Yes. There are so many benefits to the use of medical marijuana, aka Cannabis, in treating Lyme disease that a whole book could be written. In fact, a whole book now has been written. If you are sick with Lyme disease or other chronic conditions, please read Cannabis for Lyme disease and Related Conditions by Shelly White, which clarifies the medicinal applications of medical marijuana.
Benefits of Marijuana in Chronic Illness
- 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
- Effective treatment for nerve pain, migraine, muscle spasm, brain fog, insomnia
- Effective symptom management for PTSD
An objection commonly voiced to me by Lyme patients considering marijuana: “it makes me paranoid,” or “I don’t like the way it makes me feel.” Another is: “I have enough brain fog; the last thing I need is to be high.” True enough! “High” is really not my medical goal for you. That said, most of the time my Lyme patients are suffering from a kind of exhaustion that other people have a hard time imagining or relating to.
The irony of this profound fatigue is that simultaneously, Lyme sufferers find achieving restful sleep to be tricky and elusive. Here, that same molecule that induces the high can be a great helper, because at the appropriate dose, it also induces restful sleep.
Marijuana’s medicinal molecules work together synergistically
Synergistic and potentiating qualities have been demonstrated in studies on many of the medicinal constituents of the marijuana plant. In order to obtain all of the above benefits, it is necessary to ingest a whole plant product, rather than an isolated form such as CBD.
Many who wish to experience Marijuana’s health benefits are reluctant to try it because they do not wish to experience its psychoactive effects, also known as “the high.” For these individuals, Sativa strains are the preferred type of Marijuana. They yield the full benefits of Marijuana without stupefying the patient.
Some patients do not mind the stupefying effect of “the high,” as long as it also causes them to fall asleep. For these patients, Indica strains are valuable.
In treating chronic illness, patients can benefit from Sativa as well as from Indica, if the different types of strains are used at different times of the day.
Cautions regarding medical Marijuana use:
Chronically ill individuals should avoid ingestion of toxic chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides, or toxic solvents. Choose organically grown medical Marijuana.
Poorly dried or prepared herbs including Marijuana can harbor mold. Ask for literature and/or information regarding the growth, harvesting, and preparation of medical Marijuana.
Marijuana allergy exists. If allergic symptoms such as hives, swelling, or difficulty breathing arise, discontinue use.
As mentioned above, Marijuana is an excellent treatment of Inflammation. This however can cause Herxheimer Reaction, also known as Herxing. Basically what happens during the Inflammation Therapy injured or dead bacteria release their endotoxins much too fast for the body to comfortably handle it, causing an inflammation flare up. Marijuana can cause Lyme patients to Herx and the way I see it, Herxing is a great sign that your treatment plan needs more endotoxin drainage.
The abuse of Marijuana does occur and addiction to Marijuana has been experienced by many individuals. Marijuana Anonymous is a 12 step program for those whose lives are affected negatively by overdependence on Marijuana. It is recommended that each patient be judicious in the use of Marijuana. Respect the potency of the plant. If overdependence develops, the prescribing physician should be contacted and alternatives discussed. Tolerance to Marijuana can also develop with use.
The use of Marijuana in pregnancy is controversial. Marijuana is commonly used in pregnancy and in the medicinal cannabis community the use of Marijuana in pregnancy is considered safe. The extent and breadth of studies required in order to claim that Marijuana is safe in pregnancy do not yet exist. At the time of the creation of this document, these are under study.
How to Use Marijuana Safely
Whether or not the patient utilizes Sativa or Indica, it is not appropriate to operate heavy machinery while under the influence of Marijuana. Patients who are also parents report that the effects of Sativa do not impair their ability to wake in the night if needed to care for their children.
In choosing a form of medicinal Marijuana, keep in mind that most practitioners do not recommend smoking Marijuana, because fragile lung tissue can be harmed by inhaling hot smoke.
MANY FIRST TIME USERS OF MARIJUANA USE TOO MUCH AND EXPERIENCE AN “OVERDOSE”
Dosing Marijuana has individual variance. When learning to use Marijuana, it is important to start with a smaller dose than recommended and assess its effects over a time period of two to four hours. Because chronically ill people can react with greater sensitivity to medications than healthier users of Marijuana, it’s recommended that patients with chronic illness take one-quarter the recommended dose of any form of Marijuana.
Medical Marijuana comes in different forms
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.
Rick Simpson Oil – oil concentrated out of Marijuana flowers that have been extracted repeatedly in alcohol, then dried slowly. Low yield, very high potency, used by cancer patients with many anecdotal stories of success.
BHO – highly potent, solvent extract of Marijuana flower buds. Though considered safe to consume, Butane and other solvent-extracted Hash Oils are nevertheless environmentally toxic and can leave toxic reside on the Marijuana product.
C02 oil – an environmentally safe and nontoxic way to create “BHO.”
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
How to make your own Marijuana-infused oil:
Grind 2 Tbsps. of dried Marijuana buds until powdery. Mix into ¾ cup olive or coconut oil. For 20 minutes, simmer gently on stove without boiling. Stir frequently. Cool for 30 minutes. Strain through cheesecloth or coffee filter into jar. For initial dosing, start with one drop, wait one hour to assess effects. Add an additional drop per hour until relief is achieved.