Cannabis and Lyme Disease: Kattie Talks Access

Although Lyme Disease is now the most common arthropod-borne illness in the U.S. with more than 150,000 cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control since 1982, its diagnosis and treatment are more than challenging for clinicians due to its diverse symptoms and even more limitations in treating it. The single biggest problem for Lyme Disease/Chronic Lyme Disease patients is handling the various ways the disease presents itself and attempting to gain treatments that are sometimes a tad unorthodox. One thing I personally know that works well is Cannabis Oil, and that comes from first-hand experience. In 2014, I was stunned to find out that two decades of Chronic Lyme disease came to an end after consuming large doses of high THC and CBD cannabis oils while treating severe epilepsy and weaning off of multitudes of pharmaceuticals prescribed to stop the seizures. I had no idea it would kill off the Lyme disease at all until I went for an annual physical and had to redo labs as my doctor thought there was an error due to the negative results for both a blood titer count as well as the Western Blot test for Lyme Disease. Five years later I remain negative with no sign of Lymes.

When Kattie showed me that her Vape Cartridge had run out as well as shared with me she couldn’t gain access to CBD due to the cost, it spurred the writing of this article. Patient access is so important — if patients like her can’t get the cannabis or extracts they need it seriously hurts the whole movement. One thing industry leaders aren’t considering when they pull back the purse strings on gifting or supplying patients like she is that just one patient who has access (I could be talking about myself here!) causes a domino effect of education and exposure. When 250,000 patients without cannabis or extracts are given access, suddenly we have a quarter million new recovery stories or accounts of cannabis use that led to a health concern being overcome. It allows those addicted to pharmaceuticals to step up and talk about how Cannabis has allowed them freedom, but first, they must have the plant! Now let’s get to Kattie’s interview!

1.) When were you diagnosed with Lyme Disease, what happened, were you bit by a tic?

“I was diagnosed in August 2013. I was bitten previously by a deer tick in Northern Wisconsin. I didn’t get the immediate bulls-eye rash. I presented with a strange all-over body rash. The doctor excused himself rather quickly, so much so, that I said to him “This doesn’t seem good”. His reply scared me, and I don’t scare that easily “I’m afraid it’s not” and then he gave me the news that would change my life in ways I never thought of. The doctors have no idea how long I had the Lyme before they caught it. The diagnosis was confirmed by the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota and the ongoing treatments began”

2.) Tell me about your experience with both the illness and the treatments, do they cause you a lot of discomforts?

“I was treated for 3 months with antibiotics. They made me so sick I could hardly function at all. For years leading up to my diagnosis, it felt like I was getting the flu constantly and having the hardest time getting over it. I’d never felt so sick before in my life. I started being unable to move correctly. I started walking. sitting, and laying differently to compensate. That leads to even more issues with pain instead of alleviating it. Some days it takes me at least 2 hours to get going once I’m finally able to get out of bed. Some days I can’t walk at all. I’ve been known to crawl at times. Some days I’ll collapse while standing or walking. I don’t want to be a complainer but this pain is debilitating! I feel the most in my hips and ribs. Treatments for pain include strong drugs I don’t want to take as it’s so addictive, and that’s where Cannabis really helps me. It also seems to do a lot more than antibiotics do as far as allowing me to get better from sicknesses I’ll get due to my immunity being suppressed. Both ingesting and vaping or smoking it seems to work the best, but it’s not easy to get even here in Florida where it’s legal.”

3.) When did you first hear about Cannabis/extracts for Lyme?

“I met people like you on social media and started following what you do. At first, I was hesitant to jump onto the bandwagon but when I saw so many others getting the relief I decided to try CBD and also Cannabis itself. I watched your story closely and many others as it gave me hope that there was something beyond pills to treat this disease, so many of us with this are suffering in silence. The hardest part is watching people that have a supply, I’m not jealous nor insecure, I think it’s natural for someone to envy others that have found a natural way to treat something so unnatural, although it comes from nature. I’m always trying to keep the medicine supply. I wish there were ways some of us patients could get more help because I know at least I would be grateful enough to let people know about programs like your compassion program that used to help out, I really miss that!”

4.) What methods have you tried in treating it using Cannabis or extracts and how did it work?

“I’ve used both cannabis smoked and ingested. I’ve used THC and CBD oils, and they both do so much good for me. In Florida, it’s been tricky because the law keeps changing so most of the time It seems that many patients like myself have to step into grey areas to get our medicinal cannabis, and most of the time that doesn’t work out too well as it’s really expensive and there’s no way to know what you’re getting. I’m like many cannabis patients with a limited income, we see what can help us but getting it isn’t too easy unless you’ve got the income to spare. When I have been able to get CBD and other extracts it’s been such a gift even when I pay for it. It takes saving up for many of us that can’t work because of our disability. Often it leaves me searching and in too much pain to do it adequately to keep what I would use on hand if I could. I don’t like to beg but sure wish that companies existed that helped patients like me that can’t afford what’s out there on the market. I believe many of the medications I take right now are hurting me instead of helping, but quitting them isn’t an option yet. Patients like you have shown me there’s hope, so I won’t give up on this Mike!”

5.) Have pharmaceutical treatments helped you or caused more problems? What’s worked better, the cannabis or the pharma drugs?

“Although the pain pills work to stop the pain, you just need more and more of them and then they backfire. There’s no comparison to the relief I get when I have Cannabis and CBD in oil or flower, it lasts longer and is better. When there’s no choice but to take the pills, it seems like they work better when I have cannabis. Sometimes CBD helps me to not need them but I think it’s a combination of both the buds and the oils. I don’t like how fast I get addicted to pills and try not to take them, but what choice do I have? The pills seem to help at first but then cause even more pain and problems, this seems to be the problem that not only I face, but others I know like me. I don’t want to be an addict and I don’t like being put in the position I am. Pain pills can work but cannabis can do better, much better. I don’t want to take opioids for the rest of my life and don’t understand why the government will pay for those to be provided easily but is blocking cannabis access for me. I prefer cannabis, but without a lot of help or some type of trust fund, I don’t know how I’ll ever be able to afford it. That bothers me because, after all, it’s a plant!”

6.) I’ve personally had Chronic Lyme Disease as well and treated it successfully with strong cannabis oils, it’s gone! I know you’ve tried this route, can you expand on how it works for you?

“I can’t always get the oils I need Mike, I’ve tried and won’t stop trying because I know how well they work. There’s a lot of people using cannabis oils online and talking about Lyme Disease and how it’s helping them, and some are getting better, they look well. I would do just about anything to be able to overcome this illness, I don’t like thinking that I’m diseased. CBD really helps the depression that comes with having this and THC really helps the pain. When I get both of those extracts together my whole world is different. I’m able to stay away from the pills and my body reacts in ways I don’t expect. I don’t catch every cold or virus that passes by me and I’m able to get up and move in the mornings. It’s beyond a wish to have cannabis and the different extracts available to me, it’s a dream that I know if I keep on dreaming, will come true.”

7.) What do you think is the biggest issue when it comes to medicating with Cannabis or extracts?

“Ignorance. People are so misinformed and uneducated on the topic, especially doctors. It takes someone like you who has experienced it and to talk about it to open people’s eyes and I want to be one of those people and know I can be. It seems really complicated at first but I’ve learned by following people that have the knowledge, I know that CBD will help depression and anxiety as well as keep my body healthier by acting as an antibiotic. I know how I respond to THC and what it does for me when inhaled, in oils it’s like a dream that seems to end too quickly but that’s going to change someday. When there’s more information available I think that more people will want the oils and then maybe there will be more to spare for us simple people that don’t have the incomes to get the premium supply, or many times, and supply!

8.) What type of advice would you give to people with Lyme Disease that are considering Cannabis or oils?

“Research, Research, and Research. Follow people online that can teach you that there are no universal dosing plans that work for everyone. There’s no perfect way to take it or perfect dosing from what I’ve learned. Since I don’t get out much I’ve had a lot of time to watch and read. I’ve learned enough about CBD to make sure that when I have some I don’t take high doses or take it at the same time with my seizure or anxiety medication so everything works better. Being patient is really important because you have to wait to get it and also it doesn’t work instantly. I’ll try different ways to use it when I can. It seems like ingesting oil works really well when I can do that. I also learned that when you do ingest cannabis, especially THC edibles, use small amounts at a time until you figure out your tolerance. I don’t mind being medicated on THC, it relaxes me and allows the pain medicine I don’t want to take to work better.”

9.) If you had one message you could send the world, what would it be?

“Don’t take your health for granted, be kind to yourself and others, and when you know that there’s a way to fight a health problem you’re having — Don’t Give Up!!!”

Kattie’s Journey brought me back to 2007, the year a port-a-cath was installed in my chest to allow for home IV treatments that lasted 45 days at a time for Lyme’s Disease. Those treatments, like many others I had, failed. I can personally remember a time in my life when I was one month on/one month off — with antibiotics, and those were the years right before I discovered that ingestion of cannabis in extract form and raw plant form was the key to medicating for several issues. It took over 3 years of a changed diet and probiotic use to get my gut health back in check. I don’t discount inhalation of the plant by smoking or vaping by any means as it has an entirely different endocannabinoid reaction than ingestion that many of us desire and need. When we inhale it activates cannabinoid receptors in our brain immediately. So for intense pain, I personally use both routes of intake. Cannabinoid Medicine is truly the answer for so many health concerns that pharmaceuticals simply don’t work well for or cause even more issues with.

Click here to get in contact with Kattie on Facebook!

Please get in touch with me and tell your story!

-Mike Robinson, Cannabis Patient and Founder, Global Cannabinoid Research Center. But, most of all, Genevieve’s Daddy

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