Summary of Research With Diabetes

Increased insulin sensitivity

Being able to use insulin effectively is vital for health. However, those with type 2 diabetes are less sensitive, or more resistant, to the effects of insulin in the body.

Research has shown that marijuana users may have increased insulin sensitivity.

In a large study of 4,657 people, as mentioned above, scientists observed that the fasting insulin levels of users were 16 percent lower than former users and non-users. Their levels of insulin resistance were also 17 percent lower.  (https://www.amjmed.com/article/S0002-9343(13)00200-3/abstract?cc=y= )

A 2015 study of people with non-insulin-treated type 2 diabetes indicates that a form of THC:

  • significantly decreased fasting blood glucose
  • improved the production of insulin
  • raised levels of adiponectin (a protein that regulates blood sugar)

A 2015 study on people with neuropathic foot pain suggests that inhaling cannabis can provide relief from diabetic neuropathic pain for several hours.

Researchers found that the higher the dose of THC, the greater the pain relief.

The main disadvantage of using cannabis for diabetes is related to an increased appetite. This is a common side effect, which some people call “the munchies.” It may lead people to crave and eat large amounts of carbohydrates.

This can be an issue for those with diabetes, as carbohydrates cause blood sugar to rise rapidly. Very high blood sugar levels may result in a medical emergency.

There are some concerns that marijuana users may not notice their blood sugar levels have dropped when they are intoxicated. It is also a worry that they may attribute symptoms of low blood sugar to the drug use.

A study published in 2014 suggests using topical marijuana treatments that combine CBD and THC to treat pain.

People can apply these directly to their hands and feet using a spray, to reduce the pain and tingling sensations associated with diabetic neuropathy.

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