Diabetes is the name used to refer to a cluster of metabolic disorders characterized by the prolonged presence of high glucose levels in the blood. There are about 400 million people that are affected by diabetes worldwide, and year after year, its prevalence continues to rise. Various treatments for diabetes are available. Recently, significant evidence was found suggesting that (Cannabidiol) CBD might have positive effects on diabetes.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes or diabetes mellitus is a group of diseases targeting the metabolic processes and characterized by high blood glucose levels. The two most common forms of diabetes is the Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. In both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, the elevated blood glucose levels soon lead to metabolic and non-metabolic complications.
Type 1 Diabetes
This type of diabetes is often diagnosed in individuals aged below 30. It often involves an autoimmune attack on the pancreas’s islet cells. These are the cells in the body that produces insulin. There are about 10% of diabetics suffering from Type 1 diabetes worldwide.
Type 2 Diabetes
The Type 2 diabetes is more common compared to Type 1 diabetes. This type of diabetes mostly affects individuals who are aged over 40 and those who are obese. Type 2 diabetes is mostly the result of insulin resistance combined with defective insulin production.
CBD for Diabetes: Treatment for Disease and Symptoms
In recent years, numerous cannabis researches are being conducted so as to find its said health benefits. In all these researches, it has been said that cannabis has many significant effects in treating various diseases including diabetes. There are millions of people that are affected by diabetes across the world.
With researches and studies conducted saying that cannabis has significant positive effect in treatment and control of the disease, it is truly an interesting subject. Well then, what are these said positive effects of CBD for diabetes? How does Cannabidiol help patients suffering from the different symptoms of diabetes?
Studies carried out on mice have shown that the incidence of diabetes in non-CBD-treated mice was significantly reduced from 83% to 30% when treated with CBD. Treatment with CBD also shows a significant reduction in plasma levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines (IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha.)
The production of Th1-associated cytokine from in-vitro activated T cells and peritoneal macrophages was also significantly reduced in the mice treated with CBD. While the production of IL-4 and IL-10 (Th2-associated cytokines) was increased compared to mice not treated with CBD.
The histological examination of CBD-treated mice on the pancreas showed significantly reduced insulitis.
Diabetes is connected with high levels of fasting insulin, insulin resistance and low levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C). In the past year, a study on cannabis’s effects on fasting insulin and insulin resistance shows that cannabis users have lower fasting insulin levels.
This is compared to those that have never used cannabis before. In addition, those who have used cannabis long before but are no longer current users have similar but less pronounced low level fasting insulin. This indicates that the cannabis’ protective effect fades after some time.
Excluding diabetics, researches still found that current cannabis users have reduced levels of insulin resistance and fasting insulin. This shows that cannabis not only helps in controlling the symptoms of diagnosed diabetics but also in preventing its occurrence in the first place.
Diabetes is connected with high levels of the fasting insulin, insulin resistance and low levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C). In the past year, a study on cannabis’s effects on fasting insulin and insulin resistance shows that cannabis users have lower fasting insulin levels.
This is compared to those that have never used cannabis before. In addition, those who have used cannabis long before but is not current users have similar but less pronounced low level fasting insulin. This indicates that the cannabis’ protective effect fades after some time.
Excluding diabetics, researches still found that current cannabis users have reduced levels of insulin resistance and fasting insulin. This shows that not only cannabis helps in controlling the symptoms of diagnosed diabetics but also in preventing its occurrence in the first place.
When cells start to reject the body’s normal mechanism known as insulin, it is a condition called insulin resistance or IR.
Insulin is a hormone produced by pancreas and is essential in regulating glucose metabolism.
Insulin resistance is linked with Type 2 diabetes where the insulin production is not affected and so the cells cannot process it.
With the cells becoming resistant to insulin, they become unable to absorb glucose which is needed in supplying the body with energy. When the unused glucose in the bloodstream builds up, this eventually leads to development of hyperglycemia. In the recent studies conducted on CBD for diabetes, it has been found that cannabis users have blood glucose in significantly low levels compared to cannabidiol non users.
As a result of the disease, patients often experience nerve disorders.
The nerve damage induced by diabetes often affects the extremities such as hands and feet.
But they may also affect any other organ in any region of the body.
Diabetes’s nerve damage can be symptomless but in most cases, there is pain, numbness and tingling accompanying it.
Treating diabetic neuropathy with conventional analgesics can be difficult. However, evidences were found that cannabis might also help in the treatment of diabetes-induced nerve damage. Cannabidiol extracts comes with pain-reducing effects and this was shown to have a pronounced effect in neuropathy induced by diabetes.
In the study conducted concerning CBD for diabetes and neuropathy, it seems like repeated administration has positive effect on mechanical allodynia and was also found to restore normal pain perception. CBD was found to have positive effects on nerve pain, protecting the liver from oxidative stress and restoring nerve growth factor back to normal levels.
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Weight gain and obesity are both connected to diabetes risks. As obesity is associated with diabetes, many studies on cannabis’s effects on weight gain have been conducted. But these studies all have conflicting results that have made it difficult to establish how cannabis can help with diabetes in relation to weight gain.
However, a recent study shows that after being exposed to organic cannabis extract, obese rats lost weight significantly as well as gained an increase in pancreas’ weight. This shows that the presence of cannabinoids protect the beta cells of pancreas. This may help in controlling the disease as an autoimmune response destroys beta cells in type 1 diabetes.
Majority of diabetics acquire diabetic retinopathy after a long time of struggling with the disease. Diabetic retinopathy (DRP) is a complication wherein the cells of the retina become progressively damaged over time. The complication is related with breakdown of the blood-retinal barrier in the eyes preventing substances in the blood to enter the retinal tissue.
The breakdown of the retinal barrier is induced by glucose and is the cause for the neural tissue becoming exposed to neurotoxins. In addition, the blood-retinal barrier’s breakdown increases the chance of retinal bleeding. There is evidence found that cannabidiol can help in diabetes retinopathy as it is capable of combating inflammation and oxidative stress.
Both of these play a role in retinal cells’ breakdown. In the studies conducted on the relationship of diabetic retinopathy and cannabis, the results were quite positive in showing that cannabis is capable of significantly reducing neurotoxicity as well as oxidative stress. With that, the death of retinal cells as well as blood-retinal barrier’s breakdown can very well be prevented.