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Diabetes produces high blood sugar because insulin production is either inadequate, the body’s cells don’t respond properly to insulin, or both (Horvath 2012). Insulitis is the inflammation of a specific type of cell in the pancreas that is commonly observed in diabetes patients. Type 1 diabetes mellitus is an autoimmune disorder that results in the destruction of insulin producing pancreatic cells. Obesity is the main risk factor for type 2 diabetes, which leads to an insulin resistance in the body. Obesity is the largest preventable killer in the developed world and causes a host of problems within the human body.
The endocannabinoid system or ECS acts as a messenger to send signals to regulate a whole host of functions throughout the human body. The ECS is thought to participate in the metabolism of fat and sugar. When our energy intake is unbalanced, the ECS can lose its homeostasis and become overactive, leading to fat accumulation and the onset of several metabolic risk factors that are associated with obesity and type 2 diabetes (Di Marzo 2008).
CBD treatment has shown to significantly reduce the incidence of diabetes and insulitis in mice. It is thought that CBD possibly acts as an antagonist agent to the cannabinoid receptors, changing the way they signal and regulate the body’s functions (Weiss 2008). CBD has shown promise in the treatment of metabolic disorders such as obesity and type 2 diabetes, as well as an ability to retard specific cell damage in type 1 diabetes (Di Marzo 2011). CBD has also been shown to alleviate an abnormally large appetite for food without the side effects of other drugs, such as depression and reduced insulin sensitivity. CBD is thought to have an immune- modulating effect, which helps lessen the progression of atherosclerosis (plaque build up in the arteries) caused by high blood sugar levels (Kleiner 2012).
In fact, contrary to what you might think; researchers have found a lower prevalence of obesity and diabetes in cannabis users compared to those who have never used, suggesting a relationship between cannabinoids and metabolic processes (Penner 2013). Cannabis use is associated with lower fasting insulin levels, and surprisingly, smaller waist circumferences, and lower body mass index (BMI). This is despite the fact that cannabis use is associated with a larger caloric intake.
The full mechanisms of how this process works in the body are yet unknown, but recent research is showing that CBD and other cannabinoids are integral to the body’s metabolic processes and may provide the key to tackling obesity and obesity-related diseases in the future.
Bela Horvath, Partha Mukhopadhyay, Gyorgy Hasko, Pal Pacher. “The endocannabinoid system and plant-derived cannabinoids in diabetes and diabetic complications.” Am J Pathol., 2012: 432-442.
Di Marzo V, Piscitelli F, Mechoulam R. “Cannabinoids and endocannabinoids in metabolic disorders with a focus on diabetes.” Handb Exp Pharmacol, 2011: 75-104. Kleiner D, Ditroi K. “The potential use of cannabidiol in the therapy of metabolic syndrome.” Orv Hetil, 2012: 499-504.
L Weiss, M Zeira, S Reich, S Slavin, I Raz, R Mechoulam, R Gallily. “Cannabidiol arrests onset of autoimmune diabetes in NOD mice.” Neuropharmacology, 2008: 244-249.
M Rajesh, P Mukhopadhyay, S Batkai, et al. “Cannabidiol attenuates cardiac dysfunction, oxidative stress, fibrosis, inflammatory and cell death signaling pathways in diabetic cardiomyopathy.” J Am Coll Cardiol. , 2010: 2115-25.
Penner E, Buettner H, Mittleman M. “The Impact of Marijuana use on glucose, insulin and insulin resistance among US adults.” The American Journal of Medicine, 2013: 583-589.
V, Di Marzo. “The endocannabinoid system in obesity and type 2 diabetes.” Diabetologia, 2008: 1356-67.
Weiss, Zeira, Reich, Har-Noy, Mechoulam, Slavin, Gallily. “Cannabidiol lowers incidence of diabetes in non-obese diabetic mice.” Autoimmunity, 2006: 143-51.