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Updated on January 18, 2024

CBD for Diabetes

Fact Checked

Key takeaways

  • More than 529 million people are suffering with diabetes globally.
  • The number of people with diabetes is expected to rise to 1.3 billion in by 2050.
  • CBD can control blood sugar levels, reduce appetite and reduce inflammation linked to diabetes.
  • CBD protects the nerves against inflammation from diabetes.
  • CBD reduces anxiety and stress which worsens the signs of diabetes.

How bad is diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic medical condition affecting more than 529 million people globally. This number is expected to rise to 1.3 billion by 2050. Diabetes occurs when the body is unable to properly regulate blood sugar (glucose) levels. There are two main types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition where the body's immune system attacks and destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. People with Type 1 diabetes require insulin injections for the rest of their lives. It usually develops in childhood or adolescence and represents about 5-10% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes.

Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes accounting for about 90-95% of cases. It typically develops in adults, though it can occur in children and adolescents. In Type 2 diabetes, the body either doesn't produce enough insulin or becomes resistant to the effects of insulin. It can often be managed through lifestyle changes, oral medications, or insulin injections.

Regardless of type, it is important to note that diabetes is a major health challenge leading to several potential complications which are listed below.

  1. Cardiovascular issues
  2. Kidney disease
  3. Eye problem
  4. Nerve Damage
  5. Foot Complications
  6. Skin Conditions
  7. Gum Disease

It is important to note that the seriousness and progression of diabetes-related complications can vary from person to person. Proper management of diabetes through medication, a healthy diet, regular physical activity, and monitoring blood sugar levels can significantly reduce the risk of complications.

How Can CBD help people with diabetes?

It is already an established fact that diabetes can lead to several complications some of which can be effectively managed with the right cannabinoid therapy. Note that CBD and other cannabinoids work with the endocannabinoid system. This is a natural balancing system that ensures the natural balance of things in our bodies. Diabetes occurs because our body is out of balance and incapable of processing sugar or producing insulin. Some of the possible ways CBD can help people with diabetes are listed below;

  1. Anti-Inflammatory Effects:

The anti-inflammatory role of CBD cannot be overemphasized. Inflammation is a major factor in the development and progression of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes leads to continuous inflammation in the body. This inflammation is also a factor in causing type 2 diabetes. Research shows that certain compounds promoting inflammation can mess up the pathways that insulin uses to handle glucose, playing a role in the development of type 2 diabetes.

Research shows CBD can help reduce inflammation and protect the barrier in cells lining the heart's blood vessels when exposed to high glucose levels. It also lowers the risk of diabetes in mice and shows protective effects on the nervous system and the barrier in the eyes in a diabetes model induced by a specific substance (streptozotocin).

  1. Potential Glycemic Control

Some studies in animal models shows that CBD may have a role in improving glycemic control, which is the regulation of blood sugar levels.

  1. Impact on Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance is a major factor in type 2 diabetes. Some preclinical studies have suggested that CBD might influence insulin sensitivity, potentially improving the body's response to insulin.

A 2016 study discovered that CBD, when administered alone, exhibited specific effects on hormones related to glycemic control. Firstly, CBD was found to decrease levels of resistin, a hormone associated with insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a condition where the body's cells do not respond effectively to insulin. By reducing resistin levels, CBD may contribute to improved insulin sensitivity.

Secondly, CBD was observed to increase levels of glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide (GIP). GIP is a hormone that plays a crucial role in regulating insulin release in response to glucose intake. The increase in GIP levels induced by CBD suggests a potential enhancement of the body's ability to release insulin in response to glucose, aiding in the regulation of blood sugar.

  1. Neuroprotective Effects

Diabetes causes damage to nerves in both the body and the brain, which is similar to what happens in conditions like glaucoma. Interestingly, CBD does not only help control blood sugar but also protect nerves. CBD targets several receptors in the body that trigger its anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, and antiepileptic effects.

  1. Anti-Anxiety Effects

Anxiety and stress can affect blood sugar levels. CBD's anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) effects may be beneficial for individuals with diabetes who experience stress-related fluctuations in blood sugar.

  1. Appetite reduction

Studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that CBD may have an appetite-suppressing effect. Unlike THC, another compound in cannabis known for increasing appetite, CBD seems to interact with different receptors and pathways, potentially leading to reduced feelings of hunger. This appetite suppressing effect can be very useful for losing weight and controlling appetite during diabetes.

Frequently asked questions

Can CBD help manage blood sugar levels in diabetes?

Yes, there are studies showing how CBD may have potential benefits for glycemic control, however, more research may be needed to fully understand its effects.

Does CBD have an impact on insulin sensitivity?

Yes, preclinical studies with animals have shown that CBD may improve insulin sensitivity. Insulin resistance is a key factor in type 2 diabetes, and substances that enhance insulin sensitivity could be beneficial.

Can CBD reduce inflammation associated with diabetes?

Yes, CBD is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Chronic inflammation is linked to insulin resistance and diabetes progression. By reducing inflammation, CBD may indirectly contribute to better glycemic control.

Does CBD affect appetite, and can it be useful for weight management in diabetes?

Yes, some studies suggest that CBD may have an appetite-regulating effect, potentially reducing feelings of hunger. This could be relevant for weight management in diabetes.

Is it safe to use CBD for diabetes, and are there any potential interactions with diabetes medications?

No, the safety of using CBD for diabetes should be discussed with an expert. While CBD is generally considered safe, potential interactions with diabetes medications may exist.

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Sources

Mattes RG, Espinosa ML, Oh SS, Anatrella EM, Urteaga EM. Cannabidiol (CBD) Use in Type 2 Diabetes: A Case Report. Diabetes Spectr. 2021 May;34(2):198-201. doi: 10.2337/ds20-0023. Epub 2021 Dec 23. PMID: 34149261; PMCID: PMC8178711.

Zhang J, Lin C, Jin S, Wang H, Wang Y, Du X, Hutchinson MR, Zhao H, Fang L, Wang X. The pharmacology and therapeutic role of cannabidiol in diabetes. Exploration (Beijing). 2023 Jul 12;3(5):20230047. doi: 10.1002/EXP.20230047. PMID: 37933286; PMCID: PMC10582612.

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