CBD for the Management of TYPE 1 Diabetes
If you’re here, you’re likely wondering if CBD is indeed the miracle compound its reputation suggests. The good news is that recent studies have shown that this may indeed be the case.
Due to the prevalence and devastating effects of Type 1 Diabetes, this is exciting. To start with, 30.3 million people in the United States are currently living with diabetes. (1)
Characterized as an autoimmune disorder, diabetes attacks the immune system and destroys pancreatic cells in the process, ultimately causing the body to not produce insulin.
Before we cover how CBD can help, let’s look at an overview of the disease itself, along with the symptoms and side effects it causes.
Type 1 diabetes is an inherited condition that individuals have little control over contracting. Comparatively, Type 2 diabetes is often associated with lifestyle factors and choices such as diet, exercise, and weight management. (2)
Type 1 diabetes has a multitude of effects, ranging from gout and skin infections to cardiovascular and brain damage.
Because Type 1 diabetes is classified as an autoimmune disorder and CBD is known to aid in boosting the immune system, it makes sense that it could help regulate various systems and conditions like Type 1 diabetes.
While the research is still forthcoming, the early results are promising and show that CBD can have a positive impact on the pancreas.
What does CBD do for the pancreas?
In one study posted in Clinical Hemorheology and Microcirculation, CBD was found to ease the inflammation Type 1 diabetes causes within the pancreas of mice. Furthermore, it showed a lower overall occurrence of the disorder, which could have positive ramifications for future human studies. (3)
While CBD has not yet been proven able to reduce overall occurrences among humans, it has been demonstrated that the compound can reduce the amount of insulin a patient requires to reach target blood sugar levels and function. (4)
How does CBD impact my sugar levels?
Found in the brain, organs, connective tissues, glands, and immune system cells, endocannabinoids like CBD work to help the body reach homeostasis – the maintenance of a stable internal environment regardless of fluctuations in the external environment. (5, 6)
Interestingly, CB1 receptors have been found at the same location where insulin is produced.
Insulin dysfunction is the underlying factor in diabetes. A 2013 publication in the American Journal of Medicine took an in-depth look at the effects of cannabis on fasting insulin and insulin resistance. (7, 8)
The results, based on a five-year study, showed that cannabis lowered fasting insulin levels by 16 percent and insulin resistance levels by 17 percent compared to patients who had never used cannabis.
Participants who had used cannabis in the past found similar but less pronounced improvements in insulin dysfunction, causing researchers to conclude that these effects dissipate over time. (9)
What about other effects of diabetes? How Could CBD Help?
Diabetic cardiomyopathy is a disorder where the heart muscle is unable to effectively circulate blood through the body. (10)
One study discovered that CBD eased myocardial dysfunction by weakening cardiac fibrosis, oxidative/nitrative stress, inflammation, and cell death that occurs as a result of diabetes. (11)
Diabetic retinopathy – blindness caused by diabetes – is a leading cause of blindness among working-age adults. Research points to CBD emerging as a therapeutic means of easing inflammatory retinal diseases. (12)
Diabetic inflammation is another aspect of diabetes that can prolong discomfort to sufferers; it plays a key role in the development of insulin resistance.
The presence of excessive fatty tissue in diabetics limits the efficiency of glucose which results in high levels of sugar in the bloodstream.
Because CBD is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, it could be used to treat inflammation and improve metabolism. (13)
Neuropathy, or nerve damage, is commonly associated with diabetes. The lack of sufficient blood flow causes a limited sensation in the body, especially the extremities. Around 20 million people experience some form of neuropathy. (14)
The symptoms can include constant pain, tingling, numbness, temperature sensitivity, balance problems, or pain from touching objects. Unfortunately, traditional treatments do not always work for people with neuropathy and sometimes even trigger a range of negative side effects.
However, CBD might provide relief for people with neuropathy. CBD has been shown to reduce infarcts (areas of dead tissue due to lack of blood flow) by up to 30%. (15)
What about side effects?
There are possible side effects to anything we put in our bodies. Thankfully, most people are able to tolerate CBD oil; however, using CBD oil with other medications may change the effectiveness of the medication or cause fatigue and changes in appetite.
Additionally, if the CBD oil is vaped or inhaled, there’s a risk for lung problems, as with anything taken in this form.
In short, the medical potential and therapeutic benefits of CBD oil for diabetes are nothing short of phenomenal.
Many diabetics are beginning to use it and depend on it every day to treat their disease symptoms while improving their overall quality of life. It’s likely that many thousands more will continue to do so in the future in light of increased research and improved information.