Diabetes is a disease that is capable of turning a life completely upside down. Diabetes is the result of having too much glucose (blood sugar) in the system. There are several types of diabetes:
- Type 1 – Immune system destroys beta cells in the pancreas that produces insulin. Not thought to be caused by lifestyles.
- Type 2 – Starting out as insulin resistance in the body. This means there is a higher demand for insulin, but the pancreas cannot keep up with it. This is caused by genetics as well as lifestyles.
- Gestational – Occurs only in pregnancy as hormones block insulin.
- Prediabetes – Blood sugar levels are high, but not quite high enough yet to give diabetes. This can be reversed with effort as well as medication.
Over eighty-six million Americans have prediabetes, and they may not even know it because prediabetes doesn’t show many symptoms. The Diabetes Research Institute Foundation (DRIF) claims that, as of 2015, over thirty million Americans have diabetes, with over seven million having it but without the diagnosis. Fast forward to 2018, and this number recorded is still consistent. That over one hundred million Americans have any of the types of diabetes. This means that one-third of Americans have the first three forms of diabetes, and this is including prediabetes.
With diabetes having an increasing grip on Americans, the research behind it grows as well. The following is a review of studies we have on what CBD can do for people worrying about diabetes, for those who suffer from diabetes, and how it may be able to prevent it. Regardless, CBD is primarily known as an anxiolytic, but studies also suggest it is a diuretic and even a viable diabetic medication.
Depending on the type of diabetes one has, life is likely changed drastically. This disease means that several factors of life need to change, and this can be a stressful journey. Adding exercise to a routine, diet changes, and overall life change is a cause of anxiety, depression, insomnia, physical damage, etc. However, this life change could mean great things for the future, and shouldn’t be feared. CBD is also an anxiolytic, antiemetic, and more. If stress, worry, and depression is a factor in this, CBD has promising research behind helping these, as we’ve discussed in earlier articles.
Disclaimer: This is not suggesting any medical advice at all, nor can we suggest CBD cures any of the diseases discussed. Rather, this is a scientific review of studies compiled from National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) and the American Journal of Medicine. Ask a physician for advice on whether CBD is a possible option for you. While CBD is capable of increasing the effectiveness of some drugs, it can interact with others as well.
CBD and Diabetes
CBD, known as cannabidiol, is one of many natural compounds found in marijuana and hemp. CBD is non-psychoactive compared to its close cousin THC. This means that CBD will not give a “high” effect on anyone. This is an appealing property of CBD, but the important part of CBD is the health benefits. The immune system works with the endocannabinoid system that is biologically prepared to metabolize and use CBD with the CB1 and CB2 receptors. Research is growing on the purpose of the endocannabinoid system, especially with diabetes.
Prevention is the most important step in stopping diabetes. Since Type 1 diabetes is caused by the immune system attacking itself, insulin is used to maintain glucose levels. However, The Diabetes Council found that not only does CBD help maintain glucose levels, but also reduce the occurrence of the onset. Regarding type 2 diabetics, dieting, obesity and lack of exercise is the main problem. Studies express how the endocannabinoid system is capable of maintaining homeostasis, as well as regulating glucose levels. An imbalance makes it more difficult to lose weight, and both THC and CBD have been shown to improve. A study in 2006 found a statistically significant decrease in the incidence of diabetes in rats without diabetes. An 86% incidence rate of diabetes was dropped to an impressive 30% incidence rate. Another study in 2008 with non-diabetic rats found very similar results. Their findings concluded that the group treated with CBD had more intact islets, which are cells in the pancreas that raise glucose levels.
The resistance of insulin is a major problem with diabetics, as the immune system simply deteriorates the pancreas to a point of no return. A study in 2013 compared two different groups with over four thousand participants. One group (579) were current marijuana users while the second group (1975) were past users. In multivariable-adjusted models, current marijuana use was associated with 16% lower fasting insulin levels (95% confidence interval [CI], −26, −6) and 17% lower HOMA-IR (95% CI, −27, −6). They found significant associations between marijuana use and smaller waist circumferences. Among current users, there was no significant dose-response. Marijuana and the corresponding cannabinoids were associated with lower levels of fasting insulin and smaller waist circumference.
Neuropathy is a debilitating symptom of diabetes. It is a result of the loss of blood flow and neurological deterioration of cells in certain areas. This includes fingers, toes, vision, etc. Profound research is being done on the effects of CBD on neuroprotection. A study in 2010 found that CBD is capable of aiding in cardiac dysfunction, fibrosis, and even inflammatory cell death. It found that CBD was capable in single-handedly increasing oxidative regeneration. Furthermore, CBD also attenuated the high glucose-induced, increased reactive oxygen species generation, nuclear factor-κB activation, and cell death in primary human cardiomyocytes. Another study in 2006 found that diabetic-induced rats with retinal cell death lacked strength in the blood-retinal barrier and had increased blood flow in areas that needed it which protected them from cell death. It found that CBD had significantly decreased oxidative stress, decreased tumor necrosis, vascular growth, and intercellular adhesion. In conclusion, studies are showing how CBD helps neurologically by reducing cell death and opening blood flow in areas that are needed.
Obesity and a large waist circumference are obvious risk factors for diabetes, and this may be a result of genetics and environmental factors. Cannabinoids have helped regulate eating patterns as well as metabolism. A study in 2011 found that CBD does not only influence energy intake, and actually directly influences an overall “energy balance.” The study also concluded that CB1 receptors are capable in enhancing energy storage by improving lipid and glucose metabolism. Both of the studies emphasized how weight management is most possible under controlled dosages, as an overflow of cannabinoids may alter homeostasis levels.
Skin irritation is another debilitating condition that arises from diabetes, similar to neuropathy. This irritation can cause rashes, and for some may cause episodes of eczema. As covered before, CBD is a natural anti-inflammatory (which is also an aiding factor for neuropathy) that helps regulate the bodies reaction to such rashes. Essentially, CBD is counteracting the irritative response the body has to rashes, which is yet another aspect of CBD that helps those with diabetes.
Diabetic retinopathy (blindness) is a worrying symptom from diabetes that many suffer from. In fact, diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in America. Reasons why diabetics have evolved stages of blindness is again due to neuropathy. Again, the studies from neuropathy concluded that CBD is capable of not only repairing the damage done to nerves and cells but actually reversing the damage. This review of research shows that CBD is a promising antioxidant which blocks oxidative stress. Oxidative stress being a cause of cell death.
CBD has promising research that shows the benefits it has on diabetes. Specifically looking at neuropathy, an extremely stressful and worrying factor for diabetics. It can cause the loss of appendages, vision, and feeling of parts of the body. If neuropathy can be studied even further with CBD, results will likely expose the anti-inflammatory benefits it has. Furthermore, CBD has research behind regulating and maintaining homeostasis by helping the body metabolize. This, as a result, can help with obesity, glucose levels, and much more. For your own personal analysis of these studies, you can find a general overview from NCBI and AJM.
Reminder: FDA requires us to acknowledge CBD as a food product, and in no way cures or necessarily even treats any of the ailments we list. CBD has growing research and should be looked at extensively. Consider other medications you use before using CBD by asking your physician.