Cannabis and Diabetes. While there’s no evidence that marijuana can prevent or cure diabetes, there is growing interest in understanding whether certain cannabinoids — compounds found in marijuana — might play a role in regulating blood sugar levels. Researchers have studied both animal models and human subjects to determine if cannabinoid receptors in the body may regulate glucose metabolism. In addition, scientists are studying whether cannabis products could help people who already have type 2 diabetes manage their condition better.
Marijuana can cause your blood glucose levels to drop if taken too frequently (more than once every 24 hours). However, a small number of people who use marijuana may experience an increase in blood glucose levels, so the effects aren’t universal. Most people who use medical marijuana report no changes in their blood glucose levels. In addition, it’s not clear whether smoking pot can actually make someone diabetic. People with type 1 diabetes should avoid using any kind of marijuana because it could trigger low blood sugars. For those who already have diabetes, it’s best to talk to a doctor before starting to use marijuana.
What Is Diabetes?
Without carbs, your body won’t get you anywhere, and without carbs, your metabolism won’t start up in the morning. Whenever you eat carbohydrate-rich food, your digestive system breaks them down into sugar molecules, which then enter your bloodstream and travel through your blood vessels to your cells where they’re used for energy.
Insulins secreted by our pancreases move sugar from the blood into our muscles and liver.
Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder characterized by chronic hyperglycemia (high level of blood sugar). In order to control diabetes, people take medications and also change their lifestyle. People who suffer from diabetes must follow the dietary guidelines provided by their doctor. They should avoid sugary foods and drinks, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and exercise regularly. These changes help them manage their blood sugar level and reduce the risk of developing complications.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are more than 422 million people living with diabetes worldwide, and these numbers are expected to increase to 642 million by 2040. Diabetes affects both children and adults, but the most common type among adults is Type 2 diabetes. However, according to the WHO, there are two types of diabetes. Let’s take a look at them.
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes has a strong hereditary component; therefore, it often appears before adulthood. As an autoimmune disorder, it’s triggered by components of the immune systems targeting the insulin producing pancreatic beta cell.
After this attack upon his own health, the pancreas was unable to function normally. Although scientists still don’t fully understand why someone would commit this kind of physiological attack against themselves, people who suffer from this condition must take insulin injections to regulate their levels of sugar.
Type 2 Diabetes
Whereas only 8 percent of diabetics are affected by the most common form of the disease, known as “T1DM” or “juvenile onset,” T2DM (or adult onset) is far more prevalent—affecting 90 percent of diabetic individuals worldwide.
In most cases, this type of diabetes begins with a state called insulin resistance. Here, muscle, liver, and fat tissue do not react well to insulin, causing blood sugar levels to rise too high. To compensate, the pancreas ramps up insulin production, trying to keep blood sugar levels within a safe range. However, after a period of heightened insulin demand, the pancreas becomes exhausted, and it can’t produce enough insulin to meet the body’s needs. Without treatment, this leads to dangerously elevated blood sugar levels. Medications, physical exercise, healthy eating habits, and insulin injections may help control blood sugar levels.
First let’s take a look at the acute effects of type 1 and 2 diabetics.
- Increased thirst
- Extreme hunger
- Frequent urination
- Unexplained weight loss
- Blurred vision
Diabetes can cause long-term health issues and even death.
- Heart disease
- Nerve damage
- Kidney damage
- Eye damage
- Limp injury leading to amputation
- Skin issues
- Hearing problems
- Alzheimer’s disease
Cannabis and Diabetes
For several decades now, scientists have been studying the effects of cannabinoids on human biology. They’ve found that these compounds interact with receptors within our bodies. When we ingest them, they activate our cannabinoid receptors, allowing us to experience physiological changes similar to those experienced by people who use marijuana.
We’ll start by looking at research into cannabis and diabetes before moving onto the endocannabinoid system. Understanding the endocannabinoid systems will give us an insight into why people use marijuana for medical purposes.
The Role of Endocannabinoids in Diabetes
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Although the ECS does not always function perfectly, it nevertheless plays an important role in regulating various systems and processes. When the ECS malfunctions, however, it can lead to disorders such as migraines, IBS, and fibromyalgia, among others. A new theory called “clinical endocannabinoid deficiency” suggests that a dysfunction within the endocannabinoid signaling pathway may play a major role in these conditions.
It seems that the ECS also has an important part to play in regulating certain physiological functions affecting the pathology of diabetes. However, its involvement goes beyond these aspects.
Given its role in regulating appetite and metabolism, the endocannabinoid signaling pathway could one day be targeted for the development of new drugs against obesity and metabolic disorders.
Seeing as that’s what we’re going to be talking about today, here’s what the research has to say about cannabis, cannabinoids, diabetes, and health.
Associations between cannabis use and diabetes may be due to certain health conditions associated
As we continue our efforts to understand whether marijuana use may be helpful in treating or preventing diabetes, we’ve learned a lot from studies conducted on populations who smoke pot.
A 2012 research paper published in The American Journal Of Medicine examines how regular marijuana usage may affect certain health variables related to diabetes control.
Previous studies have shown that cannabis use may be linked to lower rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
While clinical studies haven’t confirmed these claims, animal studies suggest that certain cannabinoid compounds may be able to treat type 2 diabetics and even prevent the condition from occurring in the first instance. Cannabis contains over 100 different cannabinoids, and two among these have been studied most closely for their effects on type 2 diabetics.
Cannabinoids bind to specific types of cell receptor sites in our bodies called CB1 and CB2. These receptor sites are found throughout the brain and central nervous system. They’re also located in organs and glands outside of the nervous system. When cannabinoids bind to these receptor sites, they produce their pharmacological effects.
CBD and Diabetes
CBD has been shown to be beneficial in treating certain types of diabetes. Unlike THC and THCv, CBD doesn’t produce a psychoactive effect at any dose, making it more suited for a wider range of people.
Inflammation plays a major role in diabetes, and researchers are investigating ways to target inflammation in hopes of finding new treatments for people living with type 2 diabetes.
Risks of Cannabis Use in People With Diabetes
Do Diabeties patients smoke marijuana? Early epidemiological studies paint a positive image, but there are some potential risks involved. First, any diabetic patient who smokes pot is likely to gain weight because they’re eating more food due to their increased appetite. Second, cannabis can also trigger cravings for sugary snacks, so if you’re already consuming an unhealthy diet, smoking pot may make things worse. Finally, not all studies have shown promising results. In a recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers found that diabetes patients who used medical marijuana had higher blood pressure levels and were more prone to heart attacks.
Case studies show that the use of CBD alone doesn’t seem to be harmful; however, when used alongside metformin, there may be an increased risk of gastrointestinal side effects.
Edibles for Diabetics
Diabetes can be managed effectively through diet and lifestyle choices. Sugar-free snacks provide an alternative to sugary items without compromising on taste. Most of these products contain no added sugars and are suitable for diabetics who follow a healthy eating plan. Some also feature ingredients that may help manage symptoms associated with diabetes, such as fiber, probiotics, and magnesium.
What will diabetes and cannabis have in the future
There is existing preclinical evidence showing potential benefits for CBD use in diabetes treatment. However, there are no published studies yet looking at whether CBD has any effect on these biological markers associated with diabetes in humans.
Furthermore, scientists have barely begun to scratch the surface when it comes testing cannabinoids’ effects on conditions like diabetes. Therefore, anyone living with diabetes who wishes to continue using marijuana, or include it into their lives, should discuss their options with their doctor for advice on the safest ways to go about doing so.