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Is There a Possibility of Treating Diabetes with CBD?

September 27, 2022 5 min read

Is There a Possibility of Treating Diabetes with CBD?

Is There a Possibility of Treating Diabetes with CBD?

Cannabis is becoming socially acceptable to many people. Its by-products like CBD are gaining much attention in the medical field. In this article, we explore the possibility of using CBD for diabetes.

CBD is available in oils, gummies, lotions, vapes, and tinctures. It is probably the most used ingredient of our time. In addition, it provides several benefits, especially in the health sector. Medicinally, CBD helps reduce pain, stress, anxiety, depression, and inflammation, among other health issues. The notion that CBD might help treat diabetes is a subject of ongoing studies. However, many users believe that CBD is a natural way to manage diabetes-related symptoms.

What Is CBD?

The cannabis plant, also known as marijuana, contains several compounds with varying effects. There is an increasing interest in the health benefits of cannabis. The two main compounds in the cannabis plant are delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). These compounds contain different effects. Until recently, only THC was widely known. THC breaks when introduced to the body to make the user feel "high." Unlike THC, CBD contains anti-inflammatory and anti-seizure properties. It does not make you feel "high." Even though CBD comes from marijuana, it does not create any form of intoxication. The recreational use of marijuana has created controversies around cannabis products like CBD oil. But there is an increasing awareness of the health benefits of CBD oil. The oil has become a treatment option for various health issues such as epilepsy, psychosis, anxiety, depression, pain or inflammation, and skin conditions. Notably, CBD comes in three main forms with different concentrations and compounds: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and CBD isolates.

What Is Diabetes?

According to World Health Organization (WHO), diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. The insulin hormone regulates blood sugar. Diabetes is a serious condition that needs to be controlled. Poor control can seriously affect your body tissues and organs such as kidneys, heart, eyes, and nerves. 

The body needs different nutrients to perform certain functions. It is through digestion that food is broken down into various nutrients and absorbed into your bloodstream. For example, carbohydrates are broken into glucose. Glucose provides energy to your body organs. Insulin hormone facilitates glucose intake in the body cell. Without insulin, glucose cannot enter the body cells, leading to high blood sugar levels.

There are three common types of diabetes: Type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body mistakenly attacks itself through an autoimmune reaction. When this happens, your body stops producing insulin. This type of diabetes is common in children and young adults. To survive type 1 diabetes, patients need a daily intake of insulin. In type 2 diabetes, the body cannot keep blood sugar at normal levels. This happens when your body doesn't use insulin well. Living a healthy lifestyle and being healthy can help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. Lastly, gestational diabetes usually develops in pregnant women who have not had diabetes before. However, gestational diabetes normally heals after you give birth, but it can risk your baby's health problems or increase your risk of type 2 diabetes later in life.

How Do You Know That You Have Diabetes?

The earliest warning sign of diabetes is higher than normal blood sugar levels. It might be hard to notice this early until it gets serious, especially after long-term damage. The common early warning signs are fatigue, thirst, hunger, dry mouth, blurred vision, and itchy skin. These signs can indicate either type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes. Pregnant women might feel thirstier than normal or may feel to pee more often. Other signs and symptoms of diabetes include; having yeast infections regularly, gaining unnecessary weight, slow healing of sores and cuts, dark skin changes around the neck, armpit, and groin, and numbness on hands and feet.

CBD for Diabetes

According to Noreen et al. (2018), CBD provides vital medical and therapeutic benefits without causing psychoactive effects. There are a lot of scientific claims on how CBD can be used to treat various medical conditions, including diabetes. The cannabis derivative binds with cannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system to dispense its therapeutic effects.

CBD can increase the development of nerves and nerve systems, thereby reducing nerve pain. Nerve pain is caused by diabetic neuropathy, commonly known as nerve damage. It is characterized by pain and burning sensations in the feet and hands. Patients with diabetes use CBD for nerve pain. The drug is available in tinctures and oils to rub on painful areas.  Philpott et al. (2017) found that CBD reduces inflammation and nerve pain linked to osteoarthritis. Consequently, it could benefit patients with diabetes.

Diabetic patients might experience stress and anxiety, which worsens the other symptoms of diabetes. When stress hormones are released, they cause the body to release glucagon, which leads to high blood sugar levels.  Moltke & Hindocha (2021) opined that CBD could help manage anxiety and stress, positively impacting the physical symptoms of diabetes. Diabetic patients struggling with blood sugar levels due to hormonal effects can opt for CBD.

Oxidative stress and inflammation contribute majorly to the development of diabetes and its complications. CBD can reduce oxidative stress, inflammation, cell death, and vascular hyperpermeability associated with diabetes (Mattes et al., 2021).CBD can improve pancreatic health in humans as well (Sharafi et al., 2019). It protects the pancreas against damage from overactive immune cells. Improved pancreatic health enables sufficient insulin production. When there is enough insulin in the body, blood sugar levels remain normal, which protects people from getting diabetes.

Conclusion

Controlling diabetes might be hard, especially when you don't know whether you have the disease. Currently, there is no cure for diabetes. However, people have developed ways of alleviating diabetes-related symptoms, including using CBD. The effectiveness of CBD for diabetes is also limited to reducing inflammation, oxidation stress, and alleviating anxiety related to the disease. There have been no or fewer clinical trials to test if CBD can help prevent diabetes in humans. However, animal studies have indicated that CBD can lower the risk of developing diabetes.  

References

Mattes, R. G., Espinosa, M. L., Oh, S. S., Anatrella, E. M., & Urteaga, E. M. (2021). Cannabidiol (CBD) Use in Type 2 Diabetes: A Case Report. Diabetes           Spectrum, 34(2), 198-201.

Moltke, J., & Hindocha, C. (2021). Reasons for cannabidiol use: a cross-sectional study of            CBD users, focusing on self-perceived stress, anxiety, and sleep     problems. Journal of cannabis research, 3(1), 1-12.

Noreen, N., Muhammad, F., Akhtar, B., Azam, F., & Anwar, M. I. (2018). Is cannabidiol a

promising substance for new drug development? A review of its potential therapeutic applications. Critical Reviews™ in Eukaryotic Gene Expression, 28(1).

Philpott, H. T., O'Brien, M., & McDougall, J. J. (2017). Attenuation of early phase inflammation by cannabidiol prevents pain and nerve damage in rat      osteoarthritis. Pain, 158(12), 2442.

Sharafi, G., He, H., & Nikfarjam, M. (2019). Potential use of cannabinoids for the   treatment of pancreatic cancer. Journal of pancreatic cancer, 5(1), 1-7.