Cannabis Treats Diabetes and Protects Against Obesity

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by Paul Fassa
Health Impact News

How counter-intuitive can one get? Everybody knows marijuana users get the “munchies,” which are usually satisfied with high calorie low nutrient foods. It’s also somewhat accepted by mainstream oncology that cannabis curbs chemo patients’ nausea and boosts their appetites.

Yet studies demonstrate that even recreational pot users have a considerably lower incidence of obesity and metabolic syndrome, which often leads to diabetes 2. Study details later in this article.

According to the Mayo Clinic,

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions — increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels — that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. (Source.)

In 2012, diabetes affected around 29 million Americans with an increase of 1.7 annual, leading to death from the disease itself or other related complications among many. It seems that pharmaceuticals have failed with diabetes, but dramatic life style changes have a good track record of eliminating metabolic-syndrome and diabetes 2.

A feature of metabolic syndrome or diabetes 2 is insulin resistance. The pancreas produces sufficient insulin, but the cells that need insulin to metabolize glucose, but the body’s cells are hampered from absorbing insulin. After digestion breaks down food carbohydrates into glucose, insulin is needed to convey that glucose into cells that the cells use to create energy.

At first, the pancreas’s beta cells work harder to produce more insulin and maintain normal blood sugar levels. But eventually the pancreas runs out of steam producing against insulin resistance. The glucose isn’t utilized by cells for energy while it builds up in the bloodstream, creating high blood sugar levels. (Source.)

Diabetes 1 is usually the result of an anomaly in one’s early development, creating a deficiency of insulin production from the pancreas, thus forcing diabetes 1 victims to inject insulin externally. Diabetes 1 people tend to be thin or underweight. Diabetes 2 folks tend to be overweight or obese and in need of a lifestyle change.

If diabetes 2 is not eliminated or diminished somewhat, the effects can get very serious, even leading to cardiac conditions and other diseases. Alzheimer’s disease is now often considered diabetes 3.

Three Studies That Confirm Potential Cannabis Treatment for Diabetes 2

Insulin resistance promotes blood coagulation in major blood vessels that contribute to high blood pressure and life threatening heart diseases.

(1) A 2007 in vivo (animal) study published in the journal Phytomedicine titled “Anticoagulant effect of cannabis in an obese rat model” came up with the following conclusion:

The study thus shows that Cannabis sativa and the cannabinoids, THC and CBN, display anticoagulant activity and may be useful in the treatment of diseases such as type 2 diabetes in which a hypercoagulable state exists. (Source.)

Thus it appears the pharmaceutical medications with harmful or uncomfortable side effects normally prescribed can be replaced with THC and CBD combined cannabis strains however consumed.

(2) An earlier 2006 study showed diabetic improvement in non-obese mice with CBD (cannabidiol) only, no THC (tetra-hydrochloride), the cannabinoid that creates the “high.”

From the Israeli study titled “Cannabidiol lowers incidence of diabetes in non-obese diabetic mice” posted in the 2006 issue of Autoimmunity (NOD stands for non-obese diabetic):

We now report that CBD treatment significantly reduces the incidence of diabetes in NOD mice from an incidence of 86% in non-treated control mice to an incidence of 30% in CBD-treated mice. CBD treatment also resulted in the significant reduction of plasma levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokines,

(…)

Our results indicate that CBD can inhibit and delay destructive insulitis and inflammatory Th1 associated cytokine production in NOD mice resulting in a decreased incidence of diabetes possibly through an immunomodulatory mechanism shifting the immune response from Th1 to Th2 dominance. (Source.)

(3) Research performed in Italy to determine the effects of cannabis on diabetic neuropathy titled “Beneficial effects of a Cannabis sativa extract treatment on diabetes-induced neuropathy and oxidative stress” was published by the journal Phytotherapy Research in 2009.

Diabetic neuropathy is a common occurrence among diabetics. It’s the result of nerve damage, most often within the peripheral nervous system affecting the hands, feet, and legs with weakness, pain, numbness, tingling, or burning sensations. Other less common types of neuropathy among diabetics are frequent urination or incontinence, diarrhea or constipation, and eye nerve damage that can lead to blindness.

The Italian study was performed using cannabis because most pharmaceutical analgesics are ineffective and carry cumbersome side effects. The researchers used CBD (cannabidiol), which has managed worse neurological disorders of chronic seizures without side effects. They found the CBD highly effective with diabetes-induced neuropathy symptoms as well. (Source.)

All three studies above represent potential diabetes treatments with cannabis. The following two epidemiological surveys demonstrate that cannabis use is a powerful deterrent to becoming insulin sensitive or diabetic.

Two Studies Demonstrating Cannabis Use as Preventative for Diabetes

A study titled, “The Impact of Marijuana Use on Glucose, Insulin, and Insulin Resistance among US Adults,” was published in The American Journal of Medicine on July 2013. This study demonstrated how cannabis use helps prevent diabetes and obesity, even while suffering “the munchies.”

The survey included 4657 adult men and women from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2005 to 2010. Among them 1975 were past users and 579 currently puffed the weed. Marijuana use was assessed by self-report in a private room.

Keep in mind that smoking marijuana involves THC as well as the other cannabinoids. The researchers discovered that pot smokers had significantly less insulin resistance and obesity. (Source.)

The University of Miami School of Medicine got into the act as well. Their study, “Metabolic Syndrome among Marijuana Users in the United States: An Analysis of National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Data,” was published in the 2015 American Journal of Medicine.

Researchers covered 8,500 people, ages 20 to 59, divided into three groups: People who currently use marijuana, people who used to consume marijuana and people who never used marijuana. Keep in mind that metabolic-syndrome includes the “cluster of symptoms” leading to diabetes: Increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels.

Their conclusion:

Among emerging adults, current marijuana users were 54 percent less likely than never users to present with metabolic syndrome. These findings have important implications for the nation as marijuana use becomes more accepted and we simultaneously face multiple epidemics of obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. (Source.)

These published peer reviewed studies are a small sampling of international studies from Israel, Spain, Italy, and the USA among others that have looked into various applications of cannabis for treatments for other diseases with positive results.

Yet, the DEA Controlled Substance Schedule 1 rating for cannabis of dangerous, addictive, and without medical merit stands as of this writing. Apparently, the Justice Department that governs the DEA is trying to protect the pharmaceutical industry, not ordinary citizens.

Sources:

http://herb.co/2015/11/17/marijuana-and-diabetes/

https://cannabis.net/blog/medical/is-cannabis-the-diabetes-cure-we-have-been-searching-for

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08916930500356674

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0002934313002003

http://extract.suntimes.com/information-resources/10/153/8099/marijuana-users-50-percent-lower-risk-metabolic-syndrome-study

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