Can Marijuana Improve Blood Sugars in Type 2 Diabetes?

There are a several of studies that show cannabis helps improve blood sugar control and helps with weight loss. Yes, it is well known that cannabis does cause an increase in appetite – ‘the munchies’ but cannabis seems to positively affect the metabolism so weight gain does not appear to be an issue. Cannabis appears to improve carbohydrate metabolism in users.
Oct 23, 2015

Cannabis and Diabetes

Researchers still aren’t totally clear on what is causing the change in metabolism amongst cannabis users but note from previous work that drugs that block cannabinoid receptors have positive impact on carbohydrate metabolism.

The editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Medicine, Joseph S. Alpert, M.D., made his opinion clear in the editorial alongside the study: “I would like to call on the NIH and the DEA to collaborate in developing policies to implement solid scientific investigations that would lead to information assisting physicians in the proper use and prescription of THC in its synthetic or herbal form.”

This study, ‘The Impact of Marijuana Use on Glucose, Insulin, and Insulin Resistance among US Adults,” was published in the American Journal of Medicine in July 2013.

“Of the participants in our study sample, 579 were current marijuana users and 1975 were past users. In multivariable adjusted models, current marijuana use was associated with 16% lower fasting insulin levels and 17% lower HOMA-IR (insulin resistance). We found significant associations between marijuana use and smaller waist circumferences.”

Cannabis and Neuropathy

There are conflicting studies in the use of cannabis in treating neuropathic pain. There is evidence that cannabis increases nerve growth factor and has antioxidant properties that may help with pain relief.

In a small randomised study of 30 subjects they found a reduction in pain scores but they were small in comparison to placebo.

An important discovery from this study however was the impact of state of mind has on pain levels. The researchers found that depression had a marked negative impact on pain scores.

Cannabis and Depression

Type 2 diabetics do have a higher risk of developing depression. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence that cannabis improves mood and reduces stress.

However research backs that conclusion. This study was focusing on endocannabinoids – they are chemicals we naturally produce and are similar to the active components of cannabis. They found that chronic stress reduces their production and links to depression.

Senior researcher Samir Haj-Dahmane said: “Chronic stress is one of the major causes of depression. Using compounds derived from cannabis — marijuana — to restore normal endocannabinoid function could potentially help stabilise moods and ease depression.”

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