Diabetes is the term used to refer to a set of metabolic disorders characterized by persistently and chronically high concentrations of glucose in the blood. There is substantial evidence that cannabis can prevent and treat disease.
Diabetes is related to high fasting insulin levels and insulin resistance, as well as low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL-C), or good cholesterol. In 2013, the results of a five-year study on the effects of cannabis on fasting insulin and insulin resistance were published in the American Journal of Medicine.
The researchers found that those who continued to use cannabis had 16% lower fasting insulin levels than participants who had never used cannabis, in addition to having 17% lower levels of insulin resistance and higher levels of HDL-C. Participants who had used cannabis at some point in their life, but who no longer used, had similar percentages, but less pronounced, indicating that the protective effect of cannabis wears off over time.
Patients who continued to use cannabis were found to have reduced fasting insulin levels and insulin resistance, indicating that cannabis can help prevent the onset of diabetes, as well as control symptoms in diagnosed cases.
Decreases insulin resistance
Insulin resistance is a disease that causes cells to reject the normal mechanism of insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas and essential for the regulation of glucose metabolism. When cells become resistant to insulin, they are unable to absorb the glucose necessary for energy, and unused glucose accumulates in the bloodstream, leading to hyperglycemia.
The authors of the 2013 study found that those who continued to use cannabis had a mean insulin resistance of 1.8 compared to 2.2 for those who had used in the past and 2.5 for those who had never used cannabis. Those who continued using had mean blood glucose levels of 99.7 mg / dl compared to 100.6 mg / dl for those who had used in the past and 103.5 mg / dl for those who had never used.
Helps prevent obesity
Obesity, a high body mass index (BMI), and a large waist circumference are all linked to the risk of diabetes. Various studies have been conducted on the relationship between cannabis use and BMI, with conflicting results. In a 2005 study of young adults, cannabis use was found to be unrelated to changes in BMI, while two major national studies found lower BMI and decreased levels of obesity in users of cannabis despite consuming a higher than average number of calories daily. The 2013 study found that current cannabis use was associated with a smaller waist circumference than past or never used cannabis users.
A 2012 study showed that obese rats lost a considerable amount of weight and experienced pancreas weight gain after exposure to organic cannabis extracts. The increased weight of the pancreas indicates that the beta cells of the pancreas (which are responsible for the production of insulin) are protected by the presence of cannabinoids.
May treat diabetes-induced neuropathy
People with diabetes often experience nervous disorders as a result of their disease, this disorder is accompanied by pain, tingling and numbness. As with many forms of nerve pain, it can be difficult to treat diabetic neuropathy with conventional pain relievers. However, there is evidence that cannabis may play a role here as well.
The authors found that repeated administration of CBD extractions "significantly relieved" mechanical allodynia (painful response to non-painful stimuli) and restored normal pain perception without inducing hyperglycemia. The treatment was also found to protect the liver against oxidative stress (believed to be an important factor contributing to the development of neuropathy) and to increase nerve growth factor levels to normal levels.
Can treat diabetic retinopathy
The cells of the retina are progressively damaged, diabetic retinopathy is associated with the breakdown, induced by glucose, of the blood-retinal barrier, a network of tightly knit cells that prevent unwanted substances from the blood from entering the tissue of the retina. This breakdown causes neural tissue to be exposed to neurotoxins, as well as increasing the likelihood of bleeding within the retina.
Pro-inflammatory immune response processes and oxidative stress are believed to play a key role in the breakdown of retinal cells, and there is evidence to show that cannabidiol, with its known ability to combat both oxidative stress and inflammation, may be helpful in treating the disease.
In a 2006 study published in the American Journal of Pathology, diabetic rats were given CBD and tested to determine the rate of retinal cell death. CBD treatment was shown to significantly reduce oxidative stress and neurotoxicity, including levels of tumor necrosis factor-a, a substance known to be involved in the inflammatory response, and also protective against retinal cell death and the breakdown of the blood-retinal barrier.