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Does cbd oils work for lyme disease

CBD for Lyme Disease in Dogs

Summertime is the high season for insect-borne diseases. With the warmer weather, we are spending more time outdoors, among the tall grass that makes a happy home for all sorts of creepy crawlies and especially TICKS! In North America, Lyme disease in dogs or humans is most commonly transmitted through the bite of a blacklegged tick, also called deer ticks. You may not even notice that you or your pet have come into contact with these little buggers until long after the fact, when symptoms begin to surface. Luckily, although CBD is not a cure for Lyme disease, CBD for Lyme disease in dogs can help in many ways.

Table of Contents

What is Lyme Disease?

Lyme Disease is a tick-borne illness, however it is not the tick bite itself that causes Lyme Disease, rather a particular bacterium which ticks are prone to hosting, Borrelia burgdorferi. The only natural way that this bacterium has been found to enter the bloodstream of humans and animals is through tick bites.

According to research, it takes between 36 and 48 hours for the bacterial transmission to occur. The most common age of tick to bite is a nymph. Nymphs are almost invisible; they are about the size of a pencil tip. Due to their small size, it is likely that you may not realize the bite, and the resulting transfer of bacteria, has happened until it is too late.

So even if you do everything in your power to prevent tick bites and Lyme disease in dogs, it’s possible your pet could still become infected. But how do you know if your dog has Lyme disease?

Symptoms of Lyme Disease in Dogs

Lyme disease has been called ‘The Great Imitator’ because of how easily its symptoms can be confused with other diseases. As mentioned above, Lyme disease is often transmitted by very small, immature ticks in their ‘nymph’ stage. Without seeing the tick that caused the infection, it can be difficult to make sense of the symptoms that come with Lyme disease in dogs.

According to Dr. Rania Gollakner, DVM, Lyme disease in dogs is one of the most common tick-transmitted diseases in the world. However, it only causes symptoms in 5-10% of affected dogs. So some dogs may have it, but never show symptoms. In other dogs, symptoms may not show up until years after the event that infected them.

Common symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs include:

  • ‘Bulls-eye’ rash at the infection site, a circular, expanding rash with target-like appearance
  • Swollen Lymph Nodes
  • Fatigue
  • Arthritis and Joint Pain
  • Limping or Lameness
  • Fever
  • Neuropathic Pain
  • Seizures

Conventional Treatment for Lyme Disease in Dogs

Lyme disease is caused by bacterial infection, so it stands to reason the best way to treat it would be with antibiotics , right? That is typically the wisdom most conventional veterinarians go by. Doxycycline, a tetracycline antibiotic, is the most common course of action for conventional veterinarians when treating Lyme disease in dogs.

If you are able to catch the infection in its early stages, there is a good chance you will be able to treat the bacteria effectively using antibiotics. The issue is, oftentimes Lyme disease in dogs is not discovered until symptoms start presenting themselves, at which point the bacteria is widespread throughout the body and is hard to target.

This unfortunately leads to long-term use of antibiotics, and eventually resistance to antibiotics, which has become a progressive concern over the last several decades. In addition, antibiotics come with a wide range of possible adverse effects on the rest of the body.

Among many reasons to avoid overusing antibiotics, is the risk of compromising the gut flora. As we know, the gut is central to our pets’ immune health. By upsetting this balance of good bacteria, we could end up seriously damaging our pets’ natural immunity and making them vulnerable to a whole host of infections and diseases.

CBD for Lyme Disease in Dogs

Although CBD for Lyme disease in dogs is not a cure, it has the potential to help in many ways. Let’s go over some of the many beneficial properties of CBD that are backed by research.

CBD as an Antibiotic

According to research, CBD and the other cannabinoids in a Full Spectrum Hemp Extract, have the potential to aid against a variety of bacterial infections, including Lyme disease. Cannabinoids like CBD, THC, CBC and CBG have all been shown to have powerful antibiotic effects.

Not only does cannabis have potential as a primary antibiotic for Lyme disease in dogs, there is evidence that it may also boost the effects of other conventional antibiotics that are typically used to treat the disease. According to a study by the London Metropolitan University:

When applied in combination with a range of antibiotics, CBD increased antibacterial effects of selected antibiotics, depending on bacteria type. CBD, in combination with specific antibiotics, may thus possibly be used as an adjuvant to selectively target bacteria to sensitize them to antibiotic treatment and reduce antibiotic resistance.

CBD for Inflammation

Widespread inflammation is one of the main symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs. Inflammation can occur in the brain, muscles, cardiovascular system, but the most prominent site for this symptom is in the joints. Inflammation of the joints often causes pain and mobility problems that can be quite debilitating for our pets.

The various cannabinoids found in a full spectrum hemp extract are known for the i r powerful anti-inflammatory properties . CBD for joint pain is a common remedy because of its ability to modulate our pets immune response and reduce inflammation.

CBD for Fever

Elevated body temperature is another one of the ways our pets’ immune system responds to the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. When chronic fever persists, it runs the risk of causing serious harm to our pet’s internal organs.

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The immuno-modulatory effects of cannabis are well documented. One of the ways CBD can help with the fever associated with Lyme disease in dogs, is by increasing communication within the immune system and suppressing the fever response.

Dr. Shawn Meirovici , a Toronto-based naturopathic doctor specializing in pain management, notes that cannabis is known to have “antipyretic or fever-reducing properties, due to its ability to suppress the immune system.”

CBD for Pain

Along with the joint pain that arises from the swelling in and around our pet’s joints, there are a lot of other ways this disease causes extreme discomfort throughout the body. Your pet is likely to experience intense muscle and body aches, as well as neuropathic pain.

One of the first recorded uses for Cannabis as medicine was for pain and inflammation of the joints. This has been confirmed by ongoing preclinical studies in animals, which have demonstrated that CBD reduces pain and inflammation. CBD offers safe, natural pain relief by altering the manner in which the central nervous system communicates the sensation of pain to the brain.

CBD for Nausea

In both humans and dogs, nausea can be a chronic problem for those who have been infected with the borrelia bacteria. This can result in vomiting, dizziness and a general feeling of malaise.

One of the most common uses for cannabis is to aid with the side effects of chemotherapy for cancer patients. The American Cancer Society even includes cannabinoids on its list of Medicines Used To Treat Nausea and Vomiting. “These drugs may be used to treat nausea and vomiting from chemo when the usual anti-emetic drugs don’t work. They also may be used to stimulate appetite.

Studies show that CBD is great for reducing excessive gastric acid, increasing blood flow to the stomach lining, and helping the lower esophagus prevent reflux. As mentioned above, CBD is also a natural inflammation regulator, which helps to ease intestinal inflammation, while the natural phospholipids simultaneously act as a pain and fever reducer.

CBD for Fatigue

Another common result of Lyme disease in dogs is extreme exhaustion. They are slow-moving, lethargic and don’t have much energy to get around. Undoubtedly this is due to all the painful and uncomfortable symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs, but also because of the way Lyme disease robs our pets of sleep.

We all know how important rest is for the healing process. These restless nights mean our animals have a harder time recuperating from illness and infection. On our rescue, Fire Flake Farm, we see all sorts of dogs with different health conditions and levels of stress. When dogs arrive at our door they are often stressed out and showing obvious signs of illness. One of the best ways we can support them is by giving them the gift of a good night’s sleep.

Luckily, CBD is a great way to help our pets relax, come to a place of rest and stay asleep. This case series reports that CBD has a calming effect on the central nervous system and can improve the amount and depth of sleep in those suffering sleep disorders and that CBD is better tolerated than other psychiatric medications.

CBD for Seizures

Though less common than some of the other symptoms, dogs who have been infected with the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium may succumb to occasional seizures.

One of the most dramatic and studied benefits of therapeutic cannabis is CBD for dog seizures. We recommend using CBD for seizures both at the time of an episode and to reduce the frequency of future seizures.

In a recent study, neurologist Stephanie McGrath assessed the short-term effect of CBD on seizure frequency in 16 dogs. Through the study, McGrath found that 89 percent of dogs who received CBD in the clinical trial had a reduction in the frequency of seizures. Additionally, McGrath saw a significant association between the degree of seizure reduction and the amount of CBD concentration in the dog’s blood.

Preventing Lyme Disease in Dogs

The best way to treat Lyme disease in dogs is preventatively. As we’ve discussed, detection can be challenging, not only due to the small size of the ticks and their bites going unnoticed, but also due to the wide range of symptoms. With Lyme disease in dogs, your best bet is to prevent the infection from happening, rather than treating it after the fact.

  • Be Aware of Ticks: Ticks are commonly found in tall grass, bushy and heavily wooded areas or on other animals. If you are going to be in these kinds of areas, make sure you check your dogs thoroughly for ticks after every walk.
  • Natural Tick Repellants: There are lots of great ways you can repel ticks. Try exploring different essential oils and natural products that will keep ticks away from your home and off your pets!
  • Be Careful Removing Ticks: Be careful how you remove these little buggers. They hold on tight and if you end up ripping them out and leaving the head, it is likely they will still infect your pet.
Carter Easler

Father of a bulldog, Moo, Carter is a life-long animal lover from Toronto, Canada currently residing in Brooklyn, NY. Growing up in a family of veterinarians, he grew up surrounded by animals. He had dogs, cats, rodents, reptiles — you name it, and Carter probably rescued it. Carter’s passion for cannabis activism started when he was in high school. After learning about the senseless prohibition and incredible diversity of cannabis’s utility, he was inspired to get involved. When Carter met Angela, he was excited to learn that he could combine his passions: animals and cannabis. Carter now travels North America to educate pet parents, retailers, and veterinarians about CBD. He is excited to bring his passion for pets to CBD Dog Health.

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Effects of CBD on Lyme Disease: A Potential New Treatment Option

Lyme disease has been growing to almost pandemic proportions, with over 300,000 cases of the condition per year. As CBD research also continues to grow, it makes sense to ask what the effects of CBD on Lyme disease might be. With little funding for research and given that only half of the people infected show a rash, it’s no wonder the disease has been able to boom so quickly and steadily. Unless caught in the initial stages, antibiotics prove to be ineffective, not to mention they may kill the good bacteria found in the gut. Because of this, trying antibiotics too late can potentially worsen your immune system’s ability to fight the infection created by Lyme Disease.

What is Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection usually caused by tick bites; specifically deer ticks. It’s also referred to as Lyme borreliosis, and the bacteria responsible attacks the organs of the infected over the course of 3 stages. Lyme disease can cause long-lasting and life-threatening complications if not promptly handled by a doctor.

Recently, it has been discovered that CBD may hold benefits and can be used by those affected by the condition. This is early stage discovery, and you must speak with your doctor if you have Lyme Disease. But, you may ask yourself just how does CBD work? In this read, we are going to dive deeper into the causes and symptoms of Lyme disease and how cannabidiol (CBD) can potentially affect the treatment of the infection, and it may not — early science is looking into it. We shall also explore if CBD is indeed a revolutionary form of alleviating this condition.

The Great Imitator

Lyme disease has been referred to as ‘The Great Imitator’ due to how easily the condition’s symptoms can be confused with other ailments. More often than not, it is transmitted by small, immature ticks in the nymph phase. If you do not see the tick that led to the infection, it’s hard to tell the source of the confusing symptoms. Part of the issue is that these symptoms are prevalent in many common diseases.

Common Lyme Disease Symptoms

-A bull’s eye rash around the infection site

-Joint pain and arthritis

Fortunately, CBD has been showing promising signs as a possible way to potentially address some symptoms related.

Effects of CBD on Lyme Disease Symptoms


One of the primary Lyme disease symptoms is widespread inflammation. The inflammation can occur in the muscles, cardiovascular system, brain, but joints are the most prominent location for this symptom. Joint inflammation usually causes pain and movement issues that can be very uncomfortable.

The many cannabinoids found in full-spectrum CBD extract have been shown to have strong anti-inflammatory properties. Cannabidiol for joint pain has become a common remedy due to its ability to modulate our immune response and alleviate inflammation.


Increased body temperature is one of the ways that the immune system responds to the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease. Extended chronic fever runs the risk of causing severe harm to your internal organs.

Studies on the immunomodulatory effects of CBD have been well-documented. Boosting communication within the immune system as well as suppressing fever response are some of the ways cannabidiol may help with the fever that comes with Lyme disease.


Nausea can be a chronic issue for people carrying the Borrelia bacteria. This can lead to dizziness and vomiting. One of the most common uses for CBD is for the side effects of patients undergoing chemotherapy. Specifically, it is used for the commonly reported experience of nausea due to these drugs.

In addition to the joint pain that comes from the inflammation around the joints, there are many other ways that Lyme disease can cause extreme discomfort. You are likely to experience intense body and muscle aches and neuropathic pain.

One of the most impressive properties of CBD is that it can provide peace of mind. Cannabidiol and other cannabinoids found in full-spectrum hemp can change the way our brains perceive pain.


Extreme exhaustion is another common symptom of people with Lyme disease. Without a doubt, this is due to the combination of all the varying symptoms that are painful and discomforting. Fatigue is also a result of the condition robbing patients of their sleep.

Rest is vital for muscle regeneration and healing. Restless nights mean that you’ll have a harder time recovering from the condition. Fortunately, cannabidiol is an excellent addition to your rest and sleep routine without too much effort. Studies have shown that CBD may have an effect on sleeping hormones. For this reason, it is advisable to watch your dosage if you don’t want to become drowsy during the day.


Although less common than the aforementioned symptoms, individuals who have been infected with Lyme disease may experience occasional seizures. CBD for seizures is one of the most dramatic and researched therapeutic benefits of the cannabinoid. Experts are starting to recommend using cannabidiol for seizures both at the occurrence of an episode as well as a preventative measure.

Common Form of Treatment for Lyme Disease

Since Lyme disease is caused by bacteria, it makes sense to treat it with antibiotics. This is usually the wisdom that most practitioners go by. If you’re able to catch the infection in the early stages, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to treat it effectively with antibiotics.

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The problem is that the condition isn’t often discovered until the symptoms start showing. At this stage, the bacteria are spread throughout the body and become harder to target.

The Repercussions of Using Antibiotics in the Long Term

By the time most individuals notice Lyme disease symptoms, it is usually too late for a prompt solution. During this stage, antibiotics are barely able to completely get rid of the culprit bacteria. The result is that most practitioners will prescribe long-term antibiotic treatments in order to keep the condition at bay.

The problem is that using antibiotics for an extended period can be detrimental to your health. One of the many reasons to avoid this form of treatment is the risk of killing gut flora or good bacteria.

The good bacteria found in the gastrointestinal tract are usually collateral damage in the antibiotic treatment of the condition. The gut is central to your immune health, so upsetting this balance could end up severely damaging your natural immunity and making you susceptible to an array of diseases and infections.

CBD As An Antibiotic

According to studies, cannabidiol has the potential to treat a wide array of bacterial infections, and Lyme disease is no exception. In fact, many cannabinoids like THC, CBG, CBC, and CBD have been shown to have strong antibiotic effects. This is early stage discovery, but very promising.

Enhances Other Antibiotics

CBD not only has the potential to treat Lyme disease, but there’s potential that it can even boost the effects of other broad-spectrum antibiotics commonly used to treat the infection. This is why your doctor needs to know if you are taking CBD, or plan too. They need to determine conflicts, because CBD does something to your body, and researches are still trying to prove exactly what it is doing.

According to a study conducted by the London Metropolitan University: “When CBD was applied in conjunction with other antibiotics, it boosted the effects of some of them, depending on the type of the bacteria.” As such, combining CBD with certain antibiotics can potentially amplify the effects, and possibly reduce resistance to antibiotics — consult your doctor if you take anything prescribed if you plan to take CBD.


Perhaps the best way to treat Lyme disease is through prevention. As mentioned earlier, detection can be hard once the ticks disappear. When it comes to Lyme disease, preventing the infection from occurring, rather than treating it, is your best bet.

Ticks are usually found in bushy, tall grass, heavily wooded places, and on animals. So whenever you’re in these places or come into contact with pets, it is imperative to check for ticks afterward. Also, be careful when removing these critters. They hold on tight, and you may end up leaving the head when ripping them out. This can still lead to an infection.

There are also numerous ways to repel ticks. You may want to experiment with essential oils and natural products to keep ticks at bay. Insect repellent containing DEET is also effective in preventing ticks from biting you.

Dosage For Best Effects of CBD on Lyme Disease

The primary determining factor of how much CBD you require depends on the severity of the infection. 25 milligrams per day is being considered by users as a maintenance dosage for healthy individuals with minor pains, or mild stress, or even those with depression have found CBD helps their day like a Vitamin C tablet may. If you have a more severe condition such as Lyme disease in the early stages, you’ll need to consult with your doctor and ask if increasing your CBD intake is a good idea.

Taking between 60 and 100 milligrams should be the maximum per day. You can take CBD between one and three times a day, but with higher dosages, it’s best to spread it out over the day with 3 dosages verses all at once. Some people prefer taking CBD at bedtime, and those who take a little throughout the day like doing so vs. at night. It’s all about finding what is right for you.


According to studies, you can’t physically overdose on cannabidiol. Additionally, very few adverse side effects have been identified with CBD users, unlike many pharmaceutical medications. As such, don’t feel scared to experiment with the dosage amount. Just remember, anything over 100mg is potentially wasteful. We understand that our bodies will only use what it wants, and push the remainder out to waste. Once the body is used to the CBD, there’s a good chance you’ll also feel much better and determine exactly how much you require over time.

As usual, full-spectrum CBD oil is recommended as it contains traces of other cannabinoids, and terpenes that may have other benefits. These work together to lend a synergistic effect, and thus potentially improve the efficacy. In more severe cases of the condition where there is pain involved, patients under doctor treatment may ideally take THC in conjunction with CBD. If you do not have a problem with THC’s psychotropic effects, and you are in a legal state where THC can be prescribed do not be afraid to try a 50/50 THC and CBD combination. You must be speaking with your doctor at this point, and as always, consult your doctor!

Final Words

As you can see, CBD may be extremely beneficial in addressing the symptoms related to Lyme disease. It may work, it is safe in small doses, more accessible, and may provide benefits, and may contradict antibiotics, so do yourself a favor and speak with your doctor if you have Lyme Disease.