Can CBD Help with Diabetes? What Research Tells Us

CBD and diabetes is an ongoing topic of research. It’s estimated that diabetes affects as many as 9.3% of adults aged between 20-79 worldwide. There are two types of this disorder, type 1 and type 2. That’s a staggering number of people impacted by a disease that can cause serious health problems. In some cases, it can even be fatal.

This chronic condition causes the body to either resist processing the hormone insulin or produce it in insufficient amounts. The pancreas produces insulin to help store and process the sugar that supplies cells with energy, glucose. The question we’re asking is does cannabidiol (CBD) have the potential to help treat diabetes?

CBD is having its moment. The potential health uses for this cannabinoid have gripped the collective imagination. It is now widely known that this particular extract from the cannabis plant does not get you ‘high’ or ‘stoned’ like its psychoactive relative from the same plant, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In fact, it’s important to distinguish that CBD is extracted from the cannabis variant hemp and THC is found in the marijuana strain of cannabis.

As a health supplement, both studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that this extract can have a really positive impact on your health. It’s widely thought to have both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The compound is often used to help alleviate the symptoms of stress, improve sleep health and maybe even treat pain.

An animal study from the European Journal of Pain indicated that CBD applied topically to joint areas could help reduce the pain and inflammation of arthritis. Other studies have also shown positive signs in the treatment of inflammatory and neuropathic pain with CBD. Further studies need to be conducted. Human test subjects are vital to corroborate the efficacy of CBD in pain treatment.

Can CBD Help Diabetes—Closer Look at Research

There are many people who believe CBD can be helpful as a part of a treatment plan for some chronic conditions and diseases like diabetes, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. While studies and much of the research into the efficacy of CBD in treating these conditions is still ongoing, there is some promising news for epilepsy sufferers.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently approved the first-ever CBD-based medication for the treatment of epilepsy, Epidiolex. Numerous studies indicated that CBD had an impact on reducing seizures or else preventing them altogether. The prospect that this compound might potentially offer some relief to those who suffer from chronic conditions is wonderful. However, it must be stressed that at this time we are only discussing possibilities.

There are some CBD brands that make inaccurate claims and promises about what CBD treats. Many of these claims are unproven. These are often based on positive results yielded by certain studies. However, for something to be definitively proven as a medication, there must be many, large-scale studies conducted on human subjects.

Research and studies can show positive indicators. However, these benefits or hypotheses have to be tested in many ways. Numerous studies must corroborate and support these findings. Then and only then will they be considered proven in the eyes of the scientific community. This is particularly true for diabetes sufferers who hope that CBD might be beneficial for managing their condition.

You may have even encountered these claims about using CBD to treat diabetes. However, research is still ongoing to see if CBD can help maintain blood sugar, soothe inflammation, and ease the nerve pain caused by diabetes. Let’s take a look at some of the research into CBD and diabetes and see what it suggests.

The Current Research on CBD to help Diabetes Symptoms

Currently, most of the studies conducted on CBD and diabetes used animal test subjects. Usually mice or rats. It’s important to first note the difference between real life and laboratory conditions and of course the biological differences between the human endocannabinoid system and that of rodents.

Although CBD has seemed to work well on these subjects, these results might not translate to humans. One study, reduced blood flow to the brain on their rodent subjects when they tested cannabidiol on them. This was to mimic the effects diabetes can sometimes have on the human body. This particular study showed that CBD could:

  • Cut blood sugar levels
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Increase insulin production

Other rodent based studies showed promise for CBD in easing the swelling and pain caused by diabetic nerve damage. It indicated that CBD could ease chronic inflammation and neuropathic pain in mice. Some research found that it could lower diabetes risk by promoting good fat and helping turn bad fat into good fat which boosts people’s ability to process glucose.

Diabetes and THC

People have also studied the impact of the other significant cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). A study that showed that CBD didn’t have much of an impact on blood sugar and lipid levels showed that THC did. However, CBD was found to lower insulin resistance as well as promote healthy gut hormones.

How Does CBD Help with Diabetes?

There are two different types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2. Different things cause type 1 and type 2.  The treatment of them is also different. Type 1 is an auto-immune disease. People whit this type produce no insulin. Type 2 causes resistance to insulin. Both are chronic conditions, but they cause an intersecting problem, a body cannot regulate or process glucose or blood sugar.

Glucose is the sugar that feeds your body’s cells. Insulin regulates the glucose feeding your cells. When you consume food, the pancreas must produce insulin. This processes the glucose from food. Insulin allows it to enter a person’s cells. Then it converts into energy.

Most cases of diabetes are type 2 which tends to develop later in life. This makes cells no longer able to respond to insulin or become insulin resistant. In the studies that have been conducted, CBD has shown promise in helping these diabetic related symptoms.

Inflammation

The over-circulation of glucose in the body can cause a person’s inflammation levels to rise. Cannabidiol is under investigation as an anti-inflammatory for several years. A study from the European Journal of Pain, of chronic pain to treat. Hopefully, in the next few years, more studies will prove CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties.

In another study specific to the effects of too much glucose on inflammation, CBD showed some positive indicators in treating inflammation. The same research suggested it could also offset the damage diabetes caused to blood vessel walls.

Pain

There can be a lot of pain and swelling of the hands and feet associated with type 2 diabetes especially. A 2017 rodent-based study seemed to suggest that CBD reduced osteoarthritis inflammation and nerve pain in the subjects. Another study relating to neuropathic pain was published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine. This indicated that CBD may be able to suppress nerve ending pain in rodents also.

CBD and Diabetes Prevention.

As they say, prevention is better than cure. Even if CBD is not found to have any discernibly positive effects on the symptoms of diabetes, if it could prevent the condition from emerging, it would be incredibly positive. There can often be very telling indicators that an individual will develop diabetes long before it happens.

With lifestyle changes and careful monitoring, diabetes can be prevented. If CBD could act as a health supplement that prevents diabetes it would be a serious boon for people at risk of diabetes. The journal Autoimmunity published a study that found that the risk of non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice in developing diabetes was substantially lowered if treated with CBD.

Is CBD Good for Diabetes?

So, as we can see the indications thus far in research conducted on animal test subjects is certainly positive. There are definitely possibilities for CBD to help in the treatment of diabetes or even prevent it from occurring in the first place. This might be the reason that so many claims exist that purport the benefits of CBD for certain chronic conditions. There is so much promise and hope for the potential of this compound.

However, it’s important to outline that at this point in time this is only potential. Certainly, CBD is widely considered to be an antioxidant. This is a very beneficial compound for people’s health.

Additionally, it’s also thought to be an anti-inflammatory. This is particularly pertinent to the symptoms of diabetes. The over-circulation of glucose in the body, without proper resources to process it, is a huge source of inflammation. This inflammation can in turn be the cause of pain, swelling and other contributing symptoms.

How Much CBD Oil Should you Take For Diabetes?

That question can’t be answered conclusively as CBD hasn’t been designated a medication for diabetes. It also depends whether you’re considering taking it as part of a diabetic treatment plan or as a health supplement to perhaps prevent diabetes from occurring.

More and more people are using CBD as a health supplement in the hopes it can help various things and just improve overall health. It’s becoming just as common as vitamins and zinc supplements.

One important thing to consider is if you are taking other medication prescribed by a doctor. You would need to let them know if you’re considering adding CBD to your treatment plan. CBD can interact with certain medications and you really need to consider this. For the most part, CBD does interact positively with other medications, just not all of them.

Conclusion

The very fact that such a huge number of studies are beginning to be carried out is a huge indicator of CBD's potential. It's important to remember that scientific research tests for very specific hypotheses. So, within a chronic condition like diabetes, a given study may only test how it reacts with inflammation caused by the condition. Not, the overall impact of the cannabinoid on the condition. A compound is only considered well-studied if it is assessed with every function and aspect of a disease.

Frequently Asked Questions

There's so much to unpack when we discuss medical research and what studies. As always it's important to make the distinction between what's a proven fact and what's a possibility.

Let's summarise some of the main questions posed by this piece. There are Frequently Asked Questions below that cover the main points.

Does CBD Treat Diabetes?

Not currently, no. Some people believe it helps the condition and there is ongoing research to try to prove its effectiveness as a treatment. More research still needs to be done.

Does CBD Prevent Diabetes?

This is still unproven as of yet. However, many people use CBD as a beneficial health supplement. It can improve your health in lots of ways. research is still ongoing to see if it prevents diabetes from presenting.


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