Marijuana and Diabetes: Can Medical Marijuana Treat Diabetes?
If you were recently diagnosed with diabetes, you aren’t alone. Nearly 11% of the US population has diabetes, with 1.5 million new cases diagnosed each year.
There is good news, though. You can qualify for a legal medical marijuana prescription in Florida if you have diabetes.
How is that possible? Scientists are starting to uncover an interesting relationship between marijuana and diabetes. And this relationship could eventually change the way we treat this condition.
Want to learn more about why so many diabetics are using marijuana? Then you better keep reading for the answer to that question and more.
But First: Is Medical Marijuana for Diabetes Even Legal?
Medical marijuana has been legal in Florida since 2016. If you have one of the conditions listed in Amendment 2 of Senate Bill 8A (SB8A), a qualified physician can write you a prescription for cannabis. These conditions include:
- Crohn’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Terminal illnesses
- Some chronic pain conditions
Even if Amendment 2 doesn’t list your illness as a qualifying condition, you may still be eligible for a medical marijuana prescription.
How is that possible? SB8A also allows doctors to prescribe medical marijuana for “medical conditions of the same kind of class as comparable to those listed.”
What does that mean? As long as your condition interferes with or limits your daily activities, a physician can legally prescribe cannabis. So, if diabetes interferes with or limits your daily activities, you can get a legal medical cannabis prescription.
What the Research Says About Marijuana and Diabetes
You can get a medical marijuana prescription for diabetes, but what’s the benefit? Why use cannabis for diabetes in the first place?
Here’s what the research says.
Cannabis May Decrease the Risk of Obesity
Obesity is arguably the most significant risk factor for Type 2 diabetes. The good news? There’s evidence that medical marijuana may decrease the risk of becoming obese and, therefore, of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Yet, the exact relationship between cannabis and weight is complicated.
Some studies show that marijuana use causes weight gain. However, the participants in these studies have been exclusively cancer and HIV patients.
Other studies show the opposite — cannabis use is more common in people with lower body mass indexes (BMIs) than higher BMIs. The interesting thing is that the participants in these studies are people in the general population.
What could this mean? Theoretically, these results suggest that cannabis helps keep waistlines thin in healthy people. Meanwhile, it might boost the appetites of people with certain illnesses.
Still, we clearly need more research to determine the exact relationship between weed and BMI.
Cannabis Use Is Correlated With Blood Sugar Regulation
Two studies — one in 2013 and another in 2014 — looked into the impact of marijuana use on markers of diabetes.
The 2013 study published in the American Journal of Medicine recruited more than 4,600 male and female participants. 48% of these volunteers reported using weed at least once in their lifetime, and 12% were current users.
After controlling for age, gender, socioeconomic status, and alcohol and tobacco use, the researchers discovered something surprising. Current cannabis users had 16% lower fasting insulin levels and 17% lower insulin resistance.
What does that mean? High levels of fasting insulin and insulin resistance are usually correlated with Type 2 diabetes. Since current cannabis users had lower levels of these markers, it could mean that marijuana has positive effects on blood sugar regulation.
The 2014 study published in the Natural Medicine Journal looked at epidemiological evidence from nearly 5,000 patients, 578 of which were current marijuana users. 1,975 patients admitted to prior use of cannabis.
After a 9-hour fast, the participants’ fasting insulin and insulin resistance levels were taken. The researchers learned that patients who used cannabis either formerly or currently presented with lower levels of fasting insulin and insulin resistance.
This study validated the results from the 2013 study. However, the correlation between marijuana use and blood sugar regulation doesn’t equal causation. We need more research to know for sure.
CBD Could Be an Effective Diabetes Treatment
The following year in 2015, a team of researchers in Israel further investigated the relationship between cannabidiol (CBD) and diabetes.
The team started their research with one fact in mind: chronic inflammation plays a key role in Type 2 diabetes. Since CBD is also through to influence inflammation, the researchers hypothesized that it might affect diabetes, too.
What did they find? The researchers suggested that CBD could be an effective diabetes treatment. Some scientists even believe that CBD could eventually be a better treatment than insulin.
We need more research to confirm whether this statement has merit.
Anecdotal Evidence for the Benefits of Marijuana on Diabetes
The American Alliance for Medical Cannabis collected first-person anecdotal evidence from people who’ve tried marijuana for diabetes. People with diabetes report that they use cannabis to:
- Stabilize blood sugar
- Decrease arterial and neuro-inflammation
- Reduce muscle cramps
- Improve blood circulation
- Lower blood pressure
- Treat neuropathic pain
- Calm diabetic restless leg syndrome
Of course, research has yet to support these anecdotal reports fully. So, always speak to your doctor before incorporating cannabis in your diabetes treatment regimen.
Are You Ready to Try Medical Marijuana?
Medical marijuana is legal to use for diabetes. This natural compound may reduce some of the risk factors for diabetes. It could also be an effective treatment to help regulate blood sugars, but we need more research to confirm the theory.
Convinced marijuana and diabetes is a match made in heaven? So are we, which is why we want to help you get a medical marijuana prescription. Get in touch with us to make your appointment today!