Can Cannabis Improve Blood Sugars in Type 2 Diabetes?

Diabetes affects about 400 million people around the world. It leads to five million deaths every year, and the prevalence keeps rising. Some evidence suggests that cannabis can treat and prevent diabetes.


Diabetes develops due to insulin resistance and fasting high insulin levels. It can also develop due to low levels of HDL cholesterol. Research conducted in 2013 focused on the effects of cannabis on insulin resistance and fasting insulin. The study was conducted for five years.

The study involved 4,657 participants, and 2,554 participants had used cannabis at one point in their life. Out of the 2,554 participants who had used cannabis, 1,975 stopped using it while 579 still used it. 2,103 participants had never used cannabis.

The study found that those who were still using cannabis had 16% lower levels of fasting insulin than those who had never tried cannabis. They also had 17% lower insulin resistance, and HDL cholesterol was high. Those who had stopped using cannabis showed same associations though less pronounced. This indicates that the protective effect of the drug fades as time goes by.

The researchers also analyzed data without those people diagnosed with diabetes. After excluding diabetes, current users showed low insulin resistance and fasting insulin. This means that cannabis can prevent someone from developing diabetes.

Lower insulin resistance

This condition involves cell rejecting the usual insulin mechanism. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas. It plays a significant role in controlling glucose metabolism.

Insulin is produced in type 2 diabetes, but cells cannot process it. When the cells don’t absorb glucose, it is said to have become insulin-resistant. The unused glucose will start to build up in your bloodstream which leads to hyperglycemia.

Researchers of the 2013 study found that those who still used cannabis had insulin resistance of about 1.8. The past users had 2.2 and those who had never tried cannabis had 2.5 insulin resistance.

Current users also had lower blood glucose levels. They had a blood sugar of about 99.7 mg/dL. The past users had about 100.6 mg/dL and non-users had 103.5 mg/dL.

Prevention of obesity

Diabetes risk factors include obesity, large waist circumference, and high BMI. There have been studies on the effects of cannabis on BMI. Researchers found conflicting results. For example, research conducted in 2005 on young adults showed that cannabis didn’t affect the BMI. However, two large surveys found that there was a reduction in obesity levels and lower BMI in people who use cannabis even when they consumed more calories per day.

The 2013 study showed that cannabis affected the waist circumferences. There was a reduction in waist circumference in current users.

May treat neuropathy induced by diabetes

People with diabetes usually experience nerve disorders as a result of diabetes. Damages in the nerves affect peripheries like feet and hands. However, it might occur in any part of the body.

Sometimes, the damage doesn’t show any symptoms, but usually, the symptoms may include numbness, tingling, and pain. The conventional analgesic may not treat diabetic neuropathy, but research has shown that cannabis can be useful.

May help in treating diabetic retinopathy

About 80% of people with diabetes who have had the condition for more than ten years develop a disease called diabetic retinopathy. In this condition, the retina cells are damaged progressively.

Diabetic retinopathy is associated with the breakdown of the blood-retinal barrier which is induced by glucose. The breakdown leads to the neural tissue being exposed to neurotoxins. It also increases the chances of retinal bleeding.

Most people think that oxidative stress processes and pro-inflammatory immune response play a crucial role in the retina cells break down. There is evidence that cannabidiol may be helpful in treating the disorder.

A study conducted in 2006 which involved diabetic rats were given CBD, and the researchers tested for the rate of death of the retinal cell. The study found that the CBD reduced neurotoxicity and oxidative stress significantly. It also reduced the tumor necrosis factor-a levels. This is a substance that is associated with inflammatory response. Since these studies have been conducted, concentrations of CBD have been made available for use. There is CBD oil for sale which offers many health benefits that can be used to prevent diabetes.