The effects of cannabinoids on Lyme disease


Lyme Borreliosis, better known as Lyme disease, is a bacterial infection that can be transmitted to humans by a tick bite.  This infection can cause multiple symptoms and it is described in three phases[1].

Phases of Lyme disease

During the first phase, which begins 3 to 30 days after the tick bite, there is an annular red lesion with an active edge that extends centrifugally, while the centre clears, around the wound. This process is called the migrant erythema and symptoms include lymphadenopathy, fever, headache and arthralgia.

Without adequate antibiotic therapy, the second phase can be expressed between a few weeks and a few months after inoculation. This stage corresponds to a spread of the infection. The manifestations are joint disorders (arthritis), cardiac disorders, neuro-meningeal disorders (sensitive meningoradiculitis, peripheral motor impairment, Cranial Nerve Disease, ophthalmological disorders (uveitis, conjunctivitis, etc.), or a purple red nodule (benign skin lymphocytoma) in the face, ear, breast areola, or scrotum.

The third phase of Lyme disease can develop years after the transmission of this bacterium. Patients may express joint disorders (mono or oligo-arthritis), neurological disorders (encephalitis, polyneuropathy), skin disorders such as acrodermatitis chronica atrophicans (ACA) and post-Lyme syndrome (joint pain, headache, fatigue, etc).

Lyme disease and cannabinoids

Cannabinoids can be considered a treatment option. Despite the fact that medical cannabis is not a cure for Lyme disease, it is a way to improve the patient’s quality of life. Headaches, arthritis and chronic pain have shown positive effects among cannabis users, according to numerous studies[2].

Dermatological uses of medical cannabis, as claimed by dispensaries in Canada, the United States and Europe, included Lyme disease. Further research is needed to validate the indications, efficacy and safety of medical cannabis[3].

Finally, the scientific community recognizes that cannabidiol (CBD), one of the most well-known cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, is responsible for the anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective and analgesic properties, without any psychoactive effect. CBD is therefore considered to be the ideal natural alternative to traditional medicines for certain diseases like Lyme disease.

Did you like the post? Give us some feedback! This post has been done based on existent research to the date of publication of the article. Due to the increase in studies based on medical cannabis, the information provided can vary over time and we’ll keep informing in further writings.

[1] Report Lyme borreliosis, High Council of Public Health, 28 March 2014.

[2] Eric P.Baron, Philippe Lucas, Joshua Eades, Olivia Hogue, Patterns of medicinal cannabis use, strain analysis, and substitution effect among patients with migraine, headache, arthritis, and chronic pain in a medicinal cannabis cohort  J Headache Pain. 2018, 19(1): 37.

[3] Lim, M.; Kirchhof, M.G. Dermatology-Related Uses of Medical Cannabis Promoted by Dispensaries in Canada, Europe, and the United StatesJ. Cutan. Med. Surg. 2018, 1203475418808761


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