Can Cannabis Help Prevent Diabetes
The marijuana plant contains chemicals called cannabinoids that have a range of effects, including increased appetite and diminished pain and inflammation. That all sounds great, but whats really going on?
Even though some preliminary research suggests medical marijuana may help improve glucose control and insulin resistance, doctors across the board arent quick to recommend marijuana for diabetes prevention. Thats because most of the studies havent met the gold standard for medical research: Medical marijuana hasnt been analyzed in large, randomized, controlled studies in human subjects with type 2 diabetes. Such studies reduce the risk of bias in study authors, and provide the most reliable evidence we have for a cause-and-effect relationship between two factors rather than just a correlative link, which observational studies draw.
A more recent study, published in December 2015 in Diabetologia, found an entirely different association between marijuana use and diabetes risk. In that research, current young adult users were 65 percent more likely to develop prediabetesby middle age versus never-users. Keep in mind that with both these studies, data relied on people reporting their marijuana habits accurately and honestly, which may have skewed the results.
The Best Methods Of Medical Marijuana Treatments To Manage Diabetes
With medical cannabis for diabetes growing, marijuana doctors and patients are looking for useful ways to use this herb in treatment. Fortunately, there are other methods of use outside of smoking. Although many people still use traditional methods, others are replacing these traditional methods with more high-tech and safer alternatives which include:
Medicinal Uses Of Cannabis
Reports of medicinal cannabis use date back thousands of years, and many studies into the plants medical potential are being conducted today. Generally speaking, medical authorities have come to recognize an increasing number of health benefits.
How does it work? Briefly, our bodies have what is referred to as an endocannabinoid systemthat is, the specific cellular receptors that can interact with several different compounds that are found in marijuana and can affect a variety of physiological processes. As can be seen in the diagrams below, these receptors are present in many organs and tissues in humans.
Image credit: NORML Womens Alliance
Cannabis contains many different compounds. The two major active compounds are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol . Researchers note that available research indicates that the main two compounds, d-9-THC and CBD, whilst having similar effects in certain domains, also have almost opposite effects to one another in other aspects. This highlights why specific preparations may be especially useful for treating a particular health condition.
Which health conditions may benefit from the use of cannabis or its derivatives? Since the endocannabinoid system can affect numerous processes, there are many conditions that can be targeted.
- Psychiatric Disorders
So, marijuana can affect a variety of organs and exerts both physical and psychological effects.
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Possible Benefits Of Cannabis
A number of animal-based studies and some human studies have highlighted a number of potential health benefits of cannabis for diabetes.
Research by the American Alliance for Medical Cannabis has suggested that cannabis can help:
- Stabilise blood sugars a large body of anecdotal evidence is building among people with diabetes to support this.
- Suppress some of the arterial inflammation commonly experienced by people with diabetes, which can lead to cardiovascular disease
- Prevent nerve inflammation and ease the pain of neuropathy the most common complication of diabetes by stimulating receptors in the body and brain.
- Lower blood pressure over time, which can help reduce the risk of heart disease and other diabetes complications
- Keep blood vessels open and improve circulation.
- Relieve muscle cramps and the pain of gastrointestinal disorders
- Be used to make topical creams to relieve neuropathic pain and tingling in hands and feet
Cannabis compounds have also been shown to reduce intra-ocular pressure considerably in people with glaucoma a type of eye disease that is caused by conditions that severely restrict blood flow to the eye, such as severe diabetic retinopathy
What The Difference Between Type 1 And Type 2 Diabetes
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Final Thoughts On Weed Diet
While it sounds contradictory that you could lose weight consuming something that is notorious for giving users the munchies there is sound science and first-hand accounts of how consuming marijuana can help you lose weight.
For those looking to suppress the appetite, strains that are high in Tetrahydrocannabivarin would be a great option to cut off unnecessary calories. And if smoking is not your option, consider opting for CBD oils and cannabis juice -they will not get you high and will definitely help to cut back those munchies.
True, youll have to adopt healthy eating and exercise habits to effectively lose weight, consuming marijuana can potentially be a great tool for shedding unwanted pounds and uplifting your mood!
Barriers To More Research
But before a definitive conclusion is reached, there are several barriers stalling medical marijuana research, says Melanie Elliott, PhD, an instructor in the department of neurosurgery at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, who studies cannabinoids as a therapy for traumatic brain injuries, inflammatory conditions, and pain.
One hurdle is the regulatory steps that researchers have to pass. Marijuana is still considered a Schedule I controlled substance, meaning it has a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use. Heroin and ecstasy also fall into this category. Because of this, there are federal and local regulations that are pretty discouraging to researchers, says Elliott, who adds that university regulations and institutional reviews are also required. There are many tiers of review, which become time-consuming and cost money for researchers, she explains.
The supply of cannabis for research is another problem. Medical dispensaries offer a variety of strains all grown to have different properties, as well as different products, like extracts, edibles, oils, and cigarettes. As Elliott points out, the only source of medical cannabis for government-backed research must go through the National Institute on Drug Abuse and come from farms at a single U.S. higher-education institute, the University of Mississippi.
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Clinical Characteristics Cannabis Use And Energy Intake Of Study Subjects
This study included age-, sex-, race-, and BMI-matched chronic cannabis smokers and control subjects . The median age of cannabis smokers was 25 years . Age at first cannabis smoking was 15 ± 3 years . Participants smoked an average of 10 ± 8 joints per day for 12 ± 9 years . The majority of cannabis smokers in our cohort were African American and men . The median BMI of the cannabis smokers was 26 kg/m2 . The participants in the control group were matched for age, sex, ethnicity, and BMI . Seventeen of the cannabis smokers also smoked tobacco, whereas only two participants in the control group were tobacco smokers. Systolic and diastolic blood pressures were significantly higher in cannabis users when compared with control participants .
Total daily energy intake, assessed by 24-h dietary recall, was not significantly different between the groups. However, carbohydrate intake and percent calories from carbohydrates were significantly higher in cannabis smokers . Diet quality was measured using the HEI-2005. As seen in , the quality of diet consumed by cannabis smokers was lower than the control group, reflecting differing food choices. Despite differences in total diet quality, the percent total daily calories from fat and alcohol were not significantly different between the groups. In both groups, women consumed less alcohol than men .
How Can Marijuana Help Your Diabetes
So lets say you were using marijuana, or wanted to try it. What would the effect be on your diabetes?
A number of PWDs report that with regular use, they see lower blood sugar levels and reduced A1c results over time. The existing scientific evidence shows that marijuana has an effect on improving insulin resistance helpful for people type 2 diabetes, but generally not for type 1s. For them, theres little more than anecdotal evidence to go on.
However, as mentioned, there is a whole body of evidence showing that marijuana is effective in treating eye disorders, chronic pain, sleep disorders, and a number of other ailments often associated with diabetes. So if you are living with one or more complications of diabetes, marijuana may very well ease your pain or slow the progression of the disorder youre living with.
The area of mental health is a big one for marijuana, as it has been shown to effectively treat everything from clinical depression to post-traumatic stress disorder. Why is this? One answer may come from a study published in February 2015, showing that marijuana use in animals helped restore brain levels of endocannabinoids which affect emotion and behavior, and have been linked to reduced feelings of pain and anxiety, and increased feelings of well-being.
Of course, some people with depression will not do well on marijuana, as it can also increase feelings of anxiety and paranoia in some people.
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How Smoking Can Lead To Type 2 Diabetes
- Insulin helps blood sugar enter cells, but nicotine changes cells so they dont respond to insulin, which increases blood sugar levels.
- Chemicals in cigarettes harm cells in your body and cause inflammation. This also makes cells stop responding to insulin.
- People who smoke have a higher risk of belly fat, which increases the risk for type 2 diabetes even if they arent overweight.
All in all, if you smoke, youre 30% to 40% more likely to get type 2 diabetes than people who dont smoke. The more you smoke, the higher your risk.
The Effect Of Cannabis On Appetite Blood Sugar And Insulin Levels
As of October 17th 2018, marijuana will be legal to be sold to or possessed by adults 18 years or older in Canada and to be consumed for recreational use. Medical marijuana has been available for sometime in Canada to those with authorization from their healthcare provider, but will now be widely available to the general adult population. So why am I, as a Dietitian writing about marijuana? Because food cravings, commonly referred to as the munchies are one of the known side-effects of cannabis and result in people eating even when theyve just eaten. For those who have made a decision to lose weight and keep it off, knowing how marijuana affects appetite is something that needs to be considered. As well, for those that are at risk for Type 2 Diabetes, knowing how marijuana impacts blood glucose and serum insulin levels is also important. So as a public service, this article is about the effect of marijuana and the munchies on blood sugar, serum insulin and weight gain.
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Chronic Cannabis Use Insulin Secretion And Pancreatic
Basal and postglucose load absolute insulin secretory rates were comparable between the groups. In order to assess insulin secretion in response to a dynamic change in plasma glucose levels, we measured rate sensitivity and IGI. IGI, the ratio of the rise of the insulin and glucose concentrations over basal level at 30 min , and rate sensitivity were not different between the groups . Insulin secretion and its relationship to plasma glucose concentrations were evaluated by model-derived -cell glucose sensitivity parameter. Other measures of -cell function, -cell glucose sensitivity, and potentiation factor in chronic cannabis smokers were also similar to control subjects.
Can Medical Marijuana Help Treat Type 2 Diabetes
While research on the risks and benefits of medical marijuana for people with diabetes is only preliminary, some studies suggest certain potential effects that may be worth further scientific exploration.
Although research on marijuana for medicinal purposes is limited and the Food and Drug Administration has not approved the drug as a standard of care, 29 states and Washington, DC, have legalized medical marijuana. That legislation has passed at a time when some research, which has mostly been observational and conducted in animals, links marijuana use to improved symptoms associated with HIV, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, and mental disorders.
But what do researchers say about using marijuana to help treat or prevent diabetes? Suffice it to say, studies suggest you shouldnt light up just yet.
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Diastolic Goes From 90 To 101
45 year old white male, 200 pounds, 5 foot 9. I started at 45 and have become a fairly heavy edible user. I take it for nerve pain and was taking way too much for about 4 months daily. . I thought you had to get pretty high for it to work. I read that it increases bp , And started monitoring it at home. In the past few days. Repeatedly, My bottom number jumps to the high 90s and even as high as 104, Three hours after swallowing the edible. But, This is the weird part. My systolic gets better and better. Its normally in the 130s and it goes as low as 111, Which is unheard of for me. Some slight good news: When I breathe in super deep and slowly let it out, My diastolic goes back down to 86, From 104, While Im high! But I cant keep breathing like this. Its untenable. And its stressing me out. Ive been trying to dose it better. Ive reduced to 15 mg right now, So I will knock it down to 5 and see if that makes any difference. If not, I wont be able to take it until I lose weight , Or just when Im feeling suicidal from the pain.
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When To Talk With A Doctor
Before trying CBD to help manage high blood pressure, its important to speak with a doctor. Regular checkups are also a good idea, as symptoms of high blood pressure dont often begin until the condition is more severe.
If youre noticing symptoms, or you cant remember the last time your blood pressure was taken, its a good idea to talk with a doctor.
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Can Cannabis Help Control Diabetes
While studies investigating marijuana as a diabetes prevention tool have not been conclusive, one study suggests the drug may be used to help relieve diabetes symptoms researchers note those findings are also preliminary.
The research, which was published in July 2015 in the Journal of Pain, found that patients suffering from a condition called diabetic neuropathy, or painful nerve damage due to chronic high blood sugar, may lessen their discomfort by inhaling marijuana. Cannabinoid receptors located in the nervous system across the spinal cord and brain appear to work on multiple planes to relieve pain, including decreasing the excitability of receptors, reducing transmission of pain signals in the brain, and inhibiting discomfort down the spinal cord.
Although the study was conducted in humans, and was randomized, controlled, and double-blinded, it was small involving only 16 participants. Plus, one study doesnt mean marijuana is safe to use for this purpose, says one of its authors, , the chair of the division of pain medicine at the University of California in San Diego.
Because most studies are observational and those that are randomized and controlled are small, results on the relationship cannabis may have to diabetes arent conclusive. Thats why more rigorous, high-quality research in humans is needed.
Who Is At Risk Of Heart Problems From Using Marijuana
You may be at increased risk from using marijuana if you:
Have heart disease
Have an irregular heart rhythm
Are taking certain medications
THC can increase heart rate and blood pressure, and if you already have underlying conditions, this could lead to complications. If you are taking medications for another condition, THC could interact with them.
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Heart Disease Best To Avoid Marijuana
Smoking marijuana carries many of the same cardiovascular health hazards as smoking tobacco, which is a major cause of heart attack, stroke, and heart failure. Until we have a clearer picture of the connection between marijuana and heart diseases, people with a heart condition or at risk of heart attack or stroke due to hypertension should consider avoiding smoking marijuana of any kind. These recommendations are in alignment with Harvard Health.
Acute Effects: Marijuana And Blood Pressure
According to Harvard Health, research has consistently shown that marijuana temporarily raises heart rate and dilates blood vessels, causing a modest dose-dependent increase in blood pressure. Together, these actions force the heart to pump harder, which can be dangerous for people with heart disease.
Research published in Cardiology in Review, suggests that the risk of heart attack is up to four times higher during the first 60 minutes of smoking marijuana. While this does not pose a threat to healthy people, it should be a red flag for people with a known heart condition. Other studies have shown a link between marijuana and atrial fibrillation, a common heart rhythm disorder.
To investigate the above claims, medical researchers at the Society of General Internal Medicine recently reviewed the acute effects of THC of several cardiac parameters, including heart rate and blood pressure. Their analysis included six clinical trials on blood pressure, after excluding studies with animal models and less than 20 participants.
In one randomized controlled trial , low concentrations of THC caused a drop in systolic blood pressure when smoked or injected. Another clinical trial of more inferior quality also found a decrease in systolic blood pressure at similar concentrations.
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