By Joe Klare
Lyme disease, or Lyme borreliosis, is an emerging infectious disease caused by at least three species of bacteria belonging to the genus Borrelia. – Wikipedia
Lyme Disease is a very painful disease that can start off with flu-like symptoms and progress into painful muscles and joint swelling. More severe effects include paralysis and heart palpitations and if untreated can spread to the heart and brain.
Many sufferers of Lyme Disease seek relief from the pain and inflammation from the cannabis plant. One of those people is Stephanie, who I spoke with about her battle with Lyme Disease.
“My symptoms of Lyme began in June 2011. My tests didn’t come back positive for the disease until August (after 2 negative responses). Luckily, since I was aware of my tick bite and noted the symptoms early, I began a 3 week antibiotic in September and prior to finishing the antibiotic I still had symptoms. I began a new one mid-October and my symptoms have lessened, but persisted minimally.
“Most of the symptoms from my case of Lyme were located in my neck and upper back. I was bed ridden for the month of July, come August I was sick for a week and on and off, and after starting my antibiotic in the beginning of September was when my symptoms lingered. I had a very stiff neck (to the point of minimal movement) overall soreness, body temperature ranging from 94-109 degrees, a constant headache, fatigue, I was depressed, and completely lost my appetite. I lost 10 pounds.”
An incredible amount of suffering from the bacteria of a small tick.
“I continued my daily dosage of Mary J throughout the peak of my illness,” Stephanie said. “ Smoking when I woke up and throughout the day really relaxed my aches and had my mind off my body tension and distress. It put me to sleep when I was in so much pain. It also increased my appetite. I am lead to believe the disease is dormant in my neck and prior to my first antibiotic (when symptoms were occasional and lingering,) was when I noticed that after a lot of smoking, it made me “feel” the neck ache that I had always felt, which drove me to the doctors to begin the second antibiotic.
“I consider those months a very low point in my life. Lyme Disease was like nothing I’ve experienced with my health. Having cannabis to comfort me and tune my altered lifestyle due to Lyme was refreshing. It’s not like having this disease would have lessened my usage, it just kept the usual positive impact it’s had on my life including benefits.”
So why does cannabis work well for some patients with Lyme Disease?
Dr. William Eidelman, who has written medical marijuana recommendations for Lyme Disease in California, says, “Cannabis is an anti-inflammatory, so it reduces pain and inflammation. It also reduces the stress that comes with Lyme, and also reduces depression that can come with chronic illness.”
There are several strains that have better anti-inflammatory properties than others, mainly one with higher levels of the chemical CBD.
Strains like Rhino Wreck, Lifesaver, Harlequin, and Black Domina are known to be high in CBD, but unfortunately high-CBD strains are just now coming to the forefront of medical marijuana in places like the bay area of California.
But there are literally hundreds of strains that can be helpful with pain, including AK-47, Green Crack, Jack Herer and Blue Dream.
It’s important to talk about strain choice with those closest to you, friends who know your situation and who may be patients themselves, your doctor and even your local budtender. A little trial and error never hurt anyone either.
Finding the right strain(s) for your ailments may take a while, but the journey is worthwhile.