How Does CBD Affect Blood Sugar Levels and Can it Be Effective in Treating Diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease that affects millions of Americans. Can CBD help to prevent, treat, and manage this prolific disease? Read on to find out more.
Diabetes is the 7th most common cause of death in the United States. Almost 30 million Americans are currently diagnosed, while another 7 million are estimated to be living with the disease without knowing. Those diagnosed have to constantly monitor their blood sugar levels and prick their fingers with insulin to regulate them. However, recent research shows that CBD could work to keep glucose levels in check and eliminate the need for insulin injections. Read on to find out more about how CBD can be useful in treating and managing diabetes.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic condition associated with abnormally high levels of glucose in the blood. Glucose is the building block of the carbohydrates you eat and is your body’s primary source of energy. It is absorbed into almost every cell in your body and combines with oxygen in your mitochondria cells to create a molecule called ATP. ATP powers your cellular machinery and fuels cell growth. When you eat carbohydrates, glucose enters the bloodstream and a hormone called insulin is released. Insulin helps your cells absorb glucose as fuel. However, when diabetes occurs, there is a lack of insulin, resulting in excess glucose.
There are two types of diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2. In type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system sees insulin-producing cells in the pancreas as foreign and destroys them. Because these cells oversee the normalizing of blood sugars, glucose levels can soon get out of control. The sugar stays and builds up in the blood, causing cells to starve from the lack of glucose. If left untreated, this can harm the eyes, kidneys, and heart. Type 1 diabetes can even be fatal in some cases.
Type 2 diabetes is more common, and usually develops after the age of 35. People with type 2 diabetes are able to produce some of their own insulin, but it is often not enough. The insulin that is produced tries to open the body’s cells and allow glucose to enter, but is not successful. When this happens, it is known as insulin resistance.
Although causes of type 1 diabetes are still somewhat unknown, genetic factors and previous health conditions can bring on the disease. Type 2 diabetes can also be caused by genetic factors and previous health conditions. But a sedentary lifestyle and an unhealthy diet can lead to Type 2 diabetes as well. Symptoms of diabetes include the following:
- Increased appetite
- Weight loss
- Nausea and vomiting
- Frequent infections
- Blurred vision
CBD and Diabetes
Currently, those with diabetes are required to constantly monitor their blood sugar levels and prick their fingers with insulin to regulate them. However, recent research shows that CBD could work to keep glucose levels in check to eliminate the need for insulin injections. Additionally, CBD may be useful in controlling diabetes, treating symptoms, and in preventing the disease altogether.
Cannabis Controls Insulin Levels: You are more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes if you have insulin resistance, high fasting insulin levels and low levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Studies show that those who use cannabis on a regular basis have fasting insulin levels 16% lower than those who have never used cannabis. They also have higher levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and lower insulin resistance levels.
CBD Treats Insulin Resistance:
Insulin resistance occurs when the body’s cells resist insulin produced in the pancreas to regulate blood sugar. This makes it difficult for cells to absorb glucose, which is needed for energy. Glucose then builds up in the bloodstream, leading to high blood sugar levels. Researchers aren’t sure how CBD works to treat insulin resistance, but many feel it is due to its anti-inflammatory properties. When inflammation is reduced, the immune system and cardiovascular system function better and there is improved cell growth and sugar metabolism. All of which lead to a lower risk of developing diabetes.
CBD Promotes a Healthier Lifestyle:
CBD provides many health benefits which can be helpful in treating and preventing diabetes. For example, CBD works to suppress appetite. Ghrelin is a hormone that stimulates hunger and is stimulated by CB1 receptors. CBD works as a CB1 blocker, limiting the amount of ghrelin the body produces to reduce sensations of hunger. CBD’s ability to suppress appetite can be effective in keeping weight down, reducing diabetes risk and helping those with the disease better manage their condition. CBD can also be effective in keeping you more active. It interacts with receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and strengthens cells, helping you find mental focus and clarity. This eliminates the feelings of sluggishness and fatigue that can keep you out of the gym. Once you are in the gym, CBD gives you a euphoric sensation that gives you the stamina to go on. Its anti-inflammatory and regenerative properties also help muscles to recover faster, so you can get back to the gym sooner. CBD’s ability to boost energy and enhance athletic performance helps individuals fight a sedentary lifestyle. Additionally, because CBD works to boost energy, it can help treat the fatigue that manifests as a symptom of the disease.
CBD and Autoimmunity:
CBD is also an effective treatment for autoimmune diseases. Autoimmune diseases cause the body to wrongfully attack healthy cells they identify as harmful. In diabetes, this occurs when the body attacks insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. CBD works to suppress the immune system so that it is less likely to attack.
CBD Treats Neuropathy:
Diabetic neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that can occur when you have diabetes. High blood sugar can injure nerves throughout your body. It most commonly affects the legs and feet, but can occur in other body parts as well. CBD is effective in treating diabetic neuropathy due to its pain relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. Various studies have shown how these characteristics make CBD effective in fighting neuropathic pain, including a 2012 animal study that showed how cannabinoids can suppress pain by targeting a3 glycine receptors.
CBD Speeds Healing of Skin Irritations:
Many people with diabetes experience skin irritations. Sores often appear on the feet, and rashes manifest on various parts of the body. Many diabetics also struggle with chronic skin sensitivity and irritation. CBD’s anti-inflammatory and moisturizing properties make it ideal for soothing skin irritations. Various elements of the endocannabinoid system are involved in the key mechanisms of skin, including immune and inflammatory responses and the transmission of the central nervous system. Although more research is needed to determine exactly how cannabinoids work to decrease symptoms, it is clear they interact with the ECS in the skin to produce beneficial results. CBD is available in topical form and may be directly applied to rashes and sores for optimal results.
CBD Relieves Nausea and Vomiting:
Diabetes may also involve conditions that cause nausea and vomiting. These include hyperglycemia (which occurs when blood sugars get too high), hypoglycemia (which occurs when blood levels get too low), and ketoacidosis (when your body can’t produce enough insulin). With ketoacidosis, your body produces high levels of blood acids called ketones, which can cause one to feel sick to their stomachs when in excess. CBD is effective at reducing nausea and vomiting. Research has shown that the ECS is largely responsible for maintaining neurotransmitter function in the brain that regulates nausea and vomiting in humans. It has been shown that manipulating the system through CBD or other cannabinoids can alleviate and even prevent the effects of nausea.
CBD Reduces Stress and Anxiety:
Stress and anxiety can worsen any condition. In the case of diabetes, it can raise blood sugar levels, activate fat cells, contribute to insulin resistance, impact sleep, and affect blood pressure. CBD has shown to be effective in reducing stress and anxiety by boosting serotonin levels to lower stress. In effect, this reduction of stress leads to other benefits that make diabetes easier to manage.
Millions of Americans live with diabetes and struggle to control it with daily injections and constant monitoring. CBD may be a more convenient, natural solution in the prevention and management of the disease. If you or a loved one has diabetes, we encourage you to explore the world of cannabis to find out how it can improve your quality of life.