CBD as a Diabetes Treatment: Is It Effective?
It used to be highly taboo to consider using any cannabis plant material to treat a medical condition. Now that medical marijuana has been legalized, cannabis in general and Cannabidiol (CBD) in particular are gradually but surely gaining more acceptance across the globe.
In the past few years, research on CBD has taken centre stage. Its calming and anti-inflammatory effects seem to have numerous significant advantages for a wide range of health conditions. The potential advantages of CBD for the treatment of diabetes have some people curious. Could the substance provide a more organic means of aiding those who are coping with diabetes?
We have conducted some investigations to find out what research and experts say about the use of CBD in the treatment of diabetes issues and symptoms. We have compiled a report of our findings in this article. Keep reading to find out more about CBD and diabetes.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes can cause a substantial rise in blood glucose (sugar) levels. The physical body's glucose levels vary on a regular basis. Once they rise, the pancreas produces insulin in response. The stimulation of fat and muscle cells through this secretion causes them to absorb extra glucose from the bloodstream and regulate blood sugar levels. Low insulin production results in high blood glucose levels.
Types of Diabetes
There are two main types of diabetes that may affect a person's body. These are:
Type 1 Diabetes: Type 1 Diabetes is uncommon. It happens in about 5% of all diabetes cases. According to reports, it is an autoimmune disorder. With type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks the cells in your pancreas, reducing the amount of insulin your body produces. Your blood sugar levels abruptly rise as a result. In this instance, the harm is long-lasting.
Type 2 Diabetes: This type of diabetes is the most common, making up 95% of all diabetes cases. In this form of diabetes, the body is unable to properly use insulin, which induces the pancreas to make more insulin up to a level it is unable to produce any more. As a result, blood sugar levels rise. This is usually caused by a poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle.
What is CBD?
Before delving into the connection between CBD and the treatment of diabetes, it's crucial to define a few terms and gain a basic understanding of what CBD is.
CBD is a cannabinoid present in the cannabis plant. It is also present in the hemp plant's stems and leaves. This cannabinoid is one of the two most common chemical compounds in the cannabis plant. The other popular cannabinoid is Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This is the cannabinoid responsible for the high associated with cannabis consumption due to its psychoactive properties. On the other hand, CBD will not get you high because it lacks psychoactive properties.
How does CBD work?
To treat a variety of medical conditions, CBD and THC each have unique physiological actions.
THC stimulates the CB1 receptors, which are principally found in the brain and the spinal cord, and the CB2 receptors, which are a component of the immune system. The two are naturally occurring cannabinoid receptors found in everyone’s natural endocannabinoid system. THC can affect a variety of bodily functions, such as mood, sleep, memory, pain perception, and inflammation by activating these receptors.
Conversely, neither of these cannabinoid receptors is activated by CBD. Instead, CBD activates different receptors all over the body. The main receptors that CBD activates are:
- Vanilloid receptors: These affect how pain, temperature, and inflammation are perceived.
- Adenosine receptors: The receptors control how neurotransmitters such as dopamine and glutamate are released.
- Serotonin receptors: These receptors influence mood, pain perception, sleep, and appetite
CBD benefits for diabetics
CBD has been demonstrated to have a restorative effect on the human brain without producing hallucinations or any other psychoactive outcomes that we usually associate with a "weed high." Because of this, CBD has a lot of therapeutic potential while ensuring the safety of the user.
However, more thorough and long-term study into the substance and how it influences the brain and body is necessary before the medical and scientific communities can make concrete claims about the health benefits of this cannabinoid.
Despite this, there are a few signs that cannabidiol has health advantages.
- For example, individuals who have type 2 diabetes or who are overweight frequently have an overactive endocannabinoid system, which controls how much food is consumed and how much energy is used.
- Cannabidiol acts on endocannabinoid system receptors, which is the basis for many of its potential therapeutic uses.
As such, it has been touted that CBD could provide significant health benefits for individuals with type 2 diabetes.
How does CBD help with diabetes?
The following are the ways in which CBD could help with diabetes prevention and management:
1. HDL cholesterol promotion with CBD
One of the issues that you cannot ignore when dealing with diabetes is cholesterol levels. While we usually associate cholesterol with poor health, it isn’t always bad.
There are two types of cholesterol: LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol and HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol. LDL is the bad cholesterol, while HDL is the good one. You are more likely to experience cardiovascular problems if your bad cholesterol levels are too high while your good cholesterol levels are too low.
Individuals with diabetes are at high risk of experiencing cardiovascular problems, meaning that they have to be particularly concerned about their levels of good and bad cholesterol. It seems that CBD could help promote HDL cholesterol in the body.
In a 2016 study published in the journal Diabetes Care, scientists discovered that cannabidiol use had some effect on HDL cholesterol levels as well as other markers, including appetite and insulin sensitivity, in people with type 2 diabetes. The findings of the study are promising as they indicate that CBD could help curb the cardiovascular complications associated with diabetes.
2. CBD for treating insulin resistance and obesity
When it comes to controlling insulin resistance and weight gain, both of which raise the risk of developing diabetes, CBD has some promise. Obesity is strongly linked to Type-2 Diabetes, which is the most common form of diabetes. Being overweight or obese is a risk factor for diabetes that is linked to insulin resistance. In individuals with obesity, fat tissue releases more glycerol, non-esterified fatty acids, pro-inflammatory cytokines, and hormones, which may cause the onset of insulin resistance.
A 2020 review found that CBD may have an impact on several elements that lead to the emergence of insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes. The ability to lessen inflammation and alter glucose metabolism are two of these advantages.
Consequently, the following symptoms could be reduced:
- Insulin resistance
- Metabolic syndrome
- Type 2 diabetes
3. CBD for blood sugar (glucose) control
When it comes to diabetes management, blood sugar control is incredibly important. CBD has been said to help with the control of blood sugar levels.
A 2016 study that looked at levels of blood sugar when fasting found that CBD helped individuals who had type 2 diabetes better control their blood glucose levels when blended with a THC-based product.
According to the study, CBD by itself can:
- Lower levels of the hormone resistin, which can increase insulin resistance
- Elevate insulinotropic peptide: a glucose-dependent hormone that triggers the release of insulin.
This suggests that CBD may be able to help with a few of the hormonal imbalances that cause type 2 diabetes.
4. CBD for nerve pain treatment
Diabetes frequently results in diabetic neuropathy, which is nerve damage. Pain as well as burning sensations, especially in the feet and hands, are possible symptoms.
According to an animal study, CBD can promote the growth of nervous tissue and nerves, potentially reducing nerve pain.
Rodent studies are regarded as an important predictor of what may be encountered in human studies. So, even though the impact of CBD on nerve pain has not yet been investigated in humans, results from animal studies are promising.
5. CBD for inflammation
Inflammation plays a role in type 2 diabetes as both a causative agent and an outcome, which means that while it may initially cause the disease, enduring inflammation in the body's cells also plays a role in the development of various complications or symptoms once diabetes has been identified. Therefore, the treatment of inflammation is useful for both the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes.
For many years, CBD has been investigated as a potential anti-inflammatory medication. Researchers discovered that CBD had favorable effects on a number of inflammation markers in a study that specifically focused on inflammation brought on by high glucose levels. According to this study, CBD may be useful in reversing the harm that diabetes can cause to blood vessel walls.
6. CBD for stress and anxiety management
The management of their condition causes anxiety and stress for some individuals with diabetes. In turn, anxiety and stress can make diabetes symptoms worse.
The body releases glucagon, which might raise blood glucose levels in response to the stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol.
The physical signs of diabetes may be improved by controlling anxiety and stress.
According to research, cannabidiol can reduce the signs and symptoms of anxiety. Therefore, CBD may be beneficial for people who have trouble managing their levels of blood sugar because of the hormonal impact of anxiety and stress.
Other diabetes-related conditions
CBD may help manage the symptoms of the additional health conditions that several individuals who have diabetes also experience. These consist of:
- Insomnia: Studies have shown that CBD can help deal with insomnia, which affects as many as 50% of individuals with type 2 diabetes. Your levels of blood glucose can be better managed by getting more sleep, which lowers your risk of developing diabetes complications.
- Blood pressure: Blood pressure is one of the complications as well as the causes of diabetes. CBD can lower blood pressure, which lowers the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Most diabetics are more likely to develop this condition.
How to use CBD for diabetes
It's important to remember that the study on CBD and diabetes is currently in its early stages. Due to the paucity of long-term studies, it's critical to continue working with a physician to treat your health condition and stop it from growing worse. Pausing your meds may be detrimental.
In light of this, CBD may be a fantastic supplement to take along with your regular diabetes medications, provided your professional healthcare provider gives you the go-ahead. CBD can be utilized in a variety of ways.
You can use various forms of CBD to possibly alleviate diabetes symptoms, including:
- Vaping: The quickest way to feel the effects of CBD oil is to vape it (using e-cigarettes or vaping pens). With this method, direct absorption of substances into your bloodstream occurs in the lungs. Vaping, however, may have additional negative side effects like airway irritation or injury.
- Tinctures and oils: Dropping oils under the tongue, via a dropper, causes them to quickly enter the bloodstream. Additionally, drops may be added to meals or drinks.
- Edibles: If you have difficulty swallowing pills, try these gummy-like chocolates or candies. It can take some time for the effects to manifest after consumption.
- Capsules and pills: An oil-based or tincture-based substance can be found in CBD capsules and pills. It may take a while for the effects to manifest after consumption.
- Lotions and creams: To relieve muscle or joint pain, topical CBD balms are frequently used on the skin. The majority of topicals don't get into the blood. Conversely, they impact the skin's local cannabinoid receptors.
Which choice should you consider?
While you have access to several forms of CBD, you may want to be picky if you desire optimal results. The choice of the form of CBD use will depend on your goals.
Any of the forms discussed above will be effective for you if you're using cannabidiol as a supportive or preventative product.
Given that many edibles contain sugar, you might want to avoid them if you are attempting to lose weight. True, CBD won't make you feel "hungry" the same way THC will. However, a lot of cannabidiol edibles are delicious and laden with calories, so if you eat them in excess, you risk gaining weight. To make certain it will work with your current objectives, look at the ingredient list.
Vaping or ingesting CBD oil are both viable options if you're seeking quick relief from common pains.
CBD side effects
According to a thorough analysis of the available clinical research on CBD and animal studies, it is safe and unlikely to have any negative effects on adults.
Typical side effects are:
- Fluctuations in weight
- Variations in appetite
CBD and drug interactions
More research is required to fully understand how CBD interacts with other medications because it is frequently used alongside other over-the-counter and prescription medications.
The side effects or effectiveness of another medicine may be enhanced or decreased by CBD use. So, before starting to take CBD, consult your doctor.
If you are taking drugs that have a "grapefruit caution," this is extremely critical. Both CBD and grapefruit interact with a particular enzyme necessary for drug metabolism.
Precautions when buying CBD products
It can be difficult to determine the contents of the cannabidiol products that are currently on the market. Only 30% of CBD products had accurate labels, according to a study that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in November 2017. Some products also contained unlisted chemicals like THC.
The study established that vaping juices were the most frequently mislabelled CBD products. Consumers are advised not to buy vaping products from unlicensed and illegal markets, according to experts. In 2019, the Associated Press conducted a brief investigation that revealed some CBD vapes contained synthetic marijuana.
Talking to your healthcare provider about CBD and diabetes
Before including CBD in a diabetes treatment regimen, experts advise individuals considering cannabidiol for diabetes to speak with their doctors about this complementary therapy. Even as professionals, they claim it is challenging to locate research on CBD and type 2 diabetes.
However, based on their experience, it's worthwhile for patients to discuss natural pain management options with their doctor. It is something that needs to be discussed, especially if they are feeling a lot of pain or any pain at all as a result of their diabetes. CBD is a viable substitute. You should bring up the potential side effects and how to manage them, drug interactions, and the ideal dosage during the conversation.
Are you eager to give CBD a try now that you are knowledgeable about its relationship to the treatment of diabetes? There is an ideal CBD product for you, whether your goal is to lessen symptoms or utilize it as a preventive strategy. You should exercise caution as you begin to use it in your therapy. Before deciding to use this complementary therapy, discuss your intentions with your doctor and any worries you may have.