Over 100 million Americans suffer from diabetes or have prediabetes, according to recent CDC research data. Diabetes is a condition that impairs the body’s ability to process blood glucose. Although there is no magic pill to cure the illness, patients can manage their condition with physical activity, better nutrition, and medications for controlling blood sugar levels such as insulin.
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Thanks to its medicinal properties, marijuana is now being seen as an alternative treatment option for diabetes.
It has already proven effective in treating conditions:
With little official guidance on the impact of marijuana on people living with diabetes, people can’t figure out whether cannabis should be used as a treatment option for their condition. Below, we will take you through some research and help you understand what benefits marijuana offers to people living with diabetes.
Types of Diabetes
When you have diabetes, your body doesn’t manufacture enough insulin or it can’t properly process the insulin it produces. If left untreated, the condition can cause blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, and even stroke. Some of its symptoms include increased hunger and thirst, weight loss, frequent urination, fatigue, blurry vision, and sores. Here are a few types of diabetes:
- Type 1 diabetes – Here, the body’s defense system attacks and damages cells in the pancreas, the organ where insulin is manufactured. Approximately 1 out of ten diabetes patients suffer from this type.
- Type 2 diabetes – happens when the body doesn’t respond to insulin, and sugar accumulates in your blood.
- Prediabetes – It’s an early sign that you might get diabetes if no intervention happens. This occurs when your blood sugar is higher than it should be, but not high enough to be type 2.
- Gestational diabetes – occurs during pregnancy when the placenta produces insulin blocking hormones.
Marijuana for Diabetes
For more than 4000 years, humans have used marijuana as a form of medicine or herbal therapy. Cannabis has hundreds of compounds known as cannabinoids. Two of the best-known cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), and they contain medicinal properties. However, THC contains psychoactive effects, which cause a high feeling while CBD doesn’t. There has been a lot of research about the role of marijuana on people with diabetes, and there have been promising results.
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Research on Diabetes and Cannabis
The body’s ability to use insulin effectively is important for our health. However, people with type 2 diabetes are insensitive to the insulin the body produces. A 2016 study discovered that CBD and THCV, another cannabinoid, reduced blood glucose levels, and increased insulin production in people living with type 2 diabetes. This indicates that marijuana increases insulin sensitivity in people with type 2 diabetes.
Lower Risk of obesity
Some of the major risk factors of type 2 diabetes are being obese or overweight. Studies pointed to the fact that marijuana can help reduce the risk of gaining unhealthy weight, thus minimizing the chances of getting the disease. For instance, a 2013 study of over 4,000 people, found that current marijuana users had a smaller waist size on average. The result of this research supported previous findings that made the same conclusion.
Treatment for Inflammation
Cannabis has long been known to have anti-inflammatory powers. Since chronic inflammation can cause type 1 or 2 diabetes, researchers are investigating whether marijuana can treat the inflammation that leads to diabetes. A study conducted by the Medical College of Georgia in 2017 found that CBD can decrease inflammation in animal models of diabetes.
Protection against Retinopathy
One complication that comes with diabetes is retinopathy. When blood sugar levels increase, it may cause glucose to settle in unwanted places, and one area it commonly goes to is the retina. This damages the blood vessels in the retina tissue, causing them to leak fluid and affect vision. As diabetes progresses, the condition worsens, and it may eventually lead to blindness if the condition isn’t addressed. Research findings have shown that some elements in cannabis work as a neuroprotectant, reducing toxicity in the retina, thus protecting diabetics’ eyes.
Treatment for Peripheral Neuropathy
Neuropathy is a nerve disorder that affects single nerves or a set of nerves. It can lead to tingling, numbness, and muscle weakness in various parts of the body. It can often be very painful, and in some cases, can cause death. People with diabetes have a high risk of getting this condition. In a 2015 study, researchers concluded that marijuana could relieve neuropathic pain for several hours.
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Consult a Certified Marijuana Doctor
Thanks to research, there is ample proof that marijuana has medicinal properties that can be used to improve the conditions of people with diabetes. If you are considering exploring marijuana as an alternative medicine for your condition, it’s best you first speak to a qualified doctor.
At MDBerry, our professional doctors will help you understand how marijuana can improve your condition, and help you secure a marijuana card that will allow you to access the medication you deserve. To book an appointment with one of our specialists, contact us today!