Cannabis is providing some relief to people suffering from Lyme disease in Massachusetts. And while its no cure to the debilitating illness that's commonly spread by ticks, cannabis has proven to be a helpful tool for allowing patients to lead a normal life while they recover.
Recently, Lyme Awareness - a Massachusetts-based wellness center dedicated to provide care to patients with Lyme disease - has added medical marijuana to its list of resources that have proven to be a great help for the patients they serve."It's another tool to use," according to Lyme Awareness Founder Ronald F. Gangemi, who says patients use cannabis largely as a sleep aid and for pain management.
Lyme disease can be a high debilitating condition if not treated early. Sufferers may develop facial palsy as well as meningitis in some cases. Inflammation of the spinal cord is common, cause chronic nerve pain which can make mobility limited.
Denver-based physician Daniel A. Kinderlehrer says many of the patients he treats have seen benefits from medical marijuana as well. He sites the drug's anti-inflammatory properties as well as it's ability to stimulate appetite and increase mood as some of the main reasons for its use. But he says patients should not see cannabis as a cureall for Lyme disease.
"There’s an important distinction. Marijuana is not going to treat Lyme," Kinderlehrer told The Mashpee Enterprise. "But, it is has a role in the treatment."
Still, he says cannabis's ability to prevent brain inflammation is particularly important for Lyme sufferers, and he has seen good results from patients who find it works for them.
"The bug is creating chaos and the chaos is making us sick," he said. "With cannabis, we are interrupting that to a degree. We are restoring some order here and interfering with the chaos the bug creates."