Despite diabetes prevalence continuing to soar, almost doubling to 8.5% among the population older than 18 in 2014 from just 4.7% in 1980, the search for a cure seems to be lagging. According to the American Diabetes Association, the situation in the United States is even more dire, with more than 30 million adults or 9.4% of the population suffering from diabetes. In 2015, diabetes was the 7th leading cause of death in the United States, responsible for 79,535 deaths that year alone. Each year, around 1.5 million new patients are diagnosed, turning this illness into a legitimate epidemic. With treatment to cure diabetes nowhere in sight, it is no wonder more and more people turn to untraditional methods to protect their health. Lately, CBD has been proposed as a substance that can help people with diabetes, but what exactly are the benefits?
Diabetes is in two types, Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 is an autoimmune disease, while Type 2 is a metabolic disorder. Medicine makes a clear distinction between, with each having a different set of symptoms and causes, but the basic underlying principle is the same. The body doesn’t produce enough insulin, resulting in too much glucose in the bloodstream. A vast majority of patients have Type 2 diabetes, which is mostly credited to the unhealthy lifestyle or genetic precondition.
Excess of glucose in the blood can lead to several complications, many of which can be lethal. The most common one and the leading cause of death for patients with diabetes are cardiovascular diseases. Glucose can damage blood vessels, leading to heart attacks. Nerve damage is another issue caused by diabetes. Kidney damage, also potentially lethal condition, is also common in diabetes patients. It leads to nephropathy, as glucose damages the glomeruli, reducing the kidneys’ ability to filtrate. Various skin conditions, sight and hearing impairment, and even anxiety and depression re also quite common.
CBD as treatment
CBD comes from a plant that is known to have positive effects on the human metabolic system. This fact has led some scientists to experiment with using them as a treatment for diabetes, especially Type 2. However, there haven’t been any significant studies performed on the effects CBD has on diabetes. There is plenty of empirical evidence suggesting that diabetes patients can benefit from using CBD, though. According to Veronica J. Brady, Ph.D., CDE, an assistant professor at the Cizik School of Nursing at the University of Texas in Houston, her patients have been using CBD to combat pains originating from nerve damage caused by diabetes. Whether rubbing it in or using it orally, they have reported that the pain has subsided and that they slept better. Some even claimed that CBD helped them stabilize their blood sugar. These findings were confirmed by a study performed in Canada in 2012, testing the use of nabilone as an adjuvant in the treatment of diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain. Nabilone is a synthetic cannabinoid intended for oral use. The study confirmed its use relived the pain, improved patients’ sleeping patterns, and in general, improved their quality of life.
Make sure to check out “7 Things to Consider When Shopping For CBD Oil” to see tips to consider when buying your CBD oil bottle.
The lack of scientific studies
Despite some promising results and people’s interests in using CBD to manage their diabetes, there have been no major scientific studies researching the matter. According to Y. Tony Yang, ScD, LLM, MPH, a tenured professor and health services and policy researcher at the George Washington University School of Nursing, there are two main reasons for lack of scientific curiosity in CBD and diabetes connections. The major one is regulation and the murky status of marijuana and CBD alike. Marijuana is legal in 11 states, while medicinal use is allowed in further 33. If you count the states where its use is decriminalized, it only leaves three states where it is illegal for both recreational and medical use. (sorry, residents of Idaho, Nebraska and North Dakota). However, on the federal level, marijuana is still listed as a Schedule substance and classified as a substance with a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use. This severely dampens all research angling for federal funding, leaving the only state and private funds available to those researchers to apply for. Pharmaceutical companies aren’t overly interested in funding research into anything that could jeopardize their monopolies, especially if it’s alternative medicine.
The second issue is getting enough cannabis for research. Legally, it can only be obtained from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. It has a limited supply on hand and whose production has been booked years in advance.
CBD is in a slightly better situation. Most CBD oils intended for medical use come from hemp, which is removed from controlled substances list in 2018 since hemp contains very little or even no THC. Still, the stigma surrounding CBD is present, and any researcher proposing researching it faces an uphill battle. Explaining that CBD and THC are two very different substances is often futile.
How much CBD should you take?
When deciding the dosage of CBD, there are several important factors to consider. Two of the most important ones are the level of discomfort you are feeling and the severity of complaints followed closely by your tolerance, body weight, sensitivity to cannabis, and the rate of your metabolism. One of the good things about CBD is that you can’t seriously harm yourself even if you take too much of it, unlike many other drugs. Even doses as high as 1,500 mg a day didn’t produce any long-lasting adverse effects. Regardless of that, starting low and gradually increasing intake is always a smart strategy. Leonard Leinow wrote an excellent book called “CBD – A Patient’s Guide to Cannabis,” which, among other things, talks about CBD dosage. Generally speaking, the exact dosage will depend on the patient’s body weight. However, it is recommended to start with a microdose, which is 0.5 mg to 20 mg of CBD per dose per day. If that doesn’t produce the desired effects after a few weeks, the patient could switch to the standard dose, 10 mg to 100 mg of CBD per dose per day. This should do the trick, but if it doesn’t, there is another level, called Macro (Or Therapeutic) Dose. This dose is usually reserved for most severe pain, found in patients with terminal cancer or liver diseases. Macro dose ranges from 50 mg to 800 mg of CBD per dose per day. Getting this much CBD from the oil can be tiresome, so the recommended method of intake is CBD paste. It is highly recommended that you consult your doctor before starting a CBD treatment.
Check out “CBD Dosage for Beginners (Science-Backed Facts)” to see more on dosage and ways to take CBD and its derivatives.
Can CBD affect blood sugar levels?
According to some research, there is hope that CBD can be used as a treatment and even prevention of diabetes. So far, those studies have been limited to mice, and there was a noted reeducation in diabetes incidence in mice, which were given CBD. No matter how hopeful, that is still far from being applicable to humans. Also, a human study would need to confirm the findings before such claims can be made with certainty.
Another study suggests that CBD can positively affect insulin production, thus eliminating the main issue with diabetes. The same study claims that CBD speeds up metabolism rates and increases its efficiency. Again, the same caveat applies, since this study was also performed on mice.
There are some unsupported claims that the human body has CB1 receptors (cannabinoid receptors) in the pancreas. The use of CBD can stimulate this organ to produce insulin. This could help the organism regulate the blood sugar levels, combat the effects of diabetes, and even possibly cure it. These claims are based on anecdotal evidence and are not widely accepted by the scientific community at large.
Take a look at “Will CBD Oil Make Me Fail My Drug Test?” to see how CBD may or may not make you fail a drug test next time you go in to getting tested.
Until some serious research on human subjects has been conducted, the only reliable data we have is that CBD can help in managing diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain. Many Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes patients are already benefiting from CBD treatment, and there is no reason not to try it out. However, anything else will have to wait for scientific confirmation. Yes, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence claiming that CBD can regulate blood sugar levels, but until an impartial study confirms that, we will remain skeptical.
After all, CBD has so many proven medical benefits that adding unproven ones, regardless of how beneficial they may be, can only hurt its application and wide-spread acceptance. Hopefully, we won’t have to wait too long for a confirmation.