As I was looking for Natural Remedies for Diabetes I couldn’t get past the Hemp oil and it’s abundant CBD (cannabidiol) content.
Sections of Scientists talking about Natural Remedies for Diabetes and CBD as being their number 1 choice:
But first… What is Diabetes?
Diabetes mellitus is a group of metabolic diseases characterized by high blood glucose levels. The two most common forms of diabetes are known as Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes:
- Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in individuals under the age of 30 and involves an autoimmune attack on islet cells of the pancreas – cells that produce insulin. Approximately 10% of diabetics suffer from Type 1 diabetes.
- Type 2 diabetes is far more common and tends to affect individuals that are obese and over the age of 40. It is usually a result of a combination of defective insulin production and insulin resistance.
In both types of diabetes, high blood sugar levels eventually lead to a variety of other metabolic and non-metabolic complications.
The Role of Endocannabinoids
Endocannabinoids are natural compounds found within all humans that happen to act in a similar way as plant-derived cannabinoids such as THC. Along with cannabinoid receptors, they make up what is known as the endocannabinoid system.
Cannabinoid receptors have been identified in the pancreas, heart, blood vessels, nervous system and many other organs – all of which suggests a potential role for cannabinoids in treating diabetes.
Interestingly, large-scale surveys have found lower prevalence rates of obesity and diabetes mellitus among marijuana users compared with non-users, suggesting the potential for cannabinoids to affect this disorder.
Studies have also identified higher endocannabinoid levels (anandamide and 2-AG) in diabetic patients compared to healthy individuals.
Marijuana and Insulin
Insulin dysfunction is the underlying factor in diabetes as well as the primary target of medical treatment. Interestingly, the presence of cannabinoid receptors has been identified in cells of the pancreas that produce insulin.
Studies involving human cell cultures have linked activation of CB1 receptors to an increase in insulin production. On the other hand, the role of CB2 receptors is conflicted, with some studies showing an increase in insulin secretion and others showing a decrease.
Marijuana compounds may take on another therapeutic role in type 1 diabetes by regulating activity of the immune system. In an animal model of type 1 diabetes, THC demonstrated an incredible ability to counter autoimmune attacks. THC treatment was also able to preserve insulin levels and lower blood glucose levels compared with the untreated group.
Other studies have found CBD (cannabidiol) and THCV (tetrahydrocannabivarin) – two non-psychoactive compounds found in marijuana – to have similar protective effects.
A study published in 2006 found that CBD could reduce the chance of developing type 1 diabetes in mice by reducing inflammation of pancreatic cells. In a study involving obese mice, THCV treatment led to improved glucose tolerance, reduced glucose intolerance and increased insulin sensitivity, leading the authors to conclude that THCV could be a useful therapy for type 2 diabetes either alone or together with CBD.
Finally, a large-scale observational study published in 2013 by Harvard University researchers found that adults who used marijuana had lower fasting insulin levels and a lower probability of being insulin resistant. The study collected data from over 4,500 adults during a 5 year period.
CBD seems to beneficially impact systems in the human body that control pain, the immune system, heart function, cell growth and death, sugar metabolism and more.
CBD is well suited as a human therapeutic since it seems to have no consequential side effects and it does not hamper everyday activities like work, school, sports or driving.
Hemp is the best source! CBD can be obtained from marijuana, but it is particularly abundant in hemp, a plant with no psychoactive properties and thus no potential for abuse.
Unlike insulin and other existing medications for diabetes, CBD may actually suppress, reverse and perhaps cure the disease.
This paper posits that cannabis can have the following benefits for diabetes patients:
- stabilizing blood sugars (confirmed via “a large body of anecdotal evidence building among diabetes sufferers”)
- anti-inflammatory action that may help quell some of the arterial inflammation common in diabetes
- “neuroprotective” effects that help thwart inflammation of nerves and reduce the pain of neuropathy by activating receptors in the body and brain
- “anti-spasmodic agents” help relieve muscle cramps and the pain of gastrointestinal (GI) disorders
- acts as a “vasodilator” to help keep blood vessels open and improve circulation
- contributes to lower blood pressure over time, which is vital for diabetics
- substituting cannabis butter and oil in foods “benefits cardiac and arterial health in general”
- it can also be used to make topical creams to relieve neuropathic pain and tingling in hands and feet
- finally, cannabis helps still diabetic “restless leg syndrome” (RLS), so the patient can sleep better: “it is recommended that patients use a vaporizer or smoked cannabis to aid in falling asleep.”
Peter Germain’s Choice of Natural Remedies for Diabetes:
From NORML Blog:
Preclinical study data published online in the scientific journal Nutrition & Diabetes reports that tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) — a naturally occurring analogue of THC — possesses positive metabolic effects in animal models of obesity.
British researchers assessed the effects of THCV administration on dietary-induced and genetically modified obese mice. Authors reported that although THCV administration did not significantly affect food intake or body weight gain in any of the models, it did produce several metabolically beneficial effects, including reduced glucose intolerance, improved glucose tolerance, improved liver triglyceride levels, and increased insulin sensitivity.
Researchers concluded: “Based on these data, it can be suggested that THCV may be useful for the treatment of the metabolic syndrome and/or type 2 diabetes (adult onset diabetes), either alone or in combination with existing treatments. Given the reported benefits of another non-THC cannabinoid, CBD in type 1 diabetes, a CBD/THCV combination may be beneficial for different types of diabetes mellitus.”
Last month, Harvard Medical School researchers published observational data in The American Journal of Medicine reporting that subjects who regularly consume cannabis possess favorable indices related to diabetic control as compared to occasional consumers or non-users of the substance. Writing in an accompanying commentary, the journal’s Editor-in-Chief stated: “These are indeed remarkable observations that are supported, as the authors note, by basic science experiments that came to similar conclusions. … I would like to call on the NIH and the DEA to collaborate in developing policies to implement solid scientific investigations that would lead to information assisting physicians in the proper use and prescription of THC in its synthetic or herbal form.”
Observational trial data published in 2012 in the British Medical Journal previously reported that adults with a history of marijuana use had a lower prevalence of type 2 diabetes and possess a lower risk of contracting the disease than did those with no history of cannabis consumption, even after researchers adjusted for social variables such as subjects’ ethnicity and levels of physical activity.
Previously published preclinical data also indicates that the administration of cannabidiol (CBD) halts the development of type 1 (juvenile) diabetes in mice genetically predisposed to the condition.