Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. Some of the common causes that trigger this autoimmune response may include a virus, GMO organisms, heavy metals, vaccines, or foods like wheat, cows milk, and soy. The damage to the pancreatic cells leads to reduced ability or complete inability to create insulin. The reason foods like wheat and cows milk have been linked to diabetes is because they contain the proteins gluten and A1 casein. These proteins can cause leaky gut which in turn causes systemic inflammation throughout the body and overtime can lead to autoimmune disease.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and is caused by insulin resistance. It is a metabolic disorder that is caused by high blood sugar. The body can keep up for a period of time by producing more insulin, but over time the insulin receptors sites get burned out.
Substantial evidence indicates that cannabis may prevent and treat the disease.
Research on Diabetes & Cannabis
In 2014, a summary of the promising epidemiological evidence on marijuana in the management of diabetes published in the Natural Medicine Journal concluded that in thousands of subjects, past and current marijuana use was associated with lower levels of fasting insulin, blood glucose, insulin resistance, BMI, and waist circumference.
In another study, researchers demonstrated (with mice) the potential of (CBD) to reduce the occurrence and delay the onset of Type 1 diabetes. It was found that CBD shows anti-autoimmune properties which needed further examination.
While some non-specific immunosuppressive drugs have shown to be successful in preventing diabetes, they are not an ideal alternative. Suppressing the immune system in a general fashion for a long period of time would present a high-risk treatment. Moreover, these drugs showed to be working only temporarily in the clinic until resistance was acquired. The marijuana and diabetes research is a lot more promising. While CBD is also a non-specific immunosuppressant, it was found to promote a protective immune response in diabetic mice by the means of immunomodulation. Immunomodulation would allow the use of CBD in early-onset patients only long enough to deviate the destructive autoimmune response to a protective one.
There’s also compelling scientific evidence that cannabis can aid in treating diabetes complications, for example eye disease. Cannabis reduces the intraocular pressure (fluid pressure in the eye) considerably in people with glaucoma, which is caused by conditions that severely restrict blood flow to the eye, like diabetic retinopathy.
While the study of marijuana and diabetes is still in the early phases, the animal research looks extremely promising. Research has already shown medical marijuana to be effective in treating not only diabetes, but also some, if not all, of its possible complications.