What the science says behind using CBD oil for diabetes, including an analysis of risks and side effects.
In the UK, more people than ever suffer from diabetes. The growing problem affects nearly 4 million people with estimates suggesting numbers will rise to 5 million by 2025. Those with the condition require careful and consistent blood sugar management in order to avoid a series of harmful symptoms. We investigate how successful using CBD oil for diabetes has been as a treatment.
Studies have been conducted by research scientists into how CBD affects blood sugar levels, as well as how CBD affects secondary symptoms of diabetes. Therefore, scientists are beginning to understand how CBD may benefit those who need treatment for diabetes. We will collate the information found in these studies into an easy-to-understand guide to answer any questions you may have concerning using CBD for diabetes.
Table of Contents
Diabetes – Type 1 and Type 2, know the difference
Insulin is a hormone that is produced by the pancreas that controls the blood sugar levels in the body. Diabetes occurs when the body is unable to produce a sufficient amount of insulin or when the body can’t use insulin properly, resulting in a spike in blood sugar and a potential wealth of symptoms.
The two most common types of diabetes are type 1 and type 2.
Type 1 diabetes
Accounting for 10% of cases, type 1 diabetes is unpreventable and is generally apparent in people from a very young age, but also can be developed by adults. Caused by the person’s immune system attacking their insulin-producing pancreas cells, type 1 diabetes is a life-long illness that currently has no cure.
Type 2 diabetes
Accounting for 85% of cases, type 2 diabetes is generally caused by an unhealthy lifestyle and is, therefore, more often developed by adults. Unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes can be reversed if the individual adopts a healthy lifestyle.
Symptoms of Type 1 & Type 2
Many of the symptoms of type 1 and type 2 diabetes are similar, but they generally present themselves in different ways. Both types will suffer hunger, fatigue, weight loss and cuts & sores that don’t heal. Type 1 is more associated with mood swings and irritability, whereas type 2 involves numbness and tingling in limbs, sometimes resulting in loss of limb.
Type 2 diabetes is also a good indicator of an unhealthy lifestyle that may lead to other health conditions such as heart and kidney disease, as well as cancer and other obesity-related diseases.
CBD Oil for Diabetes – What is the relationship?
CBD has shown lots of promise in treating diabetes-related health problems, including inflammation causing pain problems which impact the production of insulin. CBD also helps to regulate the appetite, reduce fatigue and decrease pain which increases the overall well-being of those with diabetes.
How does CBD affect your blood sugars?
A scientific research study published in Diabetes Care in 2016 concluded that CBD alone reduced the concentration of a hormone called resistin, which is associated with obesity and insulin resistance. So, it may help the body produce and use insulin better. However, compared to the placebo and when taken on its own, it was inconclusive as to whether CBD helped to regulate the blood sugar level for type 2 diabetics.
CBD edibles – Do they contain sugar?
It is important to note that CBD edibles such as gummines and brownies, are generally high in processed sugars. CBD for the symptoms of health conditions such as diabetes works best when used in conjunction with a healthy, balanced diet and exercise, so CBD edibles that are high in processed sugars should be avoided.
Taking CBD to manage the symptoms of diabetes
Unfortunately, we will have to wait a bit longer for the cure for diabetes as it doesn’t appear CBD is it. However, it does show lots of promise in managing the secondary symptoms as a result of diabetes, when used in conjunction with effective insulin therapy.
Dr. Elaine Burns from the Southwest Medical Marijuana Evaluation Center in Arizona believes that CBD can be used as an additional treatment, rather than a replacement medication, stating, “I have not seen a lot of evidence that CBD could be a first-line of treatment for diabetes – nor have I seen that in my practice over the years,”
“However, what it can help with are the secondary issues caused by uncontrolled blood sugars such as inflammation, which is the cause of damage to the smaller blood vessels leading to diabetic neuropathies and eye damage.”
So, CBD is getting the thumbs up from some medical professionals to tackle the symptoms of diabetes, but unfortunately not to cure it.
Current research for CBD and diabetes
It’s a similar story for CBD and diabetes as it for CBD and of other conditions when looking at scientific research. There is a lack of conclusive clinical research to confirm what anecdotal stories on the internet are advising.
There are, however, lots of studies about CBD for diabetes that yield interesting results that warrant further research. These include: –
- A 2016 study on CBD in humans which shows it may help reduce obesity and improve insulin resistance.
- A 2006 study where CBD lowered the onset of diabetes in non-diabetic mice.
- A 2013 study from Harvard Medical School which suggests that marijuana helped to decrease insulin resistance and improve blood sugar levels.
- A 2019 study on diabetic rats which suggests that CBD reduces inflammation and improves memory performance.
- A 2006 study shows that CBD reduces inflammation and oxidative stress in diabetic rats.
- A 2010 preclinical study that suggests that CBD has great therapeutic potential in treating the symptoms of diabetes, along with a range of cardiovascular disorders.
Although at first glance, most of the studies listed show a positive correlation, most of the studies are on rodents and therefore require more testing for humans to be conclusive.
CBD dosage guide
The optimal dosage of CBD depends on a number of factors, including height, weight, metabolism and the condition you are suffering from. However, there is an agreed consensus on how to consume CBD correctly to get the most out of it.
The method involves starting small, gradually increasing the dosage and recording your findings in a diary. Starting with a dosage of 5mg in the first couple of days and gradually increasing in 5 mg increments every 3 days until the desired effects have been seen.
Most users of CBD will consume around 20-30 mg per day for relief of their symptoms.
What is cannabidiol (CBD)?
CBD is a compound that is found exclusively in the cannabis plant. Even though CBD was discovered in 1940, it has only recently taken a vast upturn in popularity, having been associated with helping with an abundance of different medical conditions.
Although it is derived from cannabis, any products containing CBD are legal to consume in the UK as long as they don’t contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main intoxicating component in cannabis that is commonly utilized for its recreational ‘high’. Following the extraction of CBD from the cannabis plant, it is placed into another medium (e.g. coconut oil or vape liquid) to allow for it to easily be consumed.
Side effects of CBD
CBD does not produce a ‘high’ like THC, nor it is addictive. It also doesn’t have the potential to be misused or have any recreational uses. Although it is found exclusively in the cannabis plant, CBD is considered by most as a medicine and a health and wellness supplement.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) state that CBD is perfectly safe for daily use, although a small number of people may endure some minor side-effects.
These include: –
- Changes in appetite
- Dizziness and drowsiness
- Nausea and sickness
Most people who consume CBD who suffer side effects generally continue using it, stating that the benefits of cannabidiol outweigh the negatives.
It is important to note that CBD may interact with existing medication, so it is advised that you speak to a trusted doctor before consuming CBD to ensure it does not have any adverse effects on your current medication.
CBD is well suited to treat the symptoms of autoimmune disorders, such as diabetes, but it doesn’t appear to hold the cure. People looking to treat diabetes in the first instance should go to their doctor, using CBD only as a secondary medication to help treat the symptoms of the illness.
In the UK, it’s going to be a long time before we see CBD prescribed for the symptoms of diabetes because CBD costs much more compared to pharmaceutical alternatives that your doctor is willing to prescribe. If you do opt to use CBD to help with the symptoms and live in the UK, you will have to purchase CBD yourself.