Solidarité Femmes, c'est un réseau d'associations spécialisées dans l'accueil, l'accompagnement et l'hébergement des femmes victimes de violences. Plus de… CBD has helped many people deal with pain, but can it help you manage your diabetes? Read on to learn about research on CBD and its potential benefits. CBD, or cannabidiol, isn’t approved to treat diabetes, but scientists are studying how it might affect the condition. Here’s what you need to know.
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CBD & Diabetes
CBD—short for cannabidiol, a part of cannabis (marijuana)—has gotten a lot of attention lately. With changes in the legal status of cannabis, CBD has gone from a criminalized substance to being called a miracle drug. You can find CBD oil supplements, as well as foods, drinks, and lotions in stores and pharmacies across the U.S. and worldwide. However, research on the effects of CBD on the body is still limited and so far no CBD products have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
What to Know
Along with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD is the major element of cannabis. But CBD does not cause the “high” that many feel from using cannabis. For decades, CBD was considered inactive, but last year, the FDA approved it under the brand name Epidiolex for a rare form of childhood epilepsy (at a much higher dose than is available in supplements). Researchers are in the very early stages of exploring other potential uses for CBD, including relieving anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain, and inflammation.
There’s a lot of hype surrounding CBD oil and diabetes. There is no noticeable effect on blood glucose (blood sugar) or insulin levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Researchers continue to study the effects of CBD on diabetes in animal studies.
Although CBD is well tolerated by most people, there are side effects. It can suppress immune responses, raise eye pressure (which may worsen glaucoma), and increase blood levels of certain medications, such as the blood thinner Coumadin, which can lead to serious bleeding. Talk to your doctor if you’re thinking of trying CBD.
Find Out More
CBD sits in a gray area. While used as a medicine, it’s also a natural compound. Many effective medications are derived from compounds found in nature, but a lot of work goes into identifying the specific, active compound and determining what dose is safe and effective. Researchers aren’t close to that yet with CBD oil.
Its status as a supplement makes things tricky, too. Because CBD is not regulated by the FDA, creators of these supplements often make claims about its effectiveness based on little—or no—evidence. It’s hard to know what you’re getting. The amount of CBD in any product varies widely. The FDA has warned that in some products, lab tests have shown no CBD at all. Under the FDA’s Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, manufacturers of dietary supplements and dietary ingredients are banned from marketing products that are tainted or misbranded.
Although many claims continue to be made about CBD oil, there is little evidence of any benefit. It’s certainly not an alternative to traditional diabetes management. The safety of CBD is also unknown—it may have dangerous side effects that we won’t know about unless further research is done. But there is a great deal of interest in CBD research, so we should learn a lot more in the coming years about what exactly CBD can and can’t do. In the meantime, it’s best practice pursue optimal health and diabetes management with treatments that have evidence to show they are safe and effective.
CBD and Diabetes
You may have heard about using CBD to treat diabetes. CBD is short for cannabidiol, and it comes from the cannabis plant. It doesn’t make you feel high, but research is ongoing to see if it can help control blood sugar, calm inflammation, and ease nerve pain from diabetes.
What the Research Shows
Most studies of CBD’s effects on diabetes have been in mice or rats. This is a problem because laboratory conditions, differences between animals and humans, and other things can affect study results. Just because CBD works for them doesn’t mean it will work in humans.
In one study, researchers tested CBD on mice with less blood flow to the brain, a complication of diabetes for some people. They found that CBD:
- Cut down hyperglycemia (high blood sugar)
- Lowered cholesterol and “bad fat” levels
- Upped insulin production
Other studies of CBD in mice or rats found it:
- Eases swelling and pain from nerve damage. One study showed CBD kept chronic inflammation and neuropathic pain at bay, which tends to affect the hands and feet of people with diabetes.
- Lowers the risk of diabetes. Another study found CBD might ward off the disease.
- Promotes “good fat.” CBD oil can help the body turn white fat into slimming brown fat. This can boost your body’s ability to use glucose.
THC and Diabetes
The effects of CBD and THC (the chemical in cannabis that causes a high) are different. In one study, CBD didn’t improve blood sugar and lipid levels in people with type 2 diabetes, but a variation of THC did. CBD did lower insulin resistance and boost gut hormone levels.
CBD comes in many forms, from liquid drops to capsules to vapes. But the FDA doesn’t regulate most of those products. The only FDA-approved form of CBD oil is Epidiolex, a prescription drug that treats two types of epilepsy. So it’s hard to be sure that other CBD products are what they say they are, even if the label looks official. For instance, THC has been found in some CBD products. There’s also no guarantee the product has as much CBD as the label says. CBD can also have side effects. It may cause:
It can also interact with other medications like blood thinners. So it’s important to talk with your doctor before trying CBD.
FDA: “FDA Approves First Drug Comprised of an Active Ingredient Derived From Marijuana to Treat Rare, Severe Forms of Epilepsy.”
Mayo Clinic: “Consumer Health: What Are the Benefits of CBD — And is it Safe to Use?” “Diabetic Neuropathy.”
Diabetes Care: “Efficacy and safety of cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabivarin on glycemic and lipid parameters in patients with Type 2 diabetes: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel group pilot study.”
Chemico-Biological Interactions: “Cannabidiol improves metabolic dysfunction in middle-aged diabetic rats submitted to a chronic cerebral hypoperfusion.”
Journal of Experimental Medicine: “Cannabinoids suppress inflammatory and neuropathic pain by targeting α3 glycine receptors.”
Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry: “Cannabidiol promotes browning in 3T3-L1 adipocytes.”
The American Journal of Pathology: “The endocannabinoid system and plant-derived cannabinoids in diabetes and diabetic complications.”
Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics: “The Flaws and Human Harms of Animal Experimentation.”
Autoimmunity: “Cannabidiol lowers incidence of diabetes in non-obese diabetic mice.”
Harvard Health Publishing: “Cannabidiol (CBD) — what we know and what we don’t.”