A Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction is an increase in the symptoms of a spirochetal disease (such as syphilis, Lyme disease or relapsing fever) occurring in some people when treatment with spirocheticidal drugs are started.
Spirochetes are long, slender, tightly coiled bacteria found in liquid environments such as mud, water and blood. One, found in the stomach of cows, aids in the breakdown of cellulose and other hard to digest plant matter. The best-known spirochetes are those that cause disease.
The Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction (often abbreviated as "herxing") happens due to a die off of bacteria or other harmful microorganisms which causes a release of endotoxins. These endotoxins are released into the blood stream so they can be expelled from the body. When a rapid die off occurs the immune system responds resulting in inflammation throughout the body which can cause worsening of current symptoms and development of new unpleasant symptoms.This is one instance in which the saying “it may get worse before it gets better” definitely applies.
Few, if any, studies have been done regarding CBD and herxing, but enough testimonials can be cited to say it is a possibility. Don’t worry, though, there are steps you can take to minimize these effects.
When starting a CBD regimen you may find starting with a low dose for a few days, and slowly increasing that dose may minimize Herxheimer effects. Drinking plenty of water, maintaining a diet high in fruits and vegetables, and getting outside each day may also help lessen symptoms due to herxing.
Herxing can be unpleasant, but symptoms usually last for a short time (a few days to a few weeks) and knowing that it is due to a die-off of unwanted bacteria can help make it more tolerable. When those pesky symptoms are gone, then you can truly experience the benefits from treatment.