CBD Benefits For Diabetes
Diabetes is a complex health issue on the rise around the world, particularly among populations enjoying a more American-style diet. As the sugar content of our food increases, so too does our risk of diabetes. Although diabetes has been managed for decades through diet and daily insulin shots, these treatments are not always ideal. Insulin shots and the associated medications require careful management. Depending on lifestyle, this can be a significant burden on living a full life.
The research focus has shifted due to the demand for new treatment options. Now, studies are examining alternative therapies for diabetes treatment, including cannabidiol (CBD). Cannabidiol is one of the dozens of compounds called cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. While its more notable cousin, THC, is well-known for its psychoactive properties, CBD has none of those characteristics. However, like THC, CBD has many medicinal properties.CBD oil is being actively studied as a viable alternative treatment for many diseases, including both Types I and II diabetes. On top of its direct applications for diabetes, CBD has substantial potential for treating a host of related issues common among diabetic patients.
CBD vs. Traditional Diabetic Treatment Options
People prefer seeking alternative diabetes treatment options for a number of reasons. Beyond those looking for an all-natural alternative to the pharmaceutical industry, many concrete issues are related to diabetic medications.
Insulin therapy, while beneficial for improving quality of life for Type II diabetes patients, often increases the risk for obesity and hyperglycemia. Considering diabetics have an increased risk of disease associated with weight gain, this can have huge ramifications for a patient's long-term health and wellness.
Research already has linked CBD to a higher metabolism rate, decreased fatty tissue, and increased breakdown of fat. Interestingly, despite the common assumption, one study into diabetic patients found that cannabis users also typically have a lower body mass index (ratio of weight to height) than non-users.
Another reason people with diabetes may wish to move away from insulin and other drugs is because of the often harsh side effects. One of the main issues with medications such as Sulfonylureas is an uncomfortable skin rash. Drugs such as Biguanides, Metformin, and Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors also can cause a variety of problems with the gastrointestinal system. Some side effects include gas, bloating, upset stomach, and diarrhea.
Cannabidiol, in comparison, has no known risk of serious side effects. According to the available research on the topic, common side effects include dry mouth and a sense of calm. A gentle relaxation might not even be considered a side effect for some.
One issue that might come into play with CBD oil therapy is it affects how the liver metabolizes other pharmaceuticals. For those on a cocktail of medications, it is essential to consult with a medical professional to determine the proper dosage of CBD in combination with your other drugs. Because the liver takes longer to metabolize medicine when using CBD oil, other drugs actually may become more potent in the bloodstream. Many people find they need to reduce the dosage of other drugs during CBD oil therapy.For a deeper exploration into the low risk of CBD therapy, check out this article What pharmaceutical drugs can interfere with CBD?
CBD Benefits For Diabetes
Many researchers have come to conclusions similar to those of the study authors. “Cannabidiol lowers incidence of diabetes in non-obese diabetic mice.” The study authors conclude that “results indicate that CBD can inhibit and delay destructive insulitis [....] resulting in a decreased incidence of diabetes.” And while it's all well and good to claim CBD can treat diabetes, what does the current research show? How does CBD work to reduce the symptoms experienced by diabetic patients? Here are a few areas being explored in the realm of CBD and diabetes:
- Fasting Insulin Levels: The status of your blood sugar management can be measured by your fasting insulin level. The higher your fasting insulin levels, the more difficult time your body is having moving sugars from your blood into your cells. In a broad study on the health of US adults, a substudy was conducted on the segment of participants who regularly consumed cannabis. The study found that the cannabis users not only had a lower risk for Type II diabetes but had a 16 percent lower fasting insulin level.
- Insulin Resistance: Insulin resistance is prevalent among pre-diabetics, leading to an increased risk of developing full-blown Type II diabetes. When people develop insulin resistance, it becomes more difficult for their cells to absorb insulin properly. It's harder for their bodies to remove glucose from the bloodstream. This leads to higher blood glucose levels. The same study mentioned in the first point also found that cannabis users had 17 percent lower insulin resistance than non-users. Cannabidiol may be linked to better insulin sensitivity in another study as well. The researchers tentatively concluded that CBD improved the function of glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptides, which are responsible for insulin secretion.
- Overactive Endocannabinoid System: Some theories on the cause of Type I diabetes point to an overactive endocannabinoid system. In people suffering from Type I diabetes, their over-regulated system can trigger visceral fat accumulation (weight gain around the stomach), and reduced adiponectin levels. Adiponectin is essential for the regulation of glucose levels. Reduced levels increase insulin resistance, which then increases the risk of diabetes. Cannabidiol works directly with the endocannabinoid system, stepping in where our system may have fallen short. It can help return the body to a functional homeostasis and potentially could soothe an overactive system.
Clearly, meaningful preliminary evidence demonstrates the CBD’s potential for treating many of the underlying causes of Type I and Type II diabetes. On top of CBD's ability to reduce the risk of obesity, and assist with insulin resistance and blood-glucose levels, CBD also has been found to be beneficial for some of the related health issues. Many people with diabetes face increased risk for health issues such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and neuropathy, all of which could benefit from the introduction of CBD treatment.
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