Diabetes has become an increasingly big problem for people in the U.S. and around the world. There are two kinds of diabetes that will be discussed below, and both can have severe complications. There has been increasing focus on the potential link between marijuana and diabetes, however, so does marijuana help diabetes?

Below is information about diabetes, and more specifically about the possible relationship between marijuana and diabetes.

Article at a Glance:  

  • There are two types of diabetes, which is a metabolism disorder with no known cure.  
  • Research is being conducted to study the possible therapeutic effects of marijuana for people with diabetes.  
  • Marijuana has been linked to stabilizing blood sugar, improving circulation, reducing neuropathic pain, and lowering blood pressure.  
  • Marijuana is known to increase appetite, however, which can contribute to weight gain and the onset of diabetes.  
  • Never self-medicate with marijuana to treat diabetes without consulting your physician first. 

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus, which is commonly just referred to as diabetes, is a condition that describes a group of metabolic diseases. Diabetes is characterized by high blood glucose levels, which can be because they don’t produce enough insulin, or because their body doesn’t respond to insulin. It’s estimated that hundreds of millions of people throughout the world have diabetes, and it’s a chronic condition, meaning there isn’t a cure, but there are ways to manage it and treat the symptoms.

With type 1 diabetes the body doesn’t produce insulin, and with type 2, the body doesn’t produce enough insulin. The overwhelming majority of all diabetes cases in the world are type 2.

Type 1 diabetes requires that people take insulin injections and do blood sugar tests for the rest of their life, and they also have to follow a certain diet.

With type diabetes, not enough insulin is produced, or the person’s body doesn’t respond properly to insulin, which is called insulin resistance. With type 2 diabetes people usually need to lose weight, exercise and eat a healthy diet, while also monitoring their blood glucose. Type 2 diabetes tends to be progressive which means that it gets worse over time and ultimately ends up in the person needing to take insulin.

The biggest risk factor for type 2 diabetes is being overweight and obese, and people with a lot of abdominal fat are at a particularly high risk level. As you get older, you’re also at a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes is a disorder of the metabolism, and while there is no known cure for type 1, some people can eliminate type 2 symptoms by following a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight and exercising.

With that being said, is there a link between marijuana and diabetes? Does marijuana help diabetes?

Does Marijuana Help Diabetes?

If you’re wondering does marijuana help diabetes, you’re not alone. There is a lot of current research being done regarding the possible therapeutic and medical benefits of marijuana, and one of the areas of study is marijuana and diabetes.

There are certain components in marijuana that are believed to have health benefits in particular, and these are called cannabinoids. The most widely studied are THC and CBD. THC creates psychoactive effects, while CBD doesn’t.

There have been quite a few studies looking at marijuana and diabetes, and they have shown benefits for people with diabetes who use marijuana.

Marijuana may be helpful for stabilizing blood sugar, lowering blood pressure and decreasing artery inflammation. It may also be helpful to improve circulation and also to reduce neuropathic pain, which is a very common complication of diabetes.

Along with helping treat the symptoms of diabetes, marijuana may also be able to help prevent it according to a few studies, because for some reason obesity tends to be less common among cannabis users.

With type 2 diabetes people aren’t able to properly use insulin, and one study found that people using cannabis had lower levels of insulin resistance, improved production of insulin, and lower fasting blood glucose levels.

Diabetic retinopathy is a condition where people with diabetes lose their sight, and some animal research shows that using CBD may protect against it.

One of the many reasons marijuana and diabetes might have positive links to one another is because cannabis is believed to fight inflammation and inflammation is linked to not only diabetes but most other chronic diseases.

While there seem like there can be some benefits with marijuana and diabetes, it’s important to point out the potential downsides as well.

First and foremost, the use of marijuana is known to increase appetite. It’s such a common side effect that it’s referred to as having the “munchies,” and this may mean that you eat large amounts of carbohydrates and unhealthy foods. This can contribute to weight gain and can cause blood sugar levels to rise too quickly.

There are also potential negative general side effects that can come with the use of marijuana including substance abuse, interactions with medications you may be taking, delayed reaction times, impaired memory and concentration, breathing problems and dizziness. There are also issues with legal status when it comes to the use of marijuana in many states.

Summing Up—Marijuana and Diabetes

So, does marijuana help diabetes? Marijuana and diabetes is something that’s being explored in the medical community because there is promising information showing that marijuana may help with the symptoms of diabetes, but it’s not without risks.

You should never try to self-medicate with marijuana either, and you should speak with your physician about the best methods for controlling your diabetes.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.