Back in 2020, I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease and incorporated CBD into my treatment regimen. Here's how it helped.
Paul JamesUpdated on July 25, 2022
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When it comes to Lyme Disease, there are no easy answers. And in terms of whether or not you can use cannabidiol (CBD) to treat Lyme Disease, there is no straightforward answer.
On the surface, CBD cannot cure Lyme Disease nor can it fight against bacterial infection. However, it may provide some relief from the number of symptoms commonly associated with the condition.
As someone who’s struggled with Lyme and also used CBD in the process, I can safely say there is the promise of relief. But how much relief you can expect to experience from CBD remains up in the air – usually differing greatly from person to person.
Throughout this article, I’m going to take a deeper look into Lyme Disease and its symptoms. From there, I’ll discuss some of the research concerning using CBD as a treatment method, all while providing some insight into my own experience.
What is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is an inflammatory condition caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is usually transmitted through ticks. While most people identify the disease by finding a tick on them, some may not notice until a skin rash called erythema migrans (typically referred to as a “bullseye rash”) appears. Though, it’s worth noting that this rash is only apparent in about 70% to 80% of people with the condition.
If left untreated, Lyme Disease will start to produce other symptoms, including:
Some have reported other symptoms that appeared after contracting Lyme Disease, such as sensitivity to brightness. Not to mention, others may experience mental symptoms, such as anxiety, insomnia, and depression.
Furthermore, not everyone will experience the same set of symptoms when diagnosed with Lyme Disease. For example, upon my diagnosis, I did not experience facial palsy or fever. However, I did undergo debilitating arthritis and headaches.
If Lyme Disease is treated in a later stage and symptoms remain persistent after antibiotic treatment, then doctors will categorize this as an autoimmune disease rather than a bacterial infection. Therefore, further treatment usually involves addressing specific symptoms.
However, since there’s only so much data suggesting Lyme transforms into an autoimmune disease, many within the medical community have argued that “persistent Lyme” is a long-term infection. Therefore, under this argument, the only way to properly treat it is through long-term antibiotic therapy.
This debate has caused a lot of controversies and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend long-term antibiotics to treat Lyme Disease. Still, some research is looking into the potential of long-term treatment and how it may be beneficial for some individuals. But as of this time, there isn’t enough research to confirm its efficiency.
Personally, I initially received 10 days of antibiotic treatment during the disseminated stage of the condition. However, as I continued to feel symptoms well over a month after treatment, I decided to try long-term antibiotics alongside natural supplements (more on this later). My rationality was even if it didn’t work, I’d rather be safe than sorry.
Admittedly, this did come with a series of intense side effects that made me even sicker than I already was. But after about a year of antibiotic treatment, 95% of my symptoms were gone and I stopped treatment.
Since Lyme Disease treatment is a topic that remains debated, you should always consult your doctor before undergoing any form of therapy.
Can You Use CBD to Treat Lyme Disease?
In terms of the bacterial infection itself, the short answer is no. Cannabidiol (CBD) does not have the ability to cure the Lyme bacteria in your system.
Admittedly, some research suggests that certain cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant may have antimicrobial activity. The problem with this research is it’s extremely limited and doesn’t directly address Borrelia burgdorferi.
Still, even if it did, it’s very unlikely CBD helps to fight off this specific kind of bacteria as research points out that Borrelia burgdorferi is a spirochete. Similar to syphilis, it’s able to work its way into areas of the body other bacteria can’t reach, such as bone tissue. Therefore, it’s much more difficult to treat than other bacterial infections.
Additionally, if you see a CBD brand advertising CBD as a form of treatment, they’re directly violating rules set forth by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). In accordance with the FDA, CBD products cannot prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.
However, even though CBD may not be able to treat Lyme, some have found it provides relief for specific symptoms caused by the infection.
Most notably, research has found CBD to be a prominent analgesic and anti-inflammatory when it comes to specific pains Lyme Disease brings about. These include arthritis, chronic pain, migraines, and nerve pain.
Though, it should be noted that the relief CBD may provide isn’t directly related to the way in which Lyme Disease works on the body. In other words, CBD can’t address the source of the pain from Lyme – rather, it may dampen it.
Furthermore, CBD may also address some of the mental issues associated with Lyme, such as anxiety and sleep.
How Did I Incorporate CBD Into My Lyme Treatment?
For my own treatment, CBD topicals became a prominent tool in decreasing muscle and joint pains. These allowed me to target specific areas of pain where I found it to be most intense. In my case, this was the elbows and knees.
I usually gravitated to topicals that also incorporated menthol as this provided an instant cooling effect before the CBD kicked in. Personally, I found this to be important as my pain would come out of nowhere and shoot through my muscle and joints at random.
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While I tried a handful of different topicals, I found Medterra’s Rapid Recovery Cream to be the most effective. Each is infused with arnica and menthol while also incorporating either 250mg, 500mg, or 750mg of CBD isolate (I definitely recommend the higher potency).
Beyond pain, I also experienced heightened anxiety (particularly due to the stress of having Lyme) alongside the worst insomnia I ever experienced in my life (I still struggle with this even after treatment). In order to combat both these symptoms, I incorporated either a CBD oil or a CBD gummy, depending on whichever I had at the time.
Admittedly, I don’t find CBD oil to be the best when it comes to anxiety relief. I only say this because it makes me feel fatigued and therefore, isn’t an ideal solution for daytime anxieties. However, with that said, CBD did wonders for me when it came to sleep. Beyond the fact that it helped me get to sleep quicker, it also helped me get higher-quality sleep.
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When it came to sleep, no other product hit me like Green Roads Sweet Sleep CBD Oil. Every serving comes with 25mg of broad-spectrum CBD, 2.5mg of cannabinol (CBN), and 2.5mg of melatonin.
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It’s worth noting that since I live in a legalized state, I also implemented tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) into my treatment. I’m not 100% sure how this affected me in comparison to CBD, but it definitely had an impact. Most notably, I found THC to be more prominent for pain and migraine relief. And research has found THC is more likely to help in these regards.
Not to mention, antibiotics destroyed my gut health and in turn, left me with little to no appetite. THC was much more helpful than CBD in regards to my appetite.
Still, it’s worth noting that I never incorporated a cannabis product to cure my Lyme Disease. They were merely tools I used in order to relieve certain symptoms and make the whole experience more bearable. As a means of treatment, I stuck with the antibiotics I was prescribed alongside some natural supplements, including Cat’s Claw, Japanese Knotweed, and Andrographis. Furthermore, I integrated certain lifestyle changes, such as dieting and exercising.
Pros of CBD Oil for Lyme Disease
CBD products may provide relief for certain symptoms, such as pain, sleep disruptions, and anxiety
You don’t need a prescription to purchase CBD, it can be safely obtained through online shops
There is a versatile selection of CBD products currently available, ensuring there’s something for everyone
CBD is non-psychoactive as it contains less than 0.3% THC – in other words, you won’t experience a “high”
Cons of CBD Oil for Lyme Disease
CBD will not cure Lyme Disease, you still need other treatment methods in order to battle the infection
You may experience side effects from CBD, including diarrhea, drowsiness, dry mouth, fatigue, and reduced appetite
The CBD industry currently isn’t regulated by the FDA
It’s not recommended you take CBD alongside other medication, including those prescribed for Lyme Disease
Pregnant and lactating women should avoid CBD altogether
Lyme Disease is a difficult topic to discuss because there are so many conflicting ideas on how it should be treated. As already stated, CBD is simply not a treatment option. In general, there is no way cannabis or the hemp plant can help to address the bacterial infection that causes Lyme Disease.
However, as I found in my personal experience (and in relation to scientific research), CBD does hold the potential to provide relief from certain symptoms associated with Lyme Disease. Still, you should never incorporate any treatment regimen before consulting your doctor.
Paul James is a seasoned cannabis and CBD writer and expert. He is a mental health blogger who advocates CBD as a natural alternative to prescription medications. You can read more about this and other natural alternatives on his blog: https://bedlamite.co/."
Frequently Asked Questions
There are no standards when it comes to CBD dosage, no matter the condition. In my personal experience, I found higher strength products (usually around 50mg per serving) to be most effective. But CBD works differently in everyone and you’ll need to experiment around with dosage before finding the right one for you.
While CBD oil may provide some relief as an anti-inflammatory, it WILL NOT prevent a Lyme Disease infection. Therefore, if you find a tick or a bullseye rash on you, it’s important to see a doctor immediately.
CBD oil will have the same effect on dogs as it does on humans. Therefore, it may help to provide your furry friend with relief, but will not fight against the bacterial infection. If you’re thinking about incorporating CBD into your dog’s treatment regimen, it’s important to consult your veterinarian prior to doing so.