Lyme disease is caused by a spirochetal bacteria of the Borrelia genus. Spirochetes are composed of about 40% DNA and have double-membrane envelopes that make them difficult to trace and kill. They’re apparently able to hide in deep tissue and change shapes to disguise their identities. Certain ticks carry these bacteria. The ticks pick up the bacteria when they bite mice or deer that are infected with Lyme disease. You can get the disease if you are bitten by an infected tick. Deer ticks can be so small that they are almost impossible to see. Many people with Lyme disease never even saw a tick.
Lyme disease was first reported in the United States in the town of Old Lyme, Connecticut, in 1975. Cases have now been reported in most parts of the United States. Most of the cases occur in the Northeast, some parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin, the mid-Atlantic states, and along the Pacific coast. Lyme disease is usually seen during the late spring, summer, and early fall.
- Stage 1 is called primary Lyme disease.
- Stage 2 is called secondary Lyme disease and early disseminated Lyme disease.
- Stage 3 is called tertiary Lyme disease and chronic persistant Lyme disease.
Risk factors for Lyme disease include:
-Doing activities that increase tick exposure (for example, gardening, hunting, or hiking)
-Having a pet that may carry ticks home
-Walking in high grasses
Not everyone infected with these bacteria gets ill. If a person does become ill, the first symptoms resemble the flu and include:
- Muscle pain
There may be a “bulls eye” rash, a flat or slightly raised red spot at the site of the tick bite. Often there is a clear area in the center. It can be larger than 1 – 3 inches wide.
Symptoms in people with the later stages of the disease include:
- Body-wide itching
- Joint inflammation
- Stiff neck
- Unusual or strange behavior
A blood test can be done to check for antibodies to the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. The most commonly used is the ELISA for Lyme disease test. A western blot test is done to confirm ELISA results. A physical exam may show joint, heart, or brain problems in people with advanced Lyme disease.
Research has long established that several of the cannabinoids contained in cannabis have antibacterial properties, suggesting they may be helpful in resisting the bacteria associated with Lyme disease3. While research examining cannabis’ effects on the specific bacteria that causes Lyme disease is lacking, cannabinoids have shown efficacy against other types of bacteria10. One study found that both tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) “strongly reduce” the antibacterial activity of staphylococci and streptococci12. Another study found cannabis to have antibacterial effects against Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Aspergillus niger2. Most recently, a study found cannabis extract to exert pronounced antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli, and Enterococcus faecalis9.
Evidence also indicates that cannabis can be helpful in relieving the symptoms associated with the later stages of Lyme disease. The major cannabinoids found in cannabis – CBD and THC – have shown to have pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory, and anti-nausea properties. Cannabinoids have shown to significantly improve pain that had proven otherwise refractory to traditional treatments4. By interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system, CBD and THC have shown that they play an important role in regulating the immune system and suppressing inflammatory responses8. Cannabis has long been known to limit or prevent nausea and vomiting from a variety of causes11.
- Antibiotic against Lyme and against co-infections: marijuana is such a powerful antibiotic that it can even kill MRSA. The marijuana molecules that kill bacteria are cannabidiol, cannabichromene, cannabigerol, tetrahyrdocannabinol, and cannabinol.
- Anti parasitic: the whole Marijuana plant contains important molecules that increase its effectiveness against microbial infections. These chemicals are called terpenoids.
- Anti inflammatory: marijuana molecules called cannaflavins which have thirty times more anti-inflammatory capabilities than aspirin!
- Immune balancing: called “immuno-modulation,” immune balance occurs with the help of Marijuana molecules such as Anadeamide (AEA), and cannabinoids, helping the immune system fight the disease and not the patient.
- THC, the notorious part of the plant that causes the “high” feeling, has numerous medical benefits including: anti-inflammatory, anti-epileptic, anti-depressant, anti-nausea, appetite stimulant, pain relieving, reduces blood pressure, eases glaucoma pressure, and acts against cancer.
- Reliably induces the crucial healing factor in healing and detoxification: sleep.
- Inspires the patient with optimism, hope, detachment and relaxation.
- Stimulates release of Dopamine and Serotonin, improving outlook and relieving pain.
- Reduces inflammation in the brain, calming Lyme encephalitis
- Potent antioxidant protecting against cellular damage and preventing ischemic damage.
- Serotonin receptor stimulator, with a calming influence that also improves anxiety and depression.
- Muscle relaxant
- DNA protective
- Anti arthritic
- Smoking inhalation – instantaneous benefit. Because its effects are immediate, it is easy to determine whether you’ve achieved adequate dosing.
- Vapor inhalation – instantaneous benefit, protective of the lungs, yields much higher dose of medicine. Because its effects are immediate, it is easy to determine whether you’ve achieved adequate dosing.
- Oils – hemp oil is higher in CBD with only trace (if any) THC. Cannabis flower oil is “hash oil” and high in TCH.
- Hash oil – compressed flower bud resin, high in TCH.
- Cannabis infused coconut or olive oil – edible oil taken drop by drop for long term management of symptoms and eventual maintenance of disease remission.
- Tincture – Marijuana flowers and buds soaked in alcohol then strained. Potent, for addition to food, sublingual administration drop by drop, or topical application to painful joints.
- Edibles – Food items produced using Marijuana infused oil or butter.
- Juice – The juice of Marijuana leaves: a generous handful of stemless leaves blended with one cup of water, strained through cheesecloth or sieve. Portions can be consumed fresh or frozen in ice cube trays for later consumption. Juice made by this method does contain THC, but, because it’s never heated, the THC does not confer any psychoactive effects or “high.”
- Teas – Marijuana steeped at least 30 minutes in boiled water, with alcohol or a fat source such as butter or oil, added to capture fat soluble molecules into the solution.
- Topicals – lotions and salves with marijuana tincture added, intended for relief of pain and muscle spasm.
- CBD oil – extract from the “hemp” stalk or non-drug portion of the Marijuana plant. Legal, because it contains no THC. Gently confers multiple benefits
If you enjoy the outdoors but are not so fond of returning from your nature experience covered in blood-sucking pests, there are a few things that you can do to protect yourself:
- Wear light-colored clothing
- Wear a hat and a long-sleeved shirt
- Tape the area where your socks and pants meet
- Tuck your pants into your boots
- Stick to the center of the trail if you are hiking
- Avoid areas of high grass
- After being outside, remove clothing and wash and dry it at a high temperature
- Inspect your body carefully, especially the hairline area, belly button, underarm area, behind your knees and your waist
- Check all gear that you took outside with you before bringing it into the home
- Check pets carefully