Effective Lyme Disease Treatment: Psilocybin

Lyme Disease Treatment

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Lyme Disease Treatment

Lyme disease can lead to serious mental and neurological issues that might not respond well to typical treatments. The development of these problems seems linked to inflammation caused by the body’s immune response. In this instance, a previously healthy man with confirmed neuropsychiatric Lyme disease couldn’t tolerate standard medications. However, when he started taking very small, non-hallucinogenic doses of psilocybin (a compound found in certain mushrooms), his symptoms improved. Research suggests that psilocybin has effects on serotonin levels and can reduce inflammation, potentially providing relief for mental health issues related to autoimmune reactions. The use of tiny doses of psilocybin in treating Lyme-related mental health problems and autoimmune brain disorders deserves further investigation. (source)

Can Psychedelics Health Autoimmune Diseases?

What Is Lyme Disease?

Lyme borreliosis is an infection caused by Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (Bbsl). These bacteria are transmitted by Ixodes ticks and can generate multisystem complaints.

What Can Lyme Disease Cause?

Persistent infection, resulting in chronic neurological symptoms, is well documented. It is now appreciated that chronic infection with Bbsl can cause a host of psychiatric issues, and that neuropsychiatric complaints, particularly anxiety and depression, may dominate the clinical picture. In addition, chronic Lyme neuroborreliosis has been linked to eating disorders, addiction syndromes, violence, anhedonia, depersonalisation, dissociative episodes, suicide, and illnesses that look like schizoaffective disorders and bipolar disease. (source)

Co-Infections Complicate Things

Neurological problems caused by Lyme disease can get even more complex due to additional infections from other microbes carried by ticks. One such microbe, Bartonella spp., is linked to various mental health conditions like anxiety, panic disorder, depression, OCD, phobias, eating disorders, substance abuse, psychosis, and personality disorders. Moreover, other tick-borne microbes such as Babesia and Mycoplasma species can also contribute to mental health challenges. (source)

Case Study Summary

A case is presented of an immunocompetent 70-year-old male diagnosed with poly-microbial tick-borne infections: neuroborreliosis, babesiosis and bartonellosis. His predominant symptoms were neuropsychiatric. The patient was not responding to antimicrobial or psychotropic pharmaceuticals, but symptoms remitted when treated with low intermittent doses of psilocybin—ie, microdosing. (source)

Case History

This individual was in good health until the age of 46, when he suddenly developed symptoms such as fever, chills, intense sweating, and muscle pain. These symptoms recurred weekly for the following two weeks. During a physical examination, doctors noted an enlarged spleen, and laboratory tests confirmed acute Lyme disease, despite the patient not recalling a tick bite or rash. He lived in eastern Massachusetts at the time. (source)

Treatment began with oral doxycycline, which helped alleviate the recurring fevers. However, the patient then started experiencing severe insomnia and anxiety. Over the next ten months, he tried various antibiotics—oral doxycycline, clarithromycin, or cefuroxime, alone or in combination—yet his symptoms persisted, including muscle pain, neck discomfort, and night sweats. Eventually, he stopped antibiotics as they didn’t seem to improve his mood or physical condition. There was no family history of psychiatric issues, no prior mood disorders, and no recent stressful events that could explain his mood problems.

Five years after the initial illness, he was diagnosed with babesiosis through PCR testing. Treatment with azithromycin and atovaquone caused a Herxheimer reaction, exacerbating panic attacks, but his symptoms lessened after three weeks. Over the next twenty years, he experienced periods of partial relief followed by relapses marked by anxiety, panic attacks, depression, cognitive issues, and insomnia, alongside fatigue, neck pain, muscle aches, and night sweats. (source)

These relapses typically lasted around two years each. Antidepressants like sertraline and mirtazapine provided some relief initially but became less effective over time. At one point, he was clinically diagnosed with bartonellosis and maintained on sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim (SMZ-TMP), which helped to some extent. Subsequent lab tests showed positive results for both Borrelia burgdorferi and Bartonella henselae.

At the age of 70, the patient experienced another relapse when his antimicrobial treatment was changed. This time, he suffered from severe depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbances, along with a return of physical symptoms. None of the Lyme disease treatments were tolerated without worsening his symptoms. He was prescribed benzodiazepines for sleep and anxiety, but they exacerbated his depression, and sertraline provided no relief. (source)

The Start Of Microdosing

After enduring three months of suffering, he started taking psilocybin in microdoses of 100 mg orally three times weekly, eventually increasing the dose to 125 mg after two weeks. Surprisingly, within just two days, he noticed a marked improvement in his mood. Within two weeks, he felt consistently well again. Continuing this regimen, even two years later, his depression and anxiety remain in remission. Initially, he expected it to take two weeks for any potential benefits to kick in, with only a 50% chance of success. Thus, he was genuinely surprised at how quickly he experienced positive effects. (source)

Within three weeks of his symptoms appearing, he was diagnosed with Lyme disease. However, even with antibiotics, his symptoms persisted. It wasn’t until he was diagnosed with babesiosis that it became evident his lack of response to initial treatment was due to co-infections. The sudden onset of high fevers, chills, sweating, and spleen enlargement aligned more with babesiosis than Lyme disease. Despite this, ongoing neuropsychiatric symptoms led to a subsequent diagnosis of bartonellosis, supported by his response to SMZ-TMP treatment and later serologic testing. (source)

The presence of co-infections alongside Lyme disease is common and underscores the importance of considering tick-borne infections as the root cause of neuropsychiatric symptoms. In this case, these symptoms emerged shortly after the acute infection, with no previous history of mood disorders. Relapses in mood were consistently accompanied by physical symptoms consistent with these infections, exacerbated by Herxheimer reactions. Moreover, there was no family history or evident stressors to account for the mood disorder.

As observed, tick-borne infections often lead to significant neuropsychiatric symptoms, with patients frequently unable to tolerate or benefit from conventional psychotropic medications. Considering the autoimmune neuroinflammation at play, alternative pharmaceutical approaches are warranted.

The Potential Benefit of Psilocybin: Serotonin & Anti-Inflammatory Action

Most discussions about psilocybin’s benefits for mental health focus on its role as a serotonin agonist. Psilocybin strongly binds to the serotonin receptor 5-HT2A and also has some affinity for serotonin receptors 5-HT1A and 5-HT2C, as well as other receptors beyond serotonin. While blocking the 5-HT2A receptor with ketanserin can prevent the hallucinogenic effects of psilocybin, studies suggest that this doesn’t necessarily stop its antidepressant effects. Moreover, activating both 5-HT1A and 5-HT2A receptors may lead to dopamine release in the brain, indicating that psilocybin’s effects could involve both dopamine and serotonin pathways.

However, less attention has been given to psilocybin’s anti-inflammatory properties, which could offer significant therapeutic potential, especially when mental health issues are linked to inflammation in the brain. Serotonin doesn’t just act as a neurotransmitter but also regulates the immune system, suppressing the release of inflammatory molecules by immune cells. Studies have shown that extracts from psilocybin-containing mushrooms can inhibit the production of inflammatory cytokines like TNF-α and IL-1β, and reduce concentrations of other inflammatory markers like IL-6 and cyclooxygenase-2.

In a broader review of how psychedelics affect the immune system, some researchers have suggested that these substances could potentially alleviate autoimmune conditions. In the case discussed here, the quick improvement seen with microdosed psilocybin aligns with its anti-inflammatory actions, indicating its potential as an effective treatment option. (source)

My Interview With Michelle Janikian On The Healing Benefits Of Psilocybin


Neuropsychiatric Lyme disease involves inflammation in the brain triggered by infection and autoimmune responses. While antibiotics and psychiatric drugs are commonly used to treat it, there’s interest in finding treatments that can calm inflammation without suppressing the immune system. In a recent case, a man with confirmed neuropsychiatric Lyme disease saw significant improvement after taking small doses of psilocybin three times a week.

We already know that a single large dose of psilocybin, administered with therapy, can help with certain mental health conditions. Although the evidence for microdosing (taking small, regular doses) isn’t as solid, psilocybin’s anti-inflammatory properties could be beneficial for autoimmune conditions like Lyme disease-related brain inflammation. This case marks the first successful use of microdosed psilocybin for mental health issues linked to autoimmune neuroinflammation caused by infection.

More research is needed to fully understand how microdosing psilocybin could help people with mental health problems and autoimmune diseases. Ideally, future studies should use rigorous methods, like double-blind placebo-controlled trials, and focus on patients with anxiety, depression, and conditions like neuropsychiatric Lyme disease. This could lead to new and effective treatments for these challenging conditions.

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