Gone are the days when insulin injections, lifestyle changes, and surgery are the only known ways of treating or managing diabetes. Since breaking to the market in the recent years, CBD oil has been ever-increasing in acceptance and popularity thanks to its wide spectrum of health benefits including treatment of diabetes.
A prevalent condition affecting a whopping 422 million of the world population. Can CBD oil help treat diabetes? If yes, how? The answers to these and many more are embedded in this article.
To start with, what is diabetes?
Diabetes is simply a medical condition characterized by elevated level of sugar (glucose) in the blood either due to the inability of the body to synthesize insulin or to use it properly. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas which regulates the metabolism of blood sugar (glucose) and other nutrients. After digestion, the hormone plays a central role in the absorption of glucose in the blood into the cells to yield energy. Thus, excessive level of glucose in the bloodstream results when the body is unable to make or use insulin effectively.
Types of diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is a health condition which occurs when the immune system of the body mistakenly attacks the insulin-producing cells (beta cells) in the pancreas. As a result, there is no or little insulin to transport glucose into the body cells, leading to accumulation of sugar in the blood. T1D has no known cure and cannot be prevented.
Diabetes mellitus type 2 is the most prevalent type of the condition, accounting for about 90 percent of diabetic cases in adults. It is a chronic condition that kicks in when the pancreas is not synthesizing enough insulin or when the body no longer respond to it (insulin resistance).
Though the precise cause of TD2 is not yet known, the contributing factors include obesity, unhealthy diet and eating habits, lack of good exercise (inactivity), etc. Non-insulin dependent diabetes, as it also called, has genetic predisposition – people with family history of the disease have higher chances of developing it.
Now, let’s talk about the rave of the moment, CBD oil
Oils containing significant amounts of cannabidiol are called CBD oils. Cannabidiol (CBD), unlike other cannabinoids, is non psychoactive, making it a suitable replacement for tetrahydrocannabinol (TBH). The compound responsible for the euphoric effect of marijuana. CBD oil is a health panacea as it is very effective in the treatment of variety of health conditions with no side effects. The oil is best extracted with ethanol or supercritical CO2.
CBD oil and diabetes
The recent discovery of endocannabinoids system is an eye-opener to the potential of CBD in treatment and management of diabetes. According to Dr Raphael Mechoulam, a researcher at HUJ (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), CB (endocannabinoid) receptors are naturally occurring throughout the body including the brain, immune systems, organs, and in particular, in the islet of Langerhans where insulin is produced.
Stimulation of the endocannabinoid (CB) receptors of the pancreas has been closely associated with insulin production. So promising is the research of the use of CBD oil for treating diabetes that endocannabinoid system (ECS) has been suggested to be the “most important physiological system” in the regulation of homeostasis – normal working condition of the body. Another deductible fact from the preliminary studies is the ability of CBD in treatment and prevention of medical conditions linked to diabetes.
Lying at the center of both disease types are oxidative stress, immune system and chronic inflammation. All of which are targeted by cannabinoids.
CBD and type 1 diabetes
Though no amount of cannabis intake can take the place of insulin, scientists strongly believe that cannabinoids can help slow down diabetes in its initial stage owing to the ability of the plant to regulate the immune system and prevent excessive inflammation.
Research conducted using cannabinoids on autoimmune diabetic test subjects (mice) revealed that the compound “ameliorates the manifestations of the disease. Diabetes was diagnosed in only 32% of the mice in the CBD-treated group, compared to 86% and 100% in the emulsifier-treated and untreated groups, respectively”. In addition, the level of the antioxidant cytokine -IL-10 increases while there is a significant reduction in the number of pro-inflammatory markers compared to the control subjects.
Another similar research using the psychoactive variety, tetrahydrocannabinol (TBH) found a reduced level of hyperglycemia, lowered inflammatory markers and decrease in insulin loss in autoimmune diabetic mice. All this signify that, when taken in the early stage of type 1 diabetes, cannabinoids could hold the potential to help treat or better still, manage the condition.
Type 2 diabetes and CBD
As revealed by a randomized study carried out by GW Pharmaceutical, a British Pharmaceutical company, all the 62 type 2 diabetic subjects showed a reduction in blood sugar levels, improved pancreas function and better insulin response. A 5- year study carried out in the United States on cannabis effects on insulin resistance and fasting sugar indicated that regular cannabis takers have lower insulin resistance and lower level of fasting insulin compared to respondents that had never taken cannabis in their lives.This further suggests the ability of the plant to regulate metabolism in the body.
Being a powerful antioxidant, cannabinoid has been shown to combat disorders of glucose metabolism and improve carbohydrate metabolism. CBD also helps in nerve damage (neuropathy), a condition closely linked to diabetes. Cannabidiol is a potent neuroprotectant, thus reduces dead cell areas (infarcts) by 30 percent.
In the same vein, cannabidiol help prevents diabetic retinopathy, since vascular inflammation is the main cause of the condition. It also relieves diabetics of “restless leg syndrome” (RLS), prevents oxidative stress and atherosclerosis. According to the CEO Of ISA, Mark Rosenfeld, “Unlike insulin, CBD diabetes treatment may actually suppress, and perhaps cure the disease,” a hope all diabetes patients are hanging on.
For diabetics, the use of CBD oil for treating diabetes couldn’t come at a better time. However, the oils are of different tincture and quality. Moreover, the needed dosage differs based on the type of CBD oil you use. Similarly, while almost all the patients find the oil therapeutic, the effects of oil on diabetes patient is not the same.Therefore, it best to make your findings or talk to a specialist to know the best CBD oil for your condition.