Researchers from GW Pharmaceuticals in England have revealed that cannabis contains two compounds with the ability to increase the energy your body burns and help treat various obesity-related diseases, including type-2 diabetes. Cannabis drug, commonly known as marijuana, is derived from the cannabis plant – yes, the plant people use recreationally, spiritually and religiously.
In healthy people, the body naturally creates energy from food by processing it as sugar and glucose. The pancreas produces insulin, which unlocks body cells to allow glucose absorption. In diabetic people, this system does not work and thus results in a sugar build up in their bloodstream. This causes draining complications within developing arteries and diseases like stroke, coronary artery disease, retinopathy (retina disease that results in blindness or vision impairment), kidney failure, nerve damage or diabetic neuropathy.
Types of diabetes
There are two types: type-1 diabetes and type-2 diabetes. Type -1, also referred to as juvenile diabetes, develops early in life. Type-1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that signals the body’s immune system to attack the pancreas. Due to the onslaught, the pancreas stops producing insulin and patients have to supplement with insulin injections. The dosing, however, is tricky. Too much insulin may cause the blood sugars to drop to low uncertainty levels. Too little insulin can result in hyperglycemia (a lot of blood sugar). Either of the two may cause deadly complications.
The other form of diabetes, type-2 diabetes, generally develops after age 35 and it is mostly a result of a sedentary lifestyle or obesity. With type-2, the pancreas continues to produce insulin, but at deficient levels. Even though exercise and diet can treat the disease effectively, the medical practitioner may prescribe some oral medications to help. The complications are debilitating, and if left unmanaged, the disease can cause death.
How cannabis helps
Several recent studies have shown that marijuana might have several health benefits for diabetic people. Research that the American Alliance for Medical Cannabis (AAMC) conducted shows that:
- Cannabis stabilizes blood sugar. Research, as well as Anecdotal evidence building among diabetics, supports that.
- Cannabis suppresses arterial inflammation diabetic people experience. The inflammation can cause cardiovascular disease.
- Cannabis prevents inflammation and eases neuropathy pain, which is the most common diabetes complication. Cannabis stimulates receptors your brain and body.
- Cannabis lowers blood pressure and therefore reduces the risks of heart diseases and some other complications of diabetes.
- Cannabis keeps blood vessels open and improves blood circulation.
- Cannabis relieves muscle cramps and gastrointestinal (GI) disorders pain
- Some practitioners have used it to make topical creams used to relieve tingling in feet and hands and neuropathic pain.
- Cannabis reduces intraocular pressure – fluid pressure in eyes – significantly in individuals with glaucoma – a form of eye disease that results from conditions that restrict blood movement to the eyes like severe diabetic retinopathy.
Cannabinoid therapy for diabetes
Research has shown how cannabis and its partnering cannabinoids may treat diabetes in the future. Despite its appetite inducing effect, studies have shown that the increase in caloric intake has little impact on BMI or the body weight. A survey that International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation published in the year 2016 showed that marijuana users have lower BMI than individuals who have never consumed it.
Another research that appeared on the American Journal of Medicine in the year 2013 and surveyed over 4600 diabetic patients showed that those who consumed marijuana had 17% reduced insulin resistance. Even more, those who reported marijuana usage averaged 16% lesser fasting insulin levels compared to individuals who never consumed it.
Cannabinoid also combats autoimmune disorders.
As stated earlier, type-1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder – it occurs after the immune system attacks the pancreas. However, the Diabetes Council has shown that cannabinoids may potentially save insulin-forming cells from damages and reverse autoimmune diseases.
Diabetes causes nerve damage. Around 60-70% of diabetic patients deal with some neuropathic pain. On the other hand, cannabis is widely known for its useful neuroprotective capabilities. Patent #6630507, held by the United States government, declares that cannabinoids are active neuroprotectants and antioxidants that can treat various disorders. Cannabis anti-inflammatory effects also quiet pain and ease symptoms.
Diabetes and its associated symptoms can be life-changing and debilitating. However, studies in the world of legal cannabis show promise in the possibility of ending the disease.