There are thought to be more than 100 million American adults who are living with either type one or two diabetes. That’s about a third of the population. In addition to that, there are 84.1 million who are prediabetic, meaning that if they don’t take control of their condition, they will end up with type 2 diabetes within the next five years.
There’s no doubt that the degree to which diabetes exists in the United States is a major problem. Chances are you know someone – either a family member, friend, or acquaintance – that has been battling with diabetes or has just been diagnosed. Or perhaps you are the one suffering from the disease.
Researchers and doctors have been working hard to try and find an adequate cure for diabetes for years. Their hard work has led them to many possible solutions, and one of them getting a lot of attention lately is CBD. For a few years now, cannabidiol (CBD) has been researched as a possible treatment option for everything from mental health issues like depression and anxiety to migraine headaches and pain. So what is the connection between CBD and the prevention and treatment of diabetes? Let’s take a closer look.
Overview of Diabetes
Diabetes is the term used to define a range of diseases that involve the hormone insulin. Insulin is something that is produced by the pancreas, and it helps the body to store and use fat and sugar. When the pancreas doesn’t produce enough levels of insulin, or, in some cases, when the body doesn’t react properly to insulin, diabetes occurs.
Diabetes causes high blood glucose levels. Over a length of time, too much glucose in the blood can cause serious health complications, including damage to the eyes and kidneys. In addition, diabetes can cause heart disease, strokes, and in some cases, it may lead to loss of limbs.
Simply put, diabetes is a group of conditions in which the body cannot store and use glucose properly, and this results in high blood glucose concentrations. Glucose is a form of sugar, and it’s used to fuel the cells in our bodies. All of the carbohydrates that we eat get converted into glucose. However, if you suffer from diabetes, the body is unable to manage the glucose levels properly. As a result, the glucose gets backed up in the bloodstream and causes the blood glucose levels to rise too high. This high level of glucose can cause short and long-term health complications, such as the ones that we mentioned above.
There are three different kinds of diabetes; type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes.
- Type 1: An autoimmune condition, type 1 diabetes occurs when the immune system attacks the pancreas. The damage to the pancreas stops the production of insulin. Therefore you can treat type 1 diabetes by taking insulin.
- Type 2: This is the most common type of diabetes and occurs when the pancreas isn’t producing enough insulin or when the body has become resistant to insulin. This is a milder form of the disease and can be managed by exercise, diet, and insulin injections.
- Gestational: This type is triggered by pregnancy. It typically occurs in between 2% and 10% of pregnancies. In the majority of cases, gestational diabetes will cease as soon as the baby is born. However, 10% of women later develop type 2 diabetes. This condition can also be treated through exercise, diet, insulin injections, and weight management.
When it comes to type 1 diabetes, the symptoms are likely to appear very quickly, whereas type 2 will probably develop more slowly over time. But in both types of diabetes, the early symptoms can be very mild. Early warning signs include hunger, fatigue, thirst, dry mouth, itchy skin, blurred vision, and increased urination.
The good news is that CBD is developing a great reputation for its potential to treat diabetes. While it’s not considered to be a cure, it does have the potential to treat various symptoms and can be used as a prevention method. Read on to find out more.
How and Why CBD Could Help in the Treatment of Diabetes
CBD is a cannabinoid that interacts with cannabinoid receptors found in the body. The cannabinoid receptors form part of the human endocannabinoid system (ECS), which plays an important role in maintaining the body’s state of homeostasis. When CBD is introduced to the body, it interacts with these cannabinoid receptors.
Studies have found that CBD helps to reduce inflammation and regulate blood sugar levels. This could be extremely useful in the treatment of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Here are some of the ways that you can use CBD for diabetes.
One of the most significant ways that CBD can affect diabetes is by preventing the condition from occurring in the first place. People who are more at risk of being diagnosed with diabetes, specifically type 2 diabetes, usually have high fasting insulin levels and insulin resistance. In addition, they have lower levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.
Studies have found that patients who use cannabis, or more specifically CBD, have lower fasting insulin levels when compared to those who have never used cannabis before. In addition, these patients have higher levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and lower insulin resistance levels. From these findings, we can conclude that CBD could help in preventing diabetes in the following ways:
Treats Insulin Resistance
Insulin resistance occurs when the cells in the body reject insulin which is produced by the pancreas to regulate the blood sugar. When cells reject insulin, they can’t absorb sugar, which is needed for energy. This results in glucose build up in the bloodstream and leads to high blood sugar levels.
While researchers aren’t entirely sure how CBD works to treat insulin resistance, many believe that it’s due to the powerful anti-inflammatory benefits of the compound. Plenty of research has shown a connection between insulin resistance and chronic inflammation.
When inflammation is reduced, the cardiovascular system and immune system function better. A lack of inflammation can also help to improve cell growth and sugar metabolism. If all of these systems in the body are working as efficiently as possible, there’s a decreased chance of developing insulin resistance.
Some people who suffer from diabetes also experience nerve damage or neuropathy. It usually occurs in the hands or feet, but any organ can be affected. Studies have found that CBD is better at treating diabetic neuropathy than conventional medicine. Researchers believe that CBD has the potential to increase the level of nerve growth factor in the body, which can relieve pain and prevent neuropathy. CBD may also help to protect the liver from oxidative stress – which may contribute to the development of neuropathy.
Medical Findings: Effects of Cannabinoids and CBD on Diabetes
Researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem conducted a study led by Dr. Raphael Mechoulam (known for discovering CBD), and they observed the CBD receptors in other bodily tissues. They found that the therapeutic effects of CBD could be modified to fit different receptors. In other words, CBD reacts with cannabinoid receptors in the pancreas. Therefore various illnesses like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and atherosclerosis could be treated.
Another study was done on rats with infarcts (areas of dead tissue) which occur due to a failure of blood supply, and the findings were published in the Autoimmunity Journal. When the rats were pretreated with CBD, the infarcts found were 30% smaller. Essentially, the findings confirmed that CBD reduced the severity of diabetes in rats.
There has been both preliminary and advanced research that has been conducted on the effectiveness of CBD in the treatment of diabetes. Most of the results show that CBD is perfect for the management, treatment, and even prevention of diabetes.
Medical Benefits of Using CBD to Treat Diabetes
Research has looked into the effectiveness of CBD by taking two groups of people into account; those who use medication and those who don’t. Doctors and researchers argue that the human body contains CBD receptors in almost every part, but most strategically, in the pancreas. Furthermore, studies show that the CB1 receptors have links with insulin production, and can also help to treat medical conditions that are related to diabetes. Ultimately, CBD has many therapeutic benefits and can be used to stabilize sugar levels.
Also, research suggests that CBD increases the rate of metabolism, which ensures that calories are adequately burnt. In addition, CBD can be used to lower pain levels and ensure that there’s a proper flow of blood within the vessels in those who suffer from type 2 diabetes.
How to Take CBD for Diabetes
CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning that it won’t make the user high. There are various ways that you can take CBD for diabetes, the most common being tinctures. Tinctures can either be ingested or taken by placing a few drops under the tongue. Other common methods for diabetes are CBD edibles or CBD capsules.
CBD tinctures contain different concentrations of cannabinoids, which make it impossible to determine a universal dosage. Having said that, reliable CBD companies will always show the recommended dosage on the product label. Most physicians will recommend starting with a low dose, and gradually increasing it until your symptoms seem to disappear.
CBD oil takes time to affect the body, so you need to be patient. While some people may experience relief within a few days, it may take a week or longer for others.
The great thing about CBD capsules is that you don’t need to work out the dosage since each capsule contains a specified amount of CBD. The capsules are also ideal for anyone who doesn’t like the taste of tinctures and is looking for a convenient way of consuming CBD.
Final Thoughts on CBD for Diabetes
Diabetes is one of the most common diseases that exists in the world today. One of the greatest problems is that most people don’t notice that they have developed the condition until it’s in its late stages. In these cases, the effects are adverse. According to research, CBD does not only have the potential to prevent the disease, but it can also treat the disease, and other related conditions that may occur as a result.
Although research is still ongoing, studies show that CBD has more therapeutic benefits when compared to conventional medications, and it also doesn’t come with adverse side effects. CBD is revolutionary, and a breakthrough in the treatment of diabetes.