Facts You Never Knew About Cannabis and Diabetes
Diabetes afflicts millions around the globe. There are currently 8.5 million with this condition and, rather than decreasing, that number continues to rise. In fact, according to the WHO (World Health Organization), the number of those with Diabetes has risen steadily from 4.7 in 1980. There are an estimated 9.4% of Americans living in the US today who have some form of diabetes.
New Diabetes Aids
Most Diabetes patients must be monitored by daily finger pricks to check their blood glucose levels. They’re treated with insulin injections (another prick) when necessary. Is it, therefore, any wonder that patients and researchers are looking new diabetes aids and different methods to deal with this disease?
Medical Cannabis and Diabetes Care
There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that medical cannabis could have a role in the treatment of Diabetes. In fact, new evidence for the benefits of using cannabis to treat diabetes continues to emerge. Here are 9 facts, some of which you may not have known, about cannabis and Diabetes.
- Better Fasting Levels – Those who use cannabis tend to have better fasting levels of insulin. The number of those who struggle with Diabetes is growing fast. In a 2013 study that was published in the American Journal of Medicine, it was reported that those diabetics that used cannabis in their treatment had lower fasting insulin levels than those who didn’t use the treatment. —16% lower. That’s a big difference.This was a study from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2005 to 2010 looking at the data gathered from 4657 male and female subjects. Of those examined, 1975 were consumers of marijuana in the past and 579 used it currently to help their condition. Those who consumed cannabis currently were the ones to score better on their fasting insulin level tests.It’s high levels of fasting insulin in the blood that signifies type 2 Diabetes. And, as we know, there are other lifestyle and environmental conditions that factor into the equation.
- Lower Insulin Resistance – Those who use cannabis have lower insulin resistance. Possibly, the reason for this is that cannabis helps to balance many of the body’s processes. Besides relieving stress, it can also aid digestion. And, since resistance to insulin is one of the main causes for the progression of this disease, lower resistance is a big deal. Type 2 Diabetes advances when fat cells increase their resistance. (Insulin is a hormone that is injected into diabetics to help the body transport glucose (blood sugar) into the fat cells where it’s stored.The same study that took place in 2013 revealed that those diabetics who used medical marijuana had 17% lower HOMA-IR. (This is an insulin resistance test.) In effect, those in the cannabis-consuming group actually had reduced diabetes markers.
- Smaller Waistlines – Medical cannabis users have smaller waistlines on average than those who don’t. It may come as somewhat of a surprise that those who use medical marijuana tend to be slimmer. That’s because we think of marijuana smokers as having the “munchies”. But, what they munch on gets assimilated more efficiently after using cannabis. As a result, they tend to have smaller waist sizes than non-consumers. This is what the American Journal of Medicine found to be true in a study. And, since overall waist circumference is also used as a marker of Diabetes, this is an important advantage for the diabetic.There is a compatible relationship between marijuana and food. And this is the third correlation between the consumption of cannabis and the reduced risk of Diabetes.
- Autoimmune Diabetes – Medical cannabis could help with autoimmune Diabetes. Another interesting insight on the treatment of Diabetes with medical marijuana is that cannabis compounds reduce the inflammation and therefore the destruction of insulin-forming cells.Type 1 Diabetes is also referred to as an autoimmune condition because the immune system will begin to attack the pancreas. In a review paper that was published by Future Medical Chemistry, proof was cited that isolated cannabis compounds were able to reduce the inflammation and destruction of insulin-producing cells in the pancreas of rodent models. Since this is the case, therefore cannabis compounds are useful in autoimmune diabetes.
- Less Cases of Type 2 Diabetes– Type 2 Diabetes is less prevalent in consumers of medical cannabis. In 2012, some scientists crunched the data on the Diabetes risks for adults who used marijuana. They published the results of this data in the British Medical Journal. It was discovered that those who consumed cannabis came up with lower risks of Diabetes. In addition, the study showed that Type 2 Diabetes was also less prevalent in the cannabis consumers.
- Marijuana Studies – In fact, cannabis-based drugs were already undergoing studies in patients of Diabetes. GW Pharmaceuticals, a British biopharmaceutical company has tested a pharmaceutical that contains cannabis compounds. The test involved 62 Type 2 Diabetes patients. However, this trial did not have the desired outcome ultimately. Nevertheless, the test group did see improvements in their fasting insulin levels, blood glucose levels and in the insulin response.
- THCV – THCV may help the patients of Diabetes. Although marijuana may tend to give users the “munchies’, there is a compound in it that actually curbs the appetite. This is a cannabinoid called THCV (tetrahydrocannabivarin). THCV was one of the compounds that was included in the pharmaceutical drug tested by GW Pharmaceuticals. It’s a lesser-known compound that flourishes in many of the tropical and African varieties of marijuana.In rodent research that was published in 2013, scientists discovered that treatment with the cannabinoid, THCV had a dose-dependent response on blood glucose. In other words, the more THCV taken in, the less glucose resulted. It also succeeded in improving the rodents’ insulin sensitivity.
- Cannabidiol and Diabetics – Cannabidiol (CBD) may also benefit diabetic patients. The second compound of marijuana to be tested in GW Pharmaceuticals’ drug was CBD. CBD is a much better-known compound of cannabis and therefore easier to find. CBD promoted weight loss and suppressed appetite in rodents. Since obesity is a major risk factor for Type 2 Diabetes, this is profound.
- A Bizarre Finding – Cannabis changes gut microbiome. In 2015, it was discovered that cannabis compounds may be able to change the populations of microbes in the gut. Remarkably, this discovery was published in PLOS ONE. THC used in obese mice transformed their gut microbial communities to become like lean mice.
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