects 300,000 people in the U.S. each year. Current treatments may help clear the infection. However, some people continue to experience symptoms post-treatment, referred to as Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS).
There are no approved treatments for PTLDS. Therefore, people are looking for alternative ways to manage their symptoms. CBD could potentially help with symptoms of Lyme and PTLDS. However, we need research on people who have these conditions to know for sure.
Understanding Lyme Disease
The CDC estimates that 300,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme disease each year in the U.S.A.
The bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi causes Lyme disease. It is most commonly transmitted through a deer tick bite. However, it is also possible to be transferred from a blood infusion, or to a baby from an infected pregnant mother.
Lyme disease is most common in the northeastern states. However, there have been cases of Lyme in all continental states. It is unclear whether these people were infected when traveling to the northeastern states, abroad, or in their home state.
Symptoms of Lyme Disease
The symptoms are typically non-specific and, in some cases, unusual. Odd neurological symptoms, wandering joint pain, brain fog, and anxiety are the keynotes of this condition. However, Lyme’s disease has many faces, and the symptoms can vary significantly from person to person. Symptoms tend to change with different stages of the disease.
The classic presentation is a bulls-eye rash, also known as erythema migrans rash, in the area of the tick bite. Over the next 3 to 30 days, common symptoms could include fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes.
Next, an infected individual may experience an array of different symptoms, such as:
- Severe headaches and neck stiffness
- Skin rashes
- Facial palsy
- Wandering joint pain and swollen joints
- Heart palpitations
- Dizziness or shortness of breath
- Inflammation in the brain
- Unusual neurological symptoms
- Nerve pain
- Shooting pains, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet
Conventional Treatment for Lyme Disease
The traditional treatment for Lyme disease is antibiotic therapy. The CDC reports the majority of people who are diagnosed with Lyme disease and treated with antibiotics clear the infection.
Complications of Lyme Disease
Unfortunately, for some people, their experience of Lyme disease is not as simple as just taking antibiotics and clearing the infection.
Deer ticks also carry other bacteria, which can cause coinfections with Lyme. The Medical Leadership Board at Lymedisease.org reports that about 50% of people who get Lyme disease also have a coinfection. People who are infected with coinfections tend to also have a more severe illness with a longer recovery time.
Examples of coinfections include Babesia, Bartonella, and Rickettsia.
Also, some people continue to experience symptoms such as brain fog, fatigue, joint pain, and neurological symptoms, even after being treated with antibiotics for their Lyme disease. This is referred to as Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS).
Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome
The New England Journal of Medicine estimates that 10-20% of people who have Lyme disease develop PTLDS after treatment.
There are no treatments for PTLDS. The only course of action is symptom management. Symptoms of PTLDS are similar to Lyme disease and include:
- Joint pain
- Brain fog
- Memory issues
- Speech issues
- Swollen joints
Given that there are not any recommended treatments for PTLDS, people are left to fend for themselves to alleviate their symptoms. Could CBD be the answer for helping people with PTLDS?
Let’s take a more in-depth look into CBD for Lyme and PTLDS.
CBD for Lyme Disease
There have not been any research studies directly on CBD for Lyme or PTLDS. However, CBD has been shown to help with many of the symptoms of Lyme and PTLDS as well as modulate the immune system.
In order to understand how CBD may help with Lyme disease and PTLDS, we must first look into what CBD does in the body. CBD works primarily through stimulating the endocannabinoid system.
The Endocannabinoid System
Our bodies contain an endocannabinoid system, which is a system that modulates many functions of the body, including emotions, pain, inflammation, and more.
The endocannabinoid system is controlled by CB1, and CB2 receptors which, when stimulated, affect the way our immune system and central nervous system operates.
CB1 receptors are primarily in the central nervous system and are involved in memory, emotion, pain perception, and movement.
CB2 receptors are found primarily on immune cells, and they modulate the immune response and inflammation.
CBD has been found to affect both CB1 and CB2 receptors. It is through the activation of the endocannabinoid system that CBD works to help manage the symptoms of Lyme and PTLDS.
CBD and Anxiety
Multiple studies have found that CBD helps reduce anxiety, social anxiety, and depression — two common symptoms of Lyme’s disease and PTLDS. Clinical studies on CBD for anxiety have shown that CBD increases blood flow to the areas of the brain involved in emotional processing — the limbic and paralimbic regions.
If a person with Lyme or PTLDS is struggling with anxiety, CBD may help manage this symptom.
CBD and Pain
CBD has also been shown to help manage joint and muscle pain through its effect on the endocannabinoid system. Studies have shown it is helpful for many types of joint pain, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
It helps with pain through the endocannabinoid which, when stimulated, decreases both inflammation as well as pain perception — two main factors of joint pain.
Theoretically, CBD may be useful for the joint and muscle pain people with Lyme and PTLDS experience. But, since there have not been studies on CBD for Lyme or PTLDS, we can’t say for sure.
CBD and the Immune System
There are CB2 receptors on immune cells such as B cells, T cells, natural killer cells, and macrophages. These are the cells of the immune system that help to fight off and clear infections. This shows that CBD has an immunomodulating effect. It is unclear whether this would hinder the clearance of a Lyme infection or help clear it.
Another consideration is that the immune system is responsible for creating inflammation. Given that CBD stimulates CB2 receptors which in turn decreases inflammation, CBD may have a place in reducing inflammation and the associated symptoms in PTLDS.
In summary, we need more research studies on humans studying CBD for Lyme and PTLDS.
CBD and the Neurological System
CB1 receptors are involved in decreasing inflammation of the brain. When stimulated, such as by CBD, the CB1 receptors decrease the release of inflammatory cytokines and decrease what’s known as excitotoxicity in the brain. Excitotoxicity refers to when the brain becomes overstimulated, which then causes damage to the brain structure.
Using animal models, scientists found that stimulation of CB2 receptors helps to decrease neuroinflammation — that is, inflammation of the brain.
Inflammation of the brain leads to neurological symptoms, which is a common symptom of Lyme and PTLDS. CBD may help with these symptoms. However, we can’t say for sure until we see clinical studies.
CBD for Lyme and PTLDS: Summary
There have not been any clinical trials on CBD for Lyme or PTLDS.
CBD has been shown to help with symptoms commonly experienced by Lyme and PTLDS patients such as anxiety, pain, immune activation, and inflammation, as well as neurological symptoms.
It is unclear whether CBD for Lyme of PTLDS is helpful until studies on Lyme and PTLDS are completed.
Lyme disease and Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS) can cause debilitating symptoms for those who are affected. Furthermore, there are no treatment options for PTLDS, aside from symptom management.
CBD has been studied for many of the symptoms of Lyme and PTLDS but has not been studied in Lyme and PTLDS patients specifically. The good news is, research shows that CBD helps manage pain, reduce anxiety, modulating the immune system, and protecting against brain inflammation.
Theoretically, there is the promise for CBD for Lyme disease and PTLDS. However, we do need more research to truly understand if CBD has a place in managing the symptoms of these conditions.
CBD Oil for Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that is transmitted to humans and other animals from ticks. In fact, it is the most commonly reported tick-borne disease in the United States, with tens of thousands of cases reported to the CDC each year and an estimated 300,000 cases occurring (mostly unreported) each year. For many of these cases, CBD can be a useful treatment option. Read our comprehensive guide to learn more.
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Stages of Lyme Disease
People are at the greatest risk for contracting Lyme disease between March and May and between August and November, when ticks are more active than during other months, but there is some risk any time the temperature is above freezing. The disease progresses in three phases, causing a myriad of symptoms that can often lead to misdiagnosis. The first phase, occurring between a few days and one month after a tick bite, can involve headache, fever, and the telling “target-shaped” red lesion from the bite. The second phase occurs as the infection spreads and can cause joint disorders, cardiac disorders, neuromeningeal disorders, and various other problems. The third phase can occur years after the bite and cause skin or neurological disorders as well as a post-Lyme syndrome.
In addition to making the disease difficult to diagnose, the diverse symptom possibilities mean that every individual will have a different experience, and no one treatment will work the same for everyone. However, cannabinoids like CBD are one treatment option that are likely to offer at least some relief for most people.
You may want to consider using CBD to treat Lyme disease if you are struggling with long-lasting symptoms. Our reviews of the top ten Fatigue CBD oils for Lyme disease can help you find a product from trusted brands.
Things to Consider When Buying CBD Oil for Lyme Disease
Since Lyme disease is different for every individual, your treatment should be personalized to fit your symptoms. Here are a few things to consider when finding the best CBD for your Lyme disease:
- Type of CBD – CBD oil is available as CBD isolate, broad-spectrum oil, or full-spectrum oil. The latter contains THC, the psychoactive chemical found in cannabis. Although it is not legal everywhere and requires more oversight from a doctor than CBD alone, including THC in your treatment may offer extra benefits. Many believe that using multiple cannabis compounds in conjunction with one another is more effective than using one on its own, and in severe cases of Lyme disease, THC’s more powerful effects may help with symptom relief in a way that CBD does not.
- Other treatment – Particularly in the early stages of Lyme disease, a course of antibiotics over several weeks is critical. This will stop the disease from progressing too far or lasting longer than it needs to. CBD can treat symptoms, to the point that you feel no symptoms at all, but it isn’t a substitute for the treatments that actually stop the infection.
Lyme disease can be difficult to recognize and treat because of the wide range of side effects, but fortunately, CBD reduces or completely eliminates many of these.
– Lyme disease can cause various types of inflammation, but luckily, CBD is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation in the joints is one of the most common effects of Lyme disease, resulting in pain and stiffness, and the muscles, cardiovascular system, and nervous system can also be affected by inflammation. CBD, as well as the other cannabinoids found in broad- and full-spectrum oils, can significantly reduce such inflammation. – Nausea, dizziness, and vomiting are commonly seen together in people with Lyme disease. When this becomes a chronic issue, it can cause additional problems and greatly affect the quality of life. In many people, CBD helps to reduce nausea and make such situations bearable. Incidentally, this is why CBD has become so popular among chemotherapy patients who experience chronic nausea as a result of their treatment.
- Fatigue – The pain, nausea, and other symptoms of Lyme disease can make it difficult for patients to sleep well and generally cause increased fatigue. Fortunately, CBD makes it easier for many people to relax and get quality sleep.
More choices available
How to Take CBD Oil for Lyme Disease
There’s no doubt as to the effectiveness of CBD as a treatment for Lyme disease symptoms, but it’s important to keep a few things in mind before you get too excited about it all:
- It’s not legal everywhere. Many states and countries have recently legalized the use of CBD, with more likely to do so in the near future, but some places still do not allow it. You shouldn’t risk legal consequences for a supplementary treatment, so make sure CBD is allowed where you live before using it for Lyme disease.
- It’s not a cure. CBD is definitely a miracle treatment for many people plagued with long-lasting symptoms of Lyme disease, but it isn’t a cure for the infection. It’s important to use it alongside oral antibiotics or whatever other treatment is recommended by a doctor so that you treat the cause as well as the symptoms.
- The best treatment is prevention. If you haven’t contracted Lyme disease yet, or if you want to avoid a repeat infection in the future, then you should be thinking about prevention more than treatment. Use bug repellants when you go outdoors and check yourself for ticks after coming in, especially during tick season, to avoid infection. (If you have pets, it’s a good idea to check your furry friends, as well; they can get Lyme disease, too!)
- Consult your doctor. CBD is a safe treatment that can greatly improve the symptoms of Lyme disease, but your doctor will be able to advise you on the most appropriate way to use it. This will remove the risk of interactions with other medications or conditions that you may have.
Lyme disease is a fully preventable and curable condition, but it often goes unnoticed until serious symptoms have already appeared. Although it’s best to check for ticks and treat an infection with antibiotics as soon as it’s noticed, there is still plenty you can do if you discover that you have Lyme disease after it has spread. One of the most effective treatments for the symptoms of Lyme disease is CBD.
CBD can reduce the pain, inflammation, fever, nausea, and many other common symptoms experienced by people with Lyme disease. Consult with your doctor to be sure that you are treating the infection safely and in a way that will cure the condition instead of just hiding the symptoms. When you have found a safe and appropriate treatment plan, you can use our best CBD products unbiased reviews to find something that will improve your symptoms.