Disease Overview

Diabetes is the term used to refer to a collective group of metabolic disorders that plague the human body. These disorders are usually characterized by high levels of glucose in the blood for prolonged periods. Diabetes affects close to half a billion people worldwide. The condition also results in up to five million deaths per year. With such alarming statistics, it is rather unfortunate to note that its prevalence is rising. No medicine has been discovered that brings about the complete curing of people living with diabetes. Typically, people who have diabetes treat the symptoms of this condition with insulin injections and dietary changes that ensure their glucose levels are constantly low. Additionally, they may be required to lose weight to combat the disease. However, the treatment of diabetes by using cannabis has become an increasingly popular method, and with good reason. Medical marijuana’s array of health benefits can treat diabetes as well as help prevent it in the first place.

How Marijuana Can Treat Diabetes

The science behind marijuana’s working to treat diabetes is in cannabinoids and how they perform the same function as endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids are found naturally occurring in the body. They can be found in the brain, the glands, tissues, and other cells of the body. Although endocannabinoids in different systems execute different tasks, they have a collective main function – homeostasis. Once cannabinoids are introduced to the body from marijuana, they further promote the body’s attempts to create a balance straight from a sub-cellular level. Since diabetes is a metabolic disorder, cannabinoids’ encouragement of balance in the system is likely to fight off this disease’s effects. We explain how below.

Cannabis leaf stencil image

Diabetes is usually related to an individual’s high levels of fasting insulin as well as high rates of insulin resistance. A publication in the American Journal of Medicine in 2013 demonstrated that cannabis use has an effect in lowering the levels of fasting insulin among diabetics. The publication came after a team of researchers followed 4657 people living with diabetes for five years and measured the amount of this hormone in their blood. 579 of the participants in the study were current users of marijuana while 1975 were past users. After the study, scientists discovered that the current marijuana users had their fasting insulin levels lower by 16 percent as compared to the individuals who had never used marijuana in their lives. Additionally, current users of marijuana showed lower levels of insulin resistance by 17 percent. This showed the beneficial effects that using marijuana can have for people living with diabetes.

 

In type 1 diabetes, beta cells are destroyed which result in the production of insufficient insulin in the bloodstream. In a 2012 study, researchers found that lab rats exposed to cannabis extract had an increase in their pancreas’ weight over time. This weight gain in the pancreas demonstrates that the cannabis induced additional protection to the beta cells of the pancreas. The protection was through cannabinoids. As a result, the beta cells were not destroyed. This could help in the control of diabetes as well as its treatment. .

Always remember to engage a medical professional when taking on medical marijuana as part of your treatment plan, and then pay us a visit!