Can CBD treat Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes?

According to the World Health Organization,1 the global prevalence of Diabetes among adults over 18 years of age has risen from 4.7% in 1980 to 8.5% in 2014. Diabetes is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke, and lower limb amputation.

Diabetes is caused due to sugar builds up in the blood as a result of low or complete lack of insulin production by the body. The pancreas is an organ which is vital for the release of insulin. It opens the cells to allow glucose to enter the system.

Early diagnosis is vital as it can lead to serious health complications such as blindness and kidney failure. In severe circumstances, it can even result in the lower extremity of amputations.

The difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes

Early diagnosis of diabetes is important as it will distinguish the type of diabetes an individual may have – either type 1 or type 2. The various tests for diagnosis include: hemoglobin test, fastening blood sugar and glucose tolerance. Also, there are some common symptoms for both types of diabetes, which should not lead to assumptions on the type of diabetes an individual may have.

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Usually, the common assumptions are that those suffering from type 1 diabetes tend to be underweight while those suffering from type 2 diabase are overweight. This is not always the case.
Most importantly, both types of diabetes are chronic, and the common symptoms include: drinking a lot of water, frequent urination, fatigue, and blurry vision. The primary difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes lie in the causes and to some extent, the symptoms. The video below has a great explanation of type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Cause

Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease and Type 2 Diabetes is a metabolic condition. The latter is a result of the body not being able to produce enough insulin and can be because of a person’s lifestyle, genetic condition or even environmental factors. Type 1 diabetes, mostly, is a result of the failure of the body to produce insulin.

Lack of production of insulin can be a result of the immune system destroying the beta cells in the pancreases which are responsible for the production of insulin. When the immune system senses foreign invaders, it fights them. In some instances, however, the immune system can mistake the body cells for the foreign invaders, destroying them completely. This is one such case where the immune system destroys the beta cells.

Symptoms

Besides the common symptoms, there are some unique symptoms for each type of diabetes. For type 1 diabetes, the patient develops mood changes, irritability, and drastic weight loss. In type 2 diabetes, however, the patient’s hands may tangle, or he or she may even experience numbness.

The symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes typically show in later in age. Those who suffer from Type 1 Diabetes will notice the symptoms a few weeks after developing the condition. There is no particular age that either condition attacks more or regular body screening are necessary for people of all ages.

Conventional non-CBD treatment methods

The most common conventional treatment is maintaining a healthy diet, weight reduction, along with drug therapy. In most cases, however, these treatments have adverse side effects.

Diabetic diet aims to control the sugar level in the blood. For someone who has diabetes, the amount of fiber, fats, carbohydrates, and proteins has to be proportional. Also, meal timing is fundamental, and the person should at least have three balanced diet meals in a day. This type of medication works for both type 1 and also type 2 diabetes.
Although it is not proper to assume that only patients with type 2 diabetes tend to be overweight, it is a common scenario for such patients. For overweight patients, weight control is, therefore, an important process as a form of treatment of type 2 diabetes. For weight loss, a patient with type 2 diabetes needs regular exercise which increases the sensitivity to insulin, controlling the sugar levels. Aerobic and weightlifting exercises can achieve this.
Drug therapy is definitely one of the best most known treatments for diabetes. In fact, most doctors suggest drug therapy at the initial stages of treatment. A number of drugs could be given to the patient. In some cases, it can only be one drug while in other cases, it can be a combination of drugs. The most common drugs used to treat Type 2 Diabetes are Metformin and Sulfonylurea. These medications lower the level of glucose being produced in the liver. 
Insulin therapy involves the strict addition of insulin into the bloodstream. It has to be administered in the same manner that it would be produced by the pancreases and in the same portions. Since it is complex to duplicate this process, insulin therapy is best achieved by a combination of the exercises and appropriate diabetic diet. Insulin can be administered using a syringe, pre-filled pen, an insulin pump or even an insulin inhaler. 
This is also among the process of diabetes treatment. Its aim is, however, to reduce the weight of the diabetic patient. Conventional non-CBD treatment of diabetes can often have its side effects. In fact; some can lead to acquiring other illnesses. In some cases, like when using drugs, the body might become resistant to the drug after some time. Other infections associated with these treatment methods include bladder cancer and hypoglycemia. 

Common Complications

If Diabetes is not detected early enough, it can lead to complications. This includes both short and long-term complications. Hypoglycemia is an example of a short-term complication which develops when there is a lack of blood sugar in the body. Serious complications may occur if the disease has advanced. Some of the well-known complications are cardiovascular diseases, nerve and kidney damage.

  • Cardiovascular diseases

Cardiovascular diseases are challenging to manage in their extreme cases and are the leading causes of death for diabetic people. Diabetic patients may develop coronary artery diseases, chest pain, stroke, heart attack or even damage to the arteries. The most common cause of death, in this case, is a heart attack.

Related article: CBD and the Cardiovascular System

  • Nerve damage

When the insulin produced by the pancreases is not sufficient for the metabolism, or when there is completely no insulin in the whole body, as a result of this, the excess sugar injures the walls of the capillaries. As a result, the nerves cannot be nourished leading to their damage. The most common places one may feel pain is on the foot as the nerves at this place are not nourished.

  • Kidney damage

Kidney damage is also referred to as nephropathy. Excessive sugar in the blood damages the glomeruli: The filtering system in the kidneys and this may result in kidney failure or in some cases, kidney diseases that cannot be treated or reversed. There is therefore extreme damage to the kidney.

  • Other conditions

Apart from the conditions mentioned above, other common conditions associated with diabetes include; hearing impairment, skin conditions, anxiety and also depression.

 Using CBD to treat Diabetes

Natural cannabinoids are a great option for treating and controlling Diabetes. This treatment involves the use of extracts from cannabis – the plant which has a positive effect on both metabolism and insulin. The pancreas cannabinoid receptor cells ensure that there is a normal regulation of glucose2.

CBD for type 1 Diabetes

According to studies, CBD can delay the onset of Diabetes. It can also be used to reduce the occurrence of the disease significantly. This is because CBD contains autoimmune abilities3.  Type 1 diabetes is caused by the immune system attacks on the beta cells. These beta cells are responsible for the production of insulin. CBD can prevent the cells from being destroyed. This maintains normal metabolism in the body. Hence, Glucose tolerance is improved and inflammation of the pancreas reduced. CBD oil is also responsible for the regulation of the oxidative oil in the kidneys.

CBD for Type 2 Diabetes

The insulin produced by the pancreas is not sufficient for the body’s metabolism. The receptor cells in the pancreas enhance the activation of CB1 which in turn increases the production of insulin. Chronic inflammation is one of the main causes of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD4 can therefore be beneficial for the regulation of blood sugar and the improvement of insulin resistance5.

Scientists believe that CBD, as an antagonist of CB1 receptors, can be used to treat metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes. Thus, CBD oil could increase the metabolism rate and counteract the obesity caused by diabetes6.

CBD dosage for Diabetes – how much CBD should you take

There are a number of factors that need to be considered when looking for the perfect dosage of CBD for you. Some of them are:

  • Your state of health or discomfort
  • How severe your complaints are
  • Metabolism
  • How you react to CBD
  • Body weight
  • Sensitivity to cannabis
  • Your personal body chemistry (including any other medications you are taking)

Based on the guide in the book by Leinow & Birnbaum  “CBD: A patient’s guide to Medical Cannabis” we recommend the Step-Up method. By using this method, you you gradually increase the dose until the desired results are achieved.

Leinow & Birnbaum recommend to start with a sandard dose for diabetes. Read more about the standard dose and find out how to correctly dose your CBD oil in our article on CBD dosing:

Research on CBD and Diabetes

There has been both preliminary and advanced research on the effectiveness of CBD oil in treating diabetes. Most of the results indicate that CBD oil is suitable for the prevention, management, and treatment of diabetes7.

Physicians and researchers argue that the human body has cannabinoid receptors in almost every part of the body and most strategically, in the pancreas. Also, studies indicate that CB1 receptors have links with the production of insulin and can also cure the common medical conditions related to diabetes8. This type of medication has a lot of therapeutic benefits and can be used to regulate sugar.

Studies have also concluded that CBD oil not only increases insulin production, but could also be used in patients who have already developed diabetes. CBD could also increase the metabolic rate and ensure that calories are burned sufficiently. Type 2 diabetes in its severe form can also lead to severe pain after some time. Various research results suggest that CBD has therapeutic advantages in pain therapy9

CBD Oil for Diabetes: Conclusion

Diabetes is one of the most common diseases in the world today. Almost one in every four people have it. Majority of the people do not notice that they have developed the disease until it is in its late stages. In such cases, the effects are adverse. CBD oil, according to research, does not only prevent but also treats the diseases, including other related conditions that may develop as a result of diabetes.

Although more research is still being developed regarding the use of CBD oil, evidence indicates that it has more therapeutic benefits compared to other common treatments which may cause more side effects.

References

  1. Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (2018). CANNABIDIOL (CBD). [online] World Health Organization []
  2. Weiss, Lola, et al. „Treating or preventing diabetes with cannabidiol.“ U.S. Patent No. 8,071,641. 6 Dec. 2011. []
  3. Weiss, L. et. al (2006). Cannabidiol lowers incidence of diabetes in non-obese diabetic mice. Autoimmunity, 39(2), pp.143-151. []
  4. Nagarkatti, Prakash, et al. „Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs.“ Future medicinal chemistry 1.7 (2009): 1333-1349 []
  5. Di Marzo, Vincenzo, Fabiana Piscitelli, and Raphael Mechoulam. „Cannabinoids and endocannabinoids in metabolic disorders with focus on diabetes.“ Diabetes-Perspectives in Drug Therapy. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, 2011. 75-104. []
  6. Grotenhermen, Franjo, Markus Berger, and Kathrin Gebhardt. Cannabidiol (CBD): Ein cannbishaltiges Compendium. Nachtschatten Verlag, 2015. []
  7. Weiss, L., et al. „Cannabidiol lowers incidence of diabetes in non-obese diabetic mice.“ Autoimmunity 39.2 (2006): 143-151 []
  8. Grotenhermen, Franjo, Markus Berger, and Kathrin Gebhardt. Cannabidiol (CBD): Ein cannbishaltiges Compendium. Nachtschatten Verlag, 2015. []
  9. Weiss, Lola, et al. „Cannabidiol arrests onset of autoimmune diabetes in NOD mice.“ Neuropharmacology 54.1 (2008): 244-249. []
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