According to the Diabetes Research Institute, “In the last decade, the cases of people living with diabetes jumped almost 50 percent – to more than 29 million Americans.” Take this number worldwide, and it skyrockets to nearly 380 million people. Diabetes is no joke either. In fact, the Diabetes Research Institute found that every 3 minutes diabetes takes the life of 1 American. This means diabetes is now more deadly than AIDS and breast cancer combined. That’s crazy! As marijuana research becomes increasingly possible, links have also been found between marijuana and diabetes.
With the drastic increase in a number of people who have diabetes, patients are beginning to seek unique treatment options. Many patients with diabetes are prescribed insulin along with a few other traditional diabetes medications. They are then told to eat healthier and exercise more. The truth is that there are not a ton of treatment options for diabetes. This is why people are turning to the alternative treatments; the most promising and unknown treatment is marijuana.
What is Diabetes?
The technical definition of diabetes is a group of diseases that influence how the body uses glucose. Glucose is found in nearly all of our foods. Its direct purpose, when consumed, is to be used for fuel or energy for the body. When your body takes in glucose. your pancreas releases insulin. This gives your body the ability to break down glucose and use it for energy. Without insulin, glucose builds up in your body. It is this inability to process glucose into energy that causes diabetes.
There are a few different types of diabetes:
Type 1 – A form of diabetes in which your body’s own immune system mistakingly attacks your pancreas. In doing so, the cells that your pancreas uses to sense glucose in your body are no longer produced. This form of diabetes is typically found in children and teenagers. The main form of treatment is taking insulin shots.
Type 2 – The most common form of diabetes is otherwise known as adult onset. This form is typically developed after the age of 35 but can happen sooner. Type 2 diabetes occurs when your body is able to produce some insulin, but it either does not produce enough or the role of insulin is not working. The insulin is supposed to allow your body to take in glucose and use it for energy. In type 2 diabetes, the insulin tries to accept the glucose, but the body has become insulin resistant. The main form of treatment is medication, eating healthy, and exercising.
Symptoms of Diabetes:
- Nerve Damage
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Kidney Damage
- Eye Damage
- Foot Damage
- Hearing Impairment
It is important to know the symptoms of diabetes in order to understand the benefits that marijuana and diabetes can have. These symptoms are scattered throughout the body and affect the patient in many different ways. The human body has cannabinoid receptors in nearly every part of their body. This is the main reason cannabis is beginning to be studied.
Cannabis in the Medical Field
Even before the legalization of marijuana, there were many scientists who were curious about the potential of medical marijuana and diabetes. Now that marijuana has been legalized in so many states in some way, we are beginning to see how remarkable medical cannabis really is. Anywhere from treating cancer to helping with chronic pain; cannabis has a wide range of medicinal purposes. The main cause of why the cannabis plant has such a strong medical ability is due to its make up of cannabinoids.
The cannabis plant has a unique genetic makeup. When you break down the marijuana plant, there are a ton of different cannabinoids. Each cannabinoid has been found to have a different medical purpose. The most well-known cannabinoid is THC. THC is what provides the smoker with the euphoric high. It’s thought that THC also has strong pain and anxiety relieving qualities. While THC is very important, there are two other cannabinoids that have strong medical qualities for treating diabetes.
Effects of Cannabis on Diabetes
CBD (Cannabidiol), is the second most common cannabinoid in the cannabis plant. CBD is non-psychoactive and has been found to have the most known medicinal purposes. CBD has been found to have strong prevention and therapeutic qualities for patients with diabetes. In a study conducted using non-obese mice, CBD was found to significantly reduce inflammation and reduce the incidence of diabetes in non-obese mice. This study showed that CBD has the ability to help relieve symptoms and even help prevent the onset of diabetes.
There was another study done with actual human patients. This study showed that those who used CBD within the last 30 days had a much lower insulin resistance. Those who consumed cannabis over the past year had a drastically lower body mass index, which led to lower fasting insulin and lowers insulin resistance.
While CBD is an amazing possible treatment for diabetes, there is a newly discovered cannabinoid that is very promising as well. THCV (Tetrahydrocannabivarin), was just recently discovered to have strong pain relieving qualities for muscles and nerves. THCV is another non-psychoactive cannabinoid. Like CBD, THCV binds to both the CB1 and CB2 receptors in our bodies. Making these cannabinoids the most effective forms of treatment.
In a study done by the University of Nottingham, they looked at a variety of different cannabinoid combinations. There were 62 subjects, each with type 2 diabetes. They were each given 2 doses a day for 13 weeks. It was concluded that THCV was the most beneficial treatment option. The results showed that THCV, “Significantly decreased fasting plasma glucose levels, and even improved pancreatic cell growth.”
Top CBD and THCV Products
There are many products that are now being made available to all consumers. The most common and well-known CBD product is Charlotte’s Web. Charlotte’s Web comes as a CBD tincture that is pure CBD; meaning there is practically no THC in the product. While this tincture is typically used to serve cancer patients, it is being found to have a wider range of treatments.
Charlotte’s Web can be expensive, so if you’re looking for just a product to test, I recommend using Endocanna’s (Better Concentrates) CBD tincture. It has a ratio of CBD to THC, but the majority of the tincture is going to be CBD. Endocanna also makes a very effective THCA tincture. THCA is extremely beneficial for any patient that is in need of nerve of muscle pain relief.
A tincture is the most effective way of taking CBD, but I highly recommend using patches and flower as well. The consistent smoking of cannabis is thought to have preventative qualities for many diseases, including diabetes. There are also CBD patches on the market, such as Mary’s Medicinals, that give you the option of easily medicating throughout your day. They have CBD, THC, THCA, CBD: THC, and even CBN patches. Each one having its own medicinal purpose. For someone with diabetes, I highly recommend using the CBD, THCA, and the CBD: THC patches. These all have possible therapeutic effects for patients with diabetes.
As the cannabis industry continues to grow, we will begin seeing more and more medical qualities being discovered. The more we study each cannabinoid and their effects on us, we continue to discover new uses. It is amazing to think that this plant has been around for so long, but we are just now discovering these amazing medical qualities. Either way,the future looks bright for marijuana and diabetes.