CBD and Lyme Disease
Lyme Disease is a disease that is transmitted from ticks (most often, deer ticks) and it affects about 475,000 people each year here in the United States (1). All tick bites don’t lead to Lyme disease, only those ticks that have been infected by Borrelia can transmit the disease to a person.
Some things to look for is the famous bullseye shaped rash that can grow following a tick bite, which can be painless. It is worth noting that you can get Lyme disease without a rash being present.
Once infected and left untreated, the bacteria can spread to the lymphatic system and bloodstream that is characterized by swollen lymph nodes (lymphedema). Other symptoms may include, but not limited to: joint stiffness (arthritic conditions), flu like symptoms (including fever), feeling ill (malaise), swollen meninges that may be accompanied by a headache, muscle aches and pains (myalgia), and in worse cases, paralysis, autoimmune disease, and even seizures (2).
Although there aren’t any direct studies that have been conducted on CBD and its impact on Lyme disease (due to cannabis illegal for the past 80+ years), we do understand the beneficial properties that CBD has, which include but not limited to: pain relieving (analgesic), anti-inflammatory, immune modulating (very beneficial when discussing autoimmune conditions) properties, as well as helping to control seizures (epilepsy) and inflamed meninges, all which a person with Lyme disease may deal with (3, 2).
Anecdotal studies seem to have positive results after others have shared their experience of utilizing these natural compounds like CBD to better help manage the symptoms associated with Lyme disease.
It is also worth noting that CBD can indirectly affect CB1 (found primarily in the brain and nervous system) and CB2 receptors, which can be found in the brain as well, but in low numbers. You can primarily find CB2 receptors in the periphery and immune cells (3). This is important because our immune cells, which is basically our immune system response, help offer protection from foreign invaders. B cells help to make antibodies and T cells help fight off infection from foreign invaders like bacteria, viruses, and you guessed it, Lyme disease as well (4). T cells also release cytokines, which can cause inflammation and much of the negative symptoms that come from Lyme disease (inflammation, pain, joint swelling) (4).
Just to recap, although there are not any studies that have been done to understand how cannabinoids like CBD can directly improve those affected with Lyme disease, there is no denying that the beneficial properties that CBD offers (mentioned above) can positively impact how one may deal with the symptoms associated with Lyme disease. The best part? The fact that these plant derived compounds are natural, have an excellent safety profile, and work with our body by interacting with our already established endocannabinoid system, makes it that much better! Cheers to these amazing, medicinal plant compounds.
*This information is for educational purposes only and simply sharing of the information related to these studies. No medical advice or claims are being made.
(1) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, August 29). Data and Surveillance. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved January 19, 2023, from https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/datasurveillance/index.html#:~:text=Standard%20national%20surveillance%20is%20only,year%20in%20the%20United%20States.
(2) Lyme disease - statpearls - NCBI bookshelf. (n.d.). Retrieved January 20, 2023, fromhttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK431066/
(3) Atalay S, Jarocka-Karpowicz I, Skrzydlewska E. Antioxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Cannabidiol. Antioxidants (Basel). 2019 Dec 25;9(1):21. doi: 10.3390/antiox9010021. PMID: 31881765; PMCID: PMC7023045.
(4) Medical marijuana, cannabis, & CBD for lyme. . (n.d.). Retrieved January 19, 2023, fromhttps://www.treatlyme.net/guide/marijuana-cannabis-cbd-lyme