Diabetes is an incredibly widespread condition, especially in the aging population of Western countries. It causes high blood sugar, which can have a dire impact on your overall health and cause further complications. It’s usually treated with synthetic drugs that lower blood sugar. But nowadays, more and more people try to treat this dangerous condition in a more natural way, through drastic lifestyle changes and proper supplementation. For these people, can CBD for diabetes help? Here’s what we know so far.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a complex condition characterized by metabolic issues. People with diabetes don’t produce enough insulin (type 1) or can’t use the insulin that their body produces (type 2). Insulin is a hormone that allows your body to process and use sugar from carbohydrates. Because of their insulin-related issues, diabetics struggle with high blood sugar, which can damage virtually every organ in the body.
Different types of diabetes
Type 1 diabetes: People with type 1 diabetes don’t produce insulin naturally. This is due to an autoimmune reaction, in which their own immune system destroys the pancreas (the organ responsible for creating insulin). By far, this is the rarest type of diabetes, affecting only about 10% of diabetics.
Type 2 diabetes: People with type 2 diabetes have the wrong response to insulin. They may not be able to fully use the insulin their body produces, which leaves them with heightened blood sugar levels. This is a much more common form of diabetes, affecting close to 90% of diabetics.
How to treat diabetes with CBD?
Today, diabetes isn’t as scary a diagnosis as it once was. We now know how to treat diabetes with cbd with synthetic drugs, and how to regulate blood sugar levels. Treatments for type 1 and 2 diabetes are quite different.
People with type 1 diabetes don’t naturally produce insulin. This means they have to inject artificial insulin in order to deal with their blood sugar levels.
People with type 2 diabetes can sometimes manage and even reverse their symptoms with diet and exercise. Eating a low-carb, healthy diet based around whole foods and exercising regularly can make a world of difference. That being said, it’s not always enough to lower blood sugar back to acceptable levels.
In that case, type 2 diabetics have the option to take synthetic drugs that either helps them make more insulin or lower their blood sugar levels.
What is CBD?
What is CBD? it’s a molecule found in the cannabis plant. Some claim it can help to reduce blood sugar, thus helping people with diabetes. But the evidence we have on that topic so far is quite tenuous. However, we know that CBD can help with a number of other issues often associated with diabetes.
The full name of CBD is cannabidiol. It’s a molecule that’s classified as a cannabinoid. These compounds are found in cannabis, and they’re well-known for their wealth of health benefits. For example, we’ve found that molecules like CBD and some other cannabinoids can:
- Lower high blood pressure
- Prevent seizures
- Lower inflammation
- Lower pain
- Help to manage stress and anxiety
They act on our system by giving a boost to something called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This biological system regulates a number of important body functions, including pain management, inflammation, stress, and even energy metabolism. By helping all of those body functions work correctly, CBD can positively affect the health of those who take it.
Non-prescription CBD products are not currently approved by the FDA. However, research suggests that this molecule is effective in treating a number of conditions. We recommend consulting with a medical professional to see if prescription CBD could help your condition.
Can CBD oil lower blood sugar?
We know that cannabinoids can regulate the ECS, which could potentially help to regulate energy metabolism as well. Since CBD is one of the cannabinoids with the most health properties, it’s easy to assume that CBD oil lower blood sugar.
To test that theory, a group of scientists conducted an experiment. They tested the effects of different cannabinoids (CBD, THCV, or a mix of the two) on patients with type 2 diabetes. They gave them quite a high dose of these cannabinoids for the course of over 12 weeks. Throughout the experiment, they measured a lot of metrics that tell us how healthy a diabetic person is: blood sugar, cholesterol, insulin sensitivity, appetite, inflammation markers and more.
What they found was that CBD didn’t have a significant impact on any of those metrics, at least not compared to the placebo. However, THCV did cause a significant drop in fasting blood sugar levels. They concluded that THCV, but not CBD, could be a potential treatment option for blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes.
Unfortunately, because THCV is not a very well-researched cannabinoid, it can be hard to find products that contain this molecule. Most CBD products don’t contain significant levels of THCV. But as we discover more of the interesting health benefits of this compound, we can hope to see it becoming more readily accessible in the next couple of years.
And if you want to learn more about THCV and other cannabinoids that are not CBD, you can read our guide on the topic here.
Can CBD prevent diabetes?
Judging on the limited studies we have so far, CBD doesn’t seem to help diabetes by lowering blood sugar. However, it could help prevent type 2 diabetes for those who take it regularly.
For example, this 2006 study showed that mice treated with daily CBD had fewer chances of developing diabetes than those in the control group. Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the results will translate to humans.
Can CBD help people with diabetes in other ways?
CBD may not be able to regulate insulin use or production in people with diabetes. However, it could help manage some of their other symptoms.
For example, people with type 2 diabetes frequently suffer from nerve pain. As a natural painkiller, CBD can help people with diabetes manage these symptoms in a natural way without having to resort to prescription painkillers.
People with diabetes also have higher levels of inflammation in the body, which is associated with heart disease, cancer and asthma. This means that their already difficult condition could heighten the risk of developing other dangerous health issues. As an anti-inflammatory ingredient, CBD could help diabetics lower their markers of inflammation, increasing their chances of staying healthy in the long term.
Are there any risks of taking CBD for diabetes?
Although CBD doesn’t lower blood sugar in people with diabetes, it can still help them by lowering pain and inflammation. However, it doesn’t mean it’s a safe substance, at least not for everyone.
So far, we have too little data on how CBD impacts insulin, its quantities and effects on our bodies.
Some doctors warn that this could be dangerous. We have anecdotal evidence that some patients could become more or less resistant to insulin when they start taking CBD.
For people who want to prevent diabetes or who have pre-diabetes, this is actually good news. It means that they can experiment with CBD to see if it reduces their insulin resistance, which would be a great result.
But for people with type 1 diabetes who take insulin or people with type 2 diabetes who take other drugs, this could mean trouble. The fact is, taking CBD could interact with how these drugs work. And as a result, diabetics who take medicine could start finding that their daily drugs don’t work as well as they should when taken with CBD.
So if you take diabetes medication, we urge you to consult with a doctor before you take any CBD. They will be able to advise on possible interactions and tell you whether trying CBD is safe.
How to take CBD oil for diabetes?
First things first: don’t take CBD oil without consulting a doctor if you’re diagnosed with type 1 or 2 diabetes. This could impact your insulin in unpredictable ways.
If you want to how much CBD oil should you take to prevent diabetes because it runs in your family, or because you have prediabetes, there are many ways to do so.
For example, you could take a daily CBD capsule, or place some CBD oil under your tongue.
You could also have a CBD edible, but be sure to choose one that doesn’t contain any sugars. If you want to take CBD edibles but can’t find any that are diabetic-friendly, then why not consider making some yourself? There are many recipes you can find online for CBD-based sugar-free gummies, cookies, and even CBD coffee.
Finally, vaping CBD is a good option to get a consistent dose of CBD throughout the day. But due to potential damage to your respiratory system, we wouldn’t recommend it unless you already happen to be vaping or smoking.
As things stand today, we still know very little about “Is CBD oil good for diabetes?”. There have only been a few studies on the topic, most of them conducted on animals. Some show that CBD doesn’t really work for diabetes, but that other compounds might (THCV for example.) Finally, some doctors warn against using CBD if you already take diabetes medication.
CBD and diabetes
2011 review on the role of the endocannabinoid system in metabolism and diabetes
2016 study on the effects of CBD and/or THCV on diabetes
2006 study on the role of CBD in preventing diabetes in mice
CBD for common side-effects of diabetes
2018 review of research on cannabinoids and pain
2010 review of studies on cannabinoids for inflammation
Risks and side effects
2019 review of potential interactions between cannabinoids and synthetic drugs