Diabetes mellitus, or simply diabetes, is a chronic, lifelong condition that affects a person’s ability to healthily manage and produce insulin; in other words, it severely hinders the body’s ability to use the energy found in food. If left unmanaged, the ailment can cause blindness, heart disease, kidney failure, nerve damage, stroke, and ultimately death.
There are 2 primary types of diabetes: the more serious type 1 diabetes (juvenile diabetes which is also an autoimmune disease) where the body is incapable of producing insulin on it’s own, and the less severe type 2 diabetes (adult-onset diabetes) where the body produces inadequate amounts of insulin. The former requires consistent supplemental insulin, often in the form of syringes and insulin pens, while the latter can be better controlled with good diet and nutrition, but may still require medication. Although diabetes can be healthily managed, there is currently no known cure.
Using Cannabis to Treat Diabetes
Cannabis is a complex medicinal plant that may actually be used to treat a variety of debilitating symptoms caused by a surprisingly large number of ailments. It’s usefulness as a non-lethal medicine (you cannot die from an overdose of cannabis) cannot be overstated and it’s versatility in terms of how it can be consumed and as to how it can be useful for so many illnesses is something to be excited about. However, it is important to remember that consulting with your primary care physician should be your first priority when considering incorporating cannabis into one’s medical regiment and that cannabis is to be used as an adjunct therapy and not a replacement. It is also your responsibility to communicate with your doctor as to how your use of cannabis has affected your health and of your progress with utilizing medical cannabis.
Those suffering from Diabetes will be pleased to hear that recent scientific medical studies show that cannabis can be useful in the treatment of the disease. One exciting study published in the American Journal of Medicine (Penner, E, et al., May 16, 2013), concludes, “We found that marijuana use was associated with lower levels of fasting insulin and HOMA-IR, and smaller waist circumference.”
Even more medical studies have shown that cannabis may be quite useful for treating individuals with Diabetes for the following reasons: slowing disease progression; protecting from eye disease caused by diabetes; significantly reducing neuropathic (nerve) pain; reducing the symptoms of heart-muscle disease (cardiomyopathy); controlling blood pressure caused by silent myocardial ischemia; aiding in healthy weight loss; controlling and reducing glucose and insulin levels.
Beneficial Cannabinoids and Terpenoids Useful for Treating Diabetes
Very recent studies have shown that Cannabidiol (CBD) was useful for lowering incidents of diabetes in animal models; that CBD has protective properties against both the vision impairing symptoms of diabetes and against cardiomyopathy (complications of the heart) is also important to note. Additionally, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has been shown to reduce artificially elevated glucose levels in mouse models – human trials are definitely in need.
Other studies also show that Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) may be useful for controlling unhealthy weight in the obese individual, which may help in controlling the symptoms of diabetes. Two major characteristics of cannabis may also benefit those suffering from diabetes: 1) cannabis has vasodilator properties and that it helps to improve blood flow, and 2) cannabis may help to significantly reduce blood pressure over time.
Last but not least, the following chart denotes which cannabinoids and terpenoids work synergistically with each other for possible therapeutic benefit.