There is a lot of inaccurate information regarding CBD, diabetes, and related symptoms. For instance, while CBD may boast many potential benefits, it cannot cure or treat any disease – including diabetes.
To date, there have been no advanced clinical trials on the effects of CBD for diabetes. There has been a limited amount of research done, but most of this has been carried out on mice in controlled laboratory settings; far from the rigorous clinical conditions that doctors need to establish a compound as a viable medicine.
There is no definitive evidence that CBD can cure diabetes. Ongoing research does, however, point to promising potential benefits.
In short, there is no definitive evidence that CBD can cure diabetes. However, results from several animal studies have shown it may be able to decrease the disease’s symptoms through an immunomodulatory mechanism. Research also suggests that CBD’s various properties may be able to help with secondary symptoms of diabetes, and that it could even help decrease the overall prevalence of the condition.
This article will delve into CBD, diabetes, and low blood sugar symptoms. It will also explore how various types of cannabis extract may play a crucial role by offering a safe, inexpensive, side-effect-free way of mitigating disease symptoms.
CBD & Diabetes: What You Need to Know
Diabetes is a disease wherein the body has trouble regulating sugar (glucose) in the bloodstream. In healthy individuals, the pancreas produces a hormone called insulin. This compound works to transport glucose molecules across cell membranes and into cells for energy production.
People with diabetes have either the type 1 or type 2 form of the disease. In type 1, the body is unable to produce insulin. In type 2, the body’s tissues become less sensitive to the effects of insulin. In both cases, high glucose levels can cause an array of long-term side effects and severe, life-threatening conditions.
In discussing CBD oil for diabetes, there are two significant considerations. These considerations determine the degree of viability that the drug may have on the increasingly prevalent disease.
Primary Considerations When Using CBD Oil for Diabetes
When considering the potential impact of cannabidiol on diabetes and diabetes symptom management, the two main questions that arise are:
- In what ways (if any), does CBD work to improve insulin production or its function?
- In what ways might CBD work to alleviate the spectrum of side effects caused by irregular blood sugar levels?
Recent research publications have sought to address both of these questions directly. However, investigative studies have not made any concrete conclusions regarding CBD’s efficacy. That being said, they are shedding some light on how individuals may potentially use CBD oil for diabetes.
Before we continue, let’s briefly discuss what diabetes is, and what some of its main physiological implications are on the body.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease wherein the body cannot correctly transfer the glucose from food into energy sources for cells. This is due to how the body makes or responds to the hormone, insulin. The result is high blood sugar levels.
People with type 1 diabetes make up about 5–10% of the diabetic population. Those with type 1 diabetes cannot produce insulin. Insulin is a critical hormone that transfers glucose (sugar) molecules from the bloodstream into cells. This is generally due to an autoimmune attack on the pancreas – the organ responsible for producing insulin. Type 1 diabetes usually arises in children or young adults but can occur in older adults as well. It is hypothesized that a viral infection triggers the autoimmune condition in genetically susceptible people.
People with type 2 diabetes can still produce insulin, but the body does not adequately respond to it. This leads to an inability to control blood glucose.
Also, type 2 diabetes is a far more prevalent form of the disease; research suggests it affects over 400 million people worldwide. This number is between 90 and 95% of the total diabetic population.
Additionally, far more risk factors are associated with type 2 diabetes than there are with type 1. Several of the most prominent of these factors include:
Type 2 Diabetes Risk Factors:
- Weight (obesity increases the risk significantly)
- Family history and genetics
- Ethnicity (African-Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans are especially susceptible, though the reason is unclear)
- Age (people over 45 are far more likely to develop diabetes)
Conventional Treatment Methods for Diabetes (CBD Not Included)
In both forms of diabetes, the body’s cells do not properly absorb the glucose the patient consumes. This results in it building up to dangerously high levels in the bloodstream. Both forms of diabetes cause severe, potentially life-threatening symptoms that we most often associate with the disease. Some of these symptoms include:
- Heart and blood vessel disease
- Nerve damage
- Kidney disease
- Vision problems
In short, there aren’t many areas of the body that the physiological effects of diabetes do not impact. And both types of diabetes are associated with a decreased life expectancy.
Fortunately, people with diabetes can mitigate damage with conventional medications and other lifestyle changes.
Diabetes Treatment Options
Since they can’t produce it on their own, people with type 1 diabetes must take insulin. This insulin comes either in the form of self-administered shots or in the form of a pump. The pump automatically monitors blood glucose and injects the hormone as needed.
While these forms of treatment are state of the art, they are not 100% effective. People with diabetes, even when they are most careful, may find it difficult to avoid the dangerous consequences of varying glucose levels. Even state-of-the-art diabetes treatments are not 100% effective in maintaining healthy blood glucose.
Even state-of-the-art diabetes treatments are not 100% effective in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.
Not to mention, without a top of the line health insurance plan, treatments like insulin pumps are far too expensive to consider. Most have to take blood from their finger to monitor sugar levels and self-administer insulin shots through hypodermic needles.
In type 2 diabetes, some individuals will most likely need a pharmaceutical drug like Metformin or Avandia. These drugs aid in properly regulating glucose. There are many different types of drugs that can be used for type 2 diabetes. Some people with type 2 diabetes may also need to use insulin.
However, prescription meds may produce a range of side effects. They also incur a cumbersome monthly medical bill.
This is why many people with diabetes have been more than willing to try compounds like CBD oil in recent years. Even if CBD can reduce just a few of the side effects of diabetes, it’s generally more than worth it.
Not to mention, the general improvement in the quality of life for some people with diabetes that have added CBD to their regimen has been significant.
CBD Oil for Diabetes: What the Research Has Shown
In the world of medicine, anecdotal evidence can only go so far. Most physicians do not recommend CBD because they cannot concretely address the physiological reasons why it’s beneficial. This article does not endorse the use of CBD oil in place of any medications prescribed by a healthcare professional.
That said, along with its potential to help with nervous disorders symptoms, researchers have begun studying CBD for diabetes. The results have been promising.
Studies on CBD and Diabetes
Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, a research scientist from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, points out that naturally-occurring CBD receptors occur throughout the human body – from the brain and nervous tissues to organs, endocrine glands, and immune cells.
One of the organs where he’s found the receptors to be highly prevalent is in the pancreas.
CBD receptors occur throughout the human body, including the islet cells of the pancreas – the site of insulin production.
Researchers have found endocannabinoid receptors (namely CB-1 receptors) specifically in the organ’s islet cells – the exact location where insulin is produced. Despite these studies, researchers cannot state that endocannabinoid receptors are directly responsible for insulin production. They also cannot report that CBD is a cure for diabetes. While the receptors may play a role in the pancreas, experts need to do more research.
However, preliminary studies on CBD for diabetes in mice have been so promising that they have led to calls for increased funding and collaboration on continued research.
Can CBD Help Treat Underlying Symptoms of Diabetes?
Nerve damage is another condition commonly caused by diabetes. In many instances, people with diabetes will have limited sensation in their lower extremities. This is due to nerve damage, which can lead to people with diabetes being unaware of injuries due to lack of feeling, which leads to an increased risk of infection.
Researchers looking into CBD and how it may mitigate symptoms of diabetes have made a few important discoveries. First, CBD may function as a neuroprotectant. Whether this plays any role in the nerve damage caused by diabetes is unknown.
It is possible that the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of CBD could play a role in the management of diabetes and diabetic complications. However, much more research needs to be done.
Lastly, on a side note, it’s important to point out that CBD oil has no intoxicating effects. Unlike whole-plant marijuana, it contains hardly any THC, the cannabinoid responsible for the mind-altering effects of the drug.
Final Thoughts on CBD, Diabetes, and Future Treatment Options
CBD oil does not guarantee relief for all people with diabetes. Some patients have found it to have therapeutic benefits, while it may not have the same effect for others.
As is always the case, it’s essential to do plenty of research. Also, if possible, be sure to speak with a doctor or health professional about the use of CBD products for you and your specific condition. CBD boasts a range of safe, reliable therapeutic benefits, and a quality CBD oil may have the power to make a tremendous positive impact on your well-being and general quality of life.
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