Researchers are working on cannabinoids to target both diabetes causes and symptoms. The maintenance of a stable homeostatic environment in our body seems to be the key for novel cannabis treatment against diabetes. A cure is yet to come, but some symptoms may be mitigated with cannabis flowers and extracts.
Diabetes is a set of metabolic diseases derived by the body’s inability in regulating the amount of sugars, particularly glucose, in blood. Glucose levels are regulated by hormones such as insulin, produced in the pancreas. Diabetes can cause long-term complications like cardiovascular disease, stroke, damages to kidneys and eyes.
THE CANNABINOID SYSTEM IS INVOLVED IN THE BLOOD SUGAR AFFAIR
A growing body of research is confirming the anecdotal evidence built among diabetes patients, showing that cannabis can have beneficial effects. THC and CBD anti-inflammatory action may help with the arterial inflammation, which is common in diabetes, while the neuroprotective effect can reduce inflammation of nerves and related pain. Cannabinoids can also act as vasodilators, improving blood circulation and exerting an anti-spasmodic action on muscle cramps and gastrointestinal disorders. The typical diabetic restless syndrome might also be addressed with cannabis to help patients sleep better. Recent lab studies are also showing that the endocannabinoid system could actually be targeted to stabilize the blood sugar level, thus pointing at the core of the disease. Unfortunately that’s lab research. There isn’t any cannabis therapy today conceivable against diabetes.
DIABETIC MICE GET BETTER WITH CANNABIS IN LABORATORIES
Though lacking clinical research on human patients, lab experiments demonstrate a strict correlation between diabetes’ activity and cannabinoids. One of the first studies evidencing the influence of the endocannabinoid system on diabetes was published in 2006 with the title “Cannabidiol lowers incidence of diabetes in non-obese diabetic mice”. This study was indicating that CBD can inhibit and delay destructive insulitis and inflammatory cytokine production, resulting in a decreased incidence of diabetes.
Researchers also wrote about a possible specific immunomodulatory mechanism activated by CBD. That hypothesis is confirmed by other findings about cannabidiol, arresting the onset of autoimmune diabetes in mice, and by one study that discovered some neuroprotective effects of CBD in an experimental model of diabetes. A research also finds that CBD attenuates cardiac dysfunction in diabetic cardiomyopatic mice.
A study titled “Marijuana in the Management of Diabetes” was published in the American Journal of Medicine in 2013. In this report, past and current cannabis use was associated with lower levels of fasting insulin, blood glucose, and insulin resistance. According to this study, cannabis users are less likely to become obese, and have lower body mass index measurements. Cannabis smokers also had higher levels of “good cholesterol” and smaller waist circumference. An important finding of this research is that cannabis users appeared to have better carbohydrate metabolism than non-users, which is kind of confirming the lab test results we have seen before.
One of the latest important studies dates back in 2015, when scientists led by Raphael Mechoulam, well known for discovering CBD, showed that the anti-inflammatory properties of cannabidiol could be used to treat different illnesses, including type 2 diabetes. Finally, **an October 2016 research showed that an experimental CBD treatment reduced the markers of inflammation in the microcirculation of the pancreas in mice. All these studies conclude that cannabis compounds have a role in controlling blood sugar levels and in mitigating pain or other symptoms of diabetes. We still don’t know how to make a medicine from these findings.
AN OCTOBER 2016 STUDY
MITIGATING THE SYMPTOMS OF DIABETES WITH CBD
Out of the labs and into patients’ houses, there is a whole body of evidence showing that cannabis is effective in treating eye disorders, chronic pain, sleep disorders, and other ailments associated with diabetes. The way people are treated for diabetes also depends on whether or not the person has additional complications, and their general health. Some patients are complementing their therapies with cannabinoids.
Cannabis may initially promote appetite and overeating, yet in the long run it has the opposite effect, and may even protect against obesity. Cannabis extracts with different proportions between THC, CBD, other cannabinoids and terpenes, or just containing the non-psychotropic CBD can benefit cardiac and arterial health. The same hemp or cannabis extracts can be used to make topical creams to relieve neuropathic pain. Conversely, a possible risk of cannabis use with diabetes is hypoglycaemia, as there are some concerns that glucose levels might drop unnoticed by the patient until they are in dangerous territory.
Any form of exercise on a regular basis, together with a healthy, well-balanced diet can reduce the risk of developing diabetes and control blood sugar levels in persons with this disease. Diabetes patients should also moderate or quit smoking and drinking alcohol.