With overnight marijuana delivery and the cannabis industry growing on a global scale, there are many people who are now considering the use of cannabis as an alternative treatment option. There are many anecdotal reports from patients that use cannabis for various symptoms, including diabetes. But just how does marijuana interact with the body and the bodily systems and functions? And how can marijuana be a power plant for those that are struggling to manage diabetes?
The most widely accepted risks for type 2 diabetes are genetics and a family history of diabetes, obesity, lack of exercise, an unbalanced diet and unhealthy food. Other factors that can contribute to a higher risk profile for type 2 diabetes are unhealthy lifestyle habits such as excessive alcohol and smoking nicotine products.
So How does this Relate to Cannabis?
To answer this, a working understanding of the plant’s phytocannabinoids and how they communicate with the body’s endocannabinoid system is needed.
What are Cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids are distinguished as chemical compounds that interact with cannabinoid receptors located in cells. And not just any cells, but these particular cells are responsible for modulating and regulating the neurotransmitter release in the brain. The most commonly studied receptors are the CB1 and CB2 receptors.
What are the Phytocannabinoids?
Phytocannabinoids are the cannabinoid compounds located within a plant. The two primary cannabinoids from the cannabis plant that have been receiving plenty of attention in media are THC and CBD, that is; tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol respectively.
What are Endocannabinoids?
Endocannabinoids are the cannabinoids that are located inside (endo) the body. And not only the human body- rice, mats, and most mammals have an endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is a lipid signaling system and regulates many significant functions such as metabolic processes, inflammatory processes, and neuronal functions. The endocannabinoid system is also involved in the modulation of pain and inflammation.
How Do the Phytocannabinoids Interact with the Endocannabinoids?
Studies performed on animals, mainly mice and rats, have revealed that the CBD cannabinoid can delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.
The endocannabinoid system is involved in regulating the glucose and lipid metabolism. However, when there is an imbalance in the intake of energy (excess ‘junk’ foods and sugar), or an inability to correctly process foods, the endocannabinoid system can become dysregulated.
This dysregulation can become a trigger for the onset of type 2 diabetes.
When phytocannabinoids such as CBD and THC are introduced to the endocannabinoid system, there are two main receptors that are affected; CB1 and CB2.
The anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties of cannabis can be attributed to CBD’s agonist activity with the CB1 receptor.
Because of the phytocannabinoids interaction with the endocannabinoid system, cannabis use has been associated with the following possible health benefits:
- Stabilization of blood sugars (this is primarily supported by the rising tide of anecdotal reports)
- Arterial inflammation is a common side effect of diabetes and can trigger cardiovascular disease. Cannabis could potentially suppress this inflammation and delay the onset of cardiovascular disease.
- Cannabinoids interact with receptors in both the brain and the body. One of the most common symptoms of diabetes, neuropathic pain, and nerve inflammation, can be reduced because of this interaction.
- Cannabis could significantly reduce blood pressure.
- Circulation could be improved
- Pain management, especially muscle cramps and GI pains and disorders.
- The cannabinoids can also be extracted and used in the form of a topical. This cream can then be used to treat pain and tingling- common unpleasant side effects associated with diabetes.
- Research has shown that cannabinoids from the cannabis plant can also reduce fluid pressure within the eye (intraocular pressure). This can assist those that suffer from glaucoma- another illness that can be triggered by diabetes.
How can Cannabis Assist with Insulin Production and Regulation?
THCV and CBD are two phytocannabinoids that come from the cannabis plant and they have been studied for the connection between insulin production and management. These two cannabinoids have a positive effect on the blood glucose and metabolic system.
This study revealed that these two specific cannabinoids lowered glucose levels and raise the rate of insulin production in humans with type 2 diabetes.
Are There any Negative Side Effects of Cannabis Use?
Like all new products, it is important to use care and common sense- especially when more research is required to lock down potential positive and negative side effects. Although there has never been a recorded cannabis-related death, there are several reported side effects:
- Dry mouth
- Memory and perception problems
- Inability to focus
- Increased anxiety
- Increased heart and pulse rate
What the mainstream media is only just beginning to uncover is that there are many different varieties of cannabis, and some can have drastically different effects. Two different cannabis strains- with vastly different cannabinoid, flavonoid and terpene profiles- can have extremely different effects. For example, one type can ease anxiety while still allowing the consumer an alert state of mind and increased focus while another type could send the user into a spiral of anxiety and increased pulse rate.
The following are the top 3 strains reported to be the favorite among those using cannabis to manage diabetes:
This strain has a high level of the CBD cannabinoid and lower levels of THC. Harlequin generally has a CBD: THC ratio of 5:2. This means that the CBD can balance the psychoactive effects of THC, eliminating the potential for increased anxiety. Harlequin can provide an experience that is relaxed and positive while easing any pain. Most dispensaries offer this strain with overnight marijuana delivery.
- Doug’s Varin
This rare strain may be more difficult to locate, with only some dispensaries offering it with overnight marijuana delivery or in-store pickup. Unlike Harlequin, Doug’s Varin is grown to have high levels of THCV. THCV is not as psychoactive as THC and is one of the most promising phytocannabinoids in treating diabetes.
This strain does also contain higher levels of THC and is known to be a potent strain that provides an energetic experience.
- Sour Tsunami
This strain is famous for the high CBD content that it contains. Sour Tsunami is great to use during the daytime as it generally contains equal levels of THC and CBD, having a 1:1 ratio. This strain is a favorite amongst medicinal marijuana users that want to have a clear and focused mindset with a calm and relaxed body.
There still needs to be more research to done to identify the exact science behind using marijuana as a treatment for diabetes. However, so far it is clear the CBD, THCV and THC cannabinoids offer significant promise for those looking for a natural way to manage, treat and even prevent diabetes.