Getting Lyme disease from a black-legged (deer) tick bite might very well become North America’s version of malaria that runs rampant in tropical and subtropical climates. True, Lyme disease, caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi and Borrelia mayonii transferred by a tick bite, is a completely different disease than malaria, caused by a parasite transmitted to humans by being bitten by an infected mosquito. But both can have devastating impacts on quality of life. And there is currently no vaccine against either disease.
Like most homesteaders, my wife Lisa Kivirist, son, and I spend a lot of time outdoors. We forage for morel mushrooms in spring, harvest wood throughout the summer months, and walk back and forth from our farmhouse to our organic growing fields at Inn Serendipity to harvest fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs. We live in what the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) would probably call a “tick habitat.” And we definitely don’t apply insecticides as advocated by the CDC for tick prevention. Mentioned in my previous article about protection from Lyme disease, we have found some insect repellents to have worked for us so far.
If you get bit by a tick, you may find the bullseye rash often associated with tick bites that carry the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. Sometimes you’ll find a doctor who prescribes a short-term dose of Doxycycline antibiotics immediately after you think you may have been bitten by a tick (even without locating a bullseye rash) that may possibly be carrying Lyme disease or another tick-related disease. Many people, however, never see the bullseye rash. And it’s my personal experience that it can may be extremely hard to convince a healthcare provider to prescribe antibiotics as a precaution. The flu-like symptoms or other peculiar symptoms of tick-related diseases leave many doctors befuddled. My son had just one swollen right knee, off and on, for years before we had to switch healthcare provider who was willing to make a clinical diagnosis of Lyme disease and treat him.
The bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi carried by the ticks is quite stealthy. While blood tests are available, they’re not very accurate. The more I asked around, the more fellow farmers and homesteaders seemed to describe symptoms similar to mine, some living with the joint pain, headaches or general fatigue for years.
Living With, and Managing, Lyme Disease with CBD Products
While the CDC and many doctors feel the Doxycycline antibiotics will completely kill off the harmful tick-transmitted bacteria, a swelling number of patients disagree, plagued with chronic joint pain or other nerve-related issues. It’s gotten so bad, that so-called “Lyme literate doctors” offer special care and treatment for patients with Lyme, treatment often not covered by traditional health insurance. Entire books have also been written about different protocols for treating chronic Lyme disease.
A relatively new course of management of some Lyme symptoms are various cannabidiol (CBD) products. If you decide to try CBD, you’ll need to experiment on what works for you based on the concentration of CBD in the particular product, your weight and body chemistry, and what you’re trying to treat. CBD is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Therefore, the FDA provides no recommended dosages.
Thanks to the legalization of the growing and sale of hemp in 2018, there has been an explosive growth in hemp, the non-psychoative cousin of cannabis. Many homesteaders have embraced growing hemp, in part, because the new crop recycles nutrients and reduces soil erosion, and because it can be more profitable than growing carrots and tomatoes for market.
“CBD products give people an opportunity to feel healing effects for a wide variety of ailments, using a natural plant extract, that works very well for many,” says FL Morris, President and Founding Member of South Central Wisconsin Hemp Cooperative. “CBD gives a healthy, non-addictive, alternative solution or supplement to prescription and over the counter drugs that do not have local organic farmers creating the source ingredients.”
So far, I consider myself lucky, since I have a doctor who is assisting with some pharmaceutical medication related to managing my odd nervous system functioning. However, I’ve also found some success with several new CBD products now on the market. Consult with your doctor before trying CBD products, since certain medications could have some interactions.
CBD and Honey Ache and Pain Relief from Life Elements
For several years, I struggled with joint pain in my shoulders. It wasn’t caused by over doing it in the growing fields. I fact, the pain suddenly set in after a stressful life event. Stress most likely triggered an episode of Lyme disease, causing the dormant bacteria to suddenly be active and lead to painful and inflamed joints.
CBD and Honey Ache and Pain Relief rub from Life Elements was quite effective at reducing inflammation and ease my shoulder pain. I’ve turned to it regularly when I have seasonal flair-ups of joint pain. Life Elements uses full-spectrum, organic, non-gmo, hemp-derived CBD grown in the US.
Luce Farm Wellness Hemp Extract and Other CBD Products
On a 200-year-old, Vermont Certified Organic farm in Stockbridge, Vermont, Rebecca and Joe Pimentel have focused on full-spectrum hemp-infused wellness products. Luce Farm Wellness hemp-infused Body Balm and Warming Rub has helped ease some of my joint pain in shoulders and knees.
I’ve just started experimenting with their full-spectrum Luce Farm Wellness CBD Hemp Extract, using drops from their dropper bottle in my morning coffee. Use of the Hemp Extract may help in better managing my mild, but on-going, odd neurological sensations.
“It is very important for consumers to ask for or look up a certificate of analysis (COA) for any CBD extract product,” advises Morris. “This is becoming available as a QR code on the packaging, should be presented by the retailer, or listed on the manufacturer's website. If the COA is not available, do not buy it. The product could have no CBD content.”
John D. Ivanko, with his wife Lisa Kivirist, have co-authored Rural Renaissance, Homemade for Sale, the award-winning ECOpreneuring and Farmstead Chef cookbook along with operating Inn Serendipity B&B and Farm, completely powered by renewable energy. Both are speakers at the Mother Earth News Fairs. As a writer and photographer, Ivanko contributes to Mother Earth News, most recently, Living with Renewable Energy Systems: Wind and Solar and 9 Strategies for Self-Sufficient Living. They live on a farm in southwestern Wisconsin with their son Liam, a 10.8-kW solar power station and millions of ladybugs. Read all of John’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
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