The first thing that came to mind when writing this article was “can a diabetic smoke marijuana?”.
By that, we don’t mean can, for obviously you can. Rather, is smoking cannabis a good idea for type 1 or 2 diabetics? At first, you might think that the immediate answer is no, especially as marijuana tends to bring on the munchies which aren’t good for diabetics. Upon further examination of recent studies, however, findings are painting an entirely different picture.
OK, before we get down to business and reveal to you the best marijuana strains that can assist with diabetes, let’s explain what diabetes is.
What Is Diabetes?
It was recently estimated that 29 million people in the United States have diabetes. Approximately 1.25 million children and adults have type 1 or type 2 diabetes. What’s astonishing is that on a global scale 415 million adults have diabetes, which is 1 in 11 adults and by 2040, it is expected that 642 million adults will have diabetes.
Diabetes is classed as a number of diseases that involve problems with the hormone; insulin.
Normally, when you eat, the pancreas, (an organ behind the stomach) releases insulin to the body to help store and use sugar from food. With those that have diabetes, the pancreas does not function properly and either produces very little insulin or none at all.
Why Is Insulin so Important?
You could say that insulin is the guardian of the body. Your body is made up of millions of cells all of which need energy to survive. That energy (sugar) is broken down from the food we consume. The scientific name of this guar is glucose. Once broken down, glucose is transferred through the bloodstream to different cells in your body where it provides energy to those cells. The distributor is insulin. Insulin, which is released by the pancreas, regulates the amount of glucose that’s transferred to each part of your body.
Types of Diabetes
Similar to most medical conditions, diabetes can be categorized into two types; type 1 and type 2.
Type 1: This is a situation where the pancreas cannot produce sufficient insulin as the immune system destroys the compound. People with type 1 produce no insulin and are therefore required to take insulin injections.
Type 2: Unlike type 1, type 2 diabetics can produce insulin, but it isn’t enough. This causes a lack of glucose in the body.
Both types need to be monitored at all times as untreated conditions can lead to complications such as blindness, chronic kidney failure, and other severe conditions.
Common Symptoms of Diabetes
- Increased Hunger
- Dry Mouth
- Frequent Urination
- Blurred vision
- Increased Thirst
- Itching of the skin (infection, itching, or blisters)
- Weight gain
Managing Diabetes Without Cannabis
There are quite a few ways that people manage diabetes, including meal planning, exercising regularly and taking prescribed medicine. The most crucial thing is to monitor blood sugar and blood pressure levels at all times. Oh, and of course, monitoring stress levels. Anxiety can raise your blood sugar, so it is important to relax as much as possible.
Medical Research on Cannabis and Diabetes
Unlike other medical conditions, quite a few studies have been conducted on the connection between cannabis and diabetes. Even though there is still quite a lot of conflicting evidence on marijuana’s role in delaying the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, current studies are showing that it is beneficial for those already diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
- In 2013, the results of a 5-year study were released showing that out of 4657 respondents, of which 2554 had used cannabis, those that had used marijuana had 16% lower fasting insulin levels as well as having 17% lower levels of insulin resistance and higher levels of HDL-C.
- This same 2013 study showed that cannabis compounds may help control blood sugar. Smoking participants also had higher levels of good cholesterol and smaller waistlines. The most significant finding was that marijuana users appeared to have better carbohydrate metabolism than nonusers. Their fasting insulin levels were much lower, and the participants appeared to be less resistant to the natural insulin produced by their body to maintain a healthy blood sugar level.
- In 2007, scientists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, released findings showing that the anti-inflammatory properties of cannabidiol (CBD) could be used to help treat different illnesses including type 2 diabetes.
Why Is Marijuana Thought to Be an Effective Treatment?
According to NORML, “Endocannabinoids and their receptors are found throughout the body. In each tissue, the cannabinoid system performs different tasks, but the goal is always the same: homeostasis, the maintenance of a stable internal environment despite fluctuations in the external environment. Cannabinoids promote homeostasis at every level of biological life, from the sub-cellular to the organism, and perhaps to the community and beyond.”
With that being said, small regular doses of cannabis might act as a tonic to our most central physiologic healing system.
Which Marijuana Strains Could Be Best for Diabetes?
Now that we understand that marijuana is assumed to have a positive effect on people with diabetes, does this mean that you should head out to your local pot dealer and smoke weed day and night? Heavens no!
Similar to any condition, it is important to understand the side effects of each marijuana strain and determine over time which strains work best for you.
Furthermore, dosing is a major factor when it comes to managing different medical conditions. It is always best to schedule an appointment with a marijuana doctor to receive a consultation before any cannabis intake. This is because one of the major risk factors of marijuana use with diabetes is hypoglycemia, a situation where marijuana causes your blood glucose (sugar) levels to drop too low.
5 Best Marijuana Strains for Diabetes
It is also important to understand that while specific marijuana strains may not have an effect on diabetes, marijuana may help reduce your blood glucose levels and help you feel better or reduce stress and other conditions that could spark your diabetes.
#1 – Harlequin: the CBD-Fueled Cannabis Strain
Harlequin seems to be an excellent choice for diabetes patients because of its high CBD and low THC content (5 to 2 ratio). Regardless of its 75% sativa genetic makeup, this cannabis strain provides feelings of relaxation without gluing you to the couch or leaving you feeling intoxicated. This high CBD cannabis strain will not produce a heavily psychoactive high and can possibly help prevent your diabetes from getting out of hand. It is the perfect relaxation option and is ideal for dealing with stress, while still achieving mental clarity and motivation.
#2 – Green Crack: the Best DayTIME Cannabis Strain
If you need to stay focused but want a strain that delivers the goods, then this herb of pure greatness will do the trick. Green Crack is reportedly well known for treating fatigue and depression, as well as assist those who have diabetes due to its happy and energetic effects.
#3 – Blue Dream: the All-Purpose Cannabis Strain
Go into any dispensary, with any condition, and you’ll immediately get recommended the Blue Dream Marijuana Strain – and there is a reason for that. Blue Dream is the most widely used cannabis strain and is a preferred choice for people who have diabetes. This marijuana strain is a sativa-dominant hybrid, and it is ideal for lowering stress levels. It is also known for helping with depression and headaches, conditions often associated with diabetes.
#4- Doug’s Varin: the Cannabis Strain That is Said to Improve Fasting Insulin Levels and Reduce Blood Glucose
While this cannabis strain is tough to find, it is said to be very effective in treating diabetes due to its high levels of THCV. In a study of 62 diabetic patients, scientists found that THCV treatment successfully improved fasting insulin levels and reduced blood glucose.
Doug’s Varin contains both THCV and THC, and the combination is perfect for achieving a high that is medicinal and satisfying.
#5 – Cannatonic: the Ultimate Medical Cannabis Strain
We couldn’t compile a list of medical marijuana strains without adding Cannatonic. This cannabis strain is extremely popular for its healing properties, due to its high quantity of CBD at 6-17%. This cannabis strain rarely presents more than 6% THC, which makes an ideal fit for those who prefer not to experience a lot of psychoactive effects while after consuming marijuana. This hybrid cannabis strain is used to assist a variety of medical patients including those who suffer from diabetes, anxiety, chronic pain, and muscle spasms.
Final Thoughts About Marijuana and Diabetes
As we mentioned a few times throughout this article, marijuana consumption can be quite dangerous if not consumed responsibly, especially if you suffer from a condition that can be influenced by weed. While some findings are concluding that cannabis can be used as a treatment for diabetes, it is still best to consult with your doctor. We are not experts and are not offering any type of medical advice.
Have any experience with marijuana and diabetes? Please share what works for you on our Facebook post or in the comments below.