CBD may also improve insulin resistance and pancreas health. In a study on animal subjects with non insulin-treated type 2 diabetes, it was found that subjects who received CBD at 100 mg twice daily (as well as other treatments like tetrahydrocannabivarin, a phytocannabinoid), saw significantly decreased fasting plasma glucose and improved pancreatic health.
According to UCLA Health, “We now know the endocannabinoid system is involved in a wide variety of processes, including pain, memory, mood, appetite, stress, sleep, metabolism, immune function, and reproductive function. Endocannabinoids are arguably one of the most widespread and versatile signaling molecules known to man.”
In fact, more than a third of our prescription drugs, including those for diabetes, are made to bind to GPCRs. “That’s how important it is. The fact that cannabinoids are the largest GPCR is why CBD may affect insulin resistance.”
What does CBD do to help diabetes?
CBD is generally sold in the form of tinctures or oils, supplements, extracts, and gummies. It is also found in pain-relieving and calming gels, lotions, and bath salts. It’s not usually smoked.
Many people with chronic conditions like diabetes are turning to CBD because they believe that it can help restore balance and well-being — and there is an increasing amount of research to back it up.
Dr. Chin believes that CBD helps to treat some of the core issues behind diabetes, and that it can help improve overall diabetes lifestyle management. It’s not that CBD magically corrects insulin sensitivity right away, but rather that it can be helpful as part of a larger holistic regimen.
Now, CBD can be extracted from both hemp and cannabis. Hemp is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, meaning it can’t get you high like marijuana does. It carries almost no THC content (less than 0.3 percent, the legal limit) and it is not a controlled substance in the US. It is also not illegal.
You won’t find those unfounded treatment claims and miracle-cure testimonials on product websites anymore. But they are turning up more and more frequently on other websites. When the drug Epidiolex won approval in the US this summer, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, warned consumers about the dangers this could pose. “The promotion and use of these unapproved products may keep some patients from accessing appropriate, recognized therapies to treat serious and even fatal diseases,” Dr. Gottlieb said in a statement.
A quick Google search of the terms “CBD Oil” and “Diabetes” turns up 2.9 million hits, with promises and testimonials that the compound cannabidiol in this hemp- or marijuana-based oil could “stabilize blood sugar 1 ”, “improve insulin resistance 2 ”, “decrease the need for insulin 3 ” and even “suppress, reverse and perhaps cure the disease. 4 “
Over-the-counter and Internet sales of non-prescription CBD oil are expected to rise from $190 million in 2017 to $626 million by 2022 according to the Hemp Business Journal’s State of Hemp 2018 report 6 .
Eileen Konieczny, RN, past president of the American Cannabis Nurses Association and author of the book Healing with CBD: How Cannabidiol can Transform your Health without the High (Ulysses Press, September 18, 2018) agrees. “I have not witnessed blood sugar control or management with CBD alone,” Konieczny told On Track Diabetes in an interview. “CBD clearly will help with the inflammation that accompanies diabetes and in that way [can be] a very helpful addition.”
It may also ease the pain of peripheral neuropathy, she says. But people with diabetes shouldn’t expect it to lower their glucose levels or their A1Cs. “I have never seen anyone stop needing their diabetes medications because they started using CBD or cannabis,” she says.
“The FDA has taken recent actions against companies distributing unapproved CBD products. These products have been marketed in a variety of formulations, such as oil drops, capsules, syrups, teas, and topical lotions and creams. These companies have claimed that various CBD products could be used to treat or cure serious diseases such as cancer with no scientific evidence to support such claims. We’re especially concerned when these products are marketed for serious or life-threatening diseases, where the illegal promotion of an unproven compound could discourage a patient from seeking other therapies that have proven benefits.” 11
Not one focuses on diabetes.