CBD has taken the world by storm in recent years and, with diabetes rates on the rise, patients have naturally begun to wonder if CBD can be a useful treatment. Read on to learn how CBD affects diabetes and how it could help you to live happily and healthily with this condition.
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Table of Contents
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease in which the body has difficulty controlling the level of sugar, or glucose, in the blood. Glucose is a vital fuel used by our cells and, in diabetics, cells are not able to absorb this fuel properly. Diabetes has two main subtypes.
In type 1 diabetes, the diabetic’s pancreas either produces too little or is completely unable to produce the hormone insulin. This usually happens when the patient’s own immune system destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. These cells, known as β (beta) cells, are located in pancreatic structures called “islets of Langerhans”.
In type 2 diabetes, cells in the patient’s body become resistant to insulin. The condition may also involve a reduced production of insulin by the pancreas.
In both subtypes, the outcome is increased levels of glucose in the blood, known as high blood sugar. High blood sugar may cause a number of symptoms, such as weight loss, fatigue, increased thirst and hunger, and excessive urination.
High blood sugar can be very damaging to the body in the long term and can result in life-threatening complications like heart problems, nerve damage, blindness, and kidney disease.
Treatment depends on the which type of diabetes you have and may involve lifestyle and dietary changes, anti-diabetic drugs, and injections of insulin. The goal of treatment is to stabilize blood sugar levels and to permit the body’s cells to properly utilize glucose.
Research Behind CBD for Diabetes
Research into CBD and diabetes CBD has shown some great results in preliminary studies. One study found that CBD was able to slow the progress of diabetes type 1 in mice by working to control inflammation which is part of the process of destruction of the islets of Langerhans, which contain the all-important beta-cells.
While the results in mice are encouraging, it’s important to manage expectations. Preliminary studies in animals like these can point scientists in the right direction, but they shouldn’t be used as proof that a treatment is a cure-all.
While more research would help scientists understand better how CBD can help people with diabetes, the results so far are hopeful.
One study of CBD in people with diabetes found that CBD boosted the levels of a hormone linked to the proper release of insulin, and reduced the levels of another hormone which has been linked to the onset of type 2 diabetes. But, crucially, CBD didn’t noticeably alter the levels of blood glucose.
Another, which looked into the prevalence of diabetes in cannabis users -v- non-cannabis smokers, found that diabetes was significantly less common in cannabis users as compared with non users.
So, while more research needs to be done, the results so far are promising... just don’t throw away your diabetes meds yet.
Ways that CBD Can Help Diabetics
Many patients have reported shedding their excess pounds with the help of CBD. One of the major risk factors for type 2 diabetes is obesity, and CBD has been linked to decreased appetite and reduced weight gain.
By eating better and losing weight, some people with type 2 diabetes have been able to stop taking their medication, or even reverse the course of the disease.
CBD for diabetic neuropathy
One of the most uncomfortable complications of diabetes is known as diabetic neuropathy. Patients report painful burning sensations, numbness, and tingling starting in the feet and moving up into the legs, hands, and arms.
A 2014 study of a mouth spray containing CBD and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the main active ingredient of cannabis) found that over half of patients reported reductions in their neuropathic pain, with this effect increasing over time. The conclusions are supported by animal studies, which have found that CBD effectively relieves neuropathic pain in mice.
Given CBDs ability excellent safety record, it could be a useful addition to pain control for diabetics suffering from neuropathy.
One of the most difficult parts about a diagnosis of diabetes is realizing the long-term toll it can take on your body. In experimental models, CBD has shown promise in mitigating some of the harmful effects of prolonged high blood sugar on the heart and eyes.
Another challenging complication of diabetes can be uncomfortable or unsightly skin conditions. CBD and other cannabinoids found in full-spectrum hemp topicals may effectively reduce inflammation when applied topically.
Best CBD for Diabetes
Which type of CBD is best for you will depend on which type of diabetes you have and what you’re hoping to gain from supplementing CBD.
If you’re looking for a full-body, internal effect and you want to avoid the high associated with cannabis, you should choose a CBD product which is low in THC and designed to be swallowed or taken under the tongue, like full-spectrum hemp oil, CBD capsules, or CBD edibles.
However, those seeking local relief from inflammation might benefit from a topical CBD product designed to sooth the skin and relieve pain and itching.
For serious conditions like diabetes, it’s important to make sure that CBD doesn’t interact with any of your existing medications. If you have any doubts whatsoever, make sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist.
Dosages will vary from person to person, but any good CBD supplement or product will include a dosing guide. Some patients with mild pain have found relief from as little as 10mg of CBD twice per day. However, everybody is different so you might need to experiment to find what works for you. If you’re in any way unsure, you should speak with a medical professional experienced in working with CBD.
If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes or insulin resistance, it’s definitely worth investigating whether CBD could help with your condition. CBD isn’t going to cure your diabetes, but it could help you enjoy life with the condition and overcome some of the challenging complications which you might experience.
As with any supplement, if you’re unsure, you should always check in with your doctor about whether CBD is right for you. If you have any questions about CBD, or would like to share your experience of treating diabetes with CBD, please leave a comment below!
Will is the editor here at CBD Oil Geek. He is passionate about CBD and other natural alternatives to dangerous prescription medicines. He lives with his wife in Brooklyn, New York.