Can Cannabis Help Treat Type 2 diabetes?

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About 100 million people in the United States suffer from Type 2 diabetes, a chronic medical condition characterized by insulin resistance and high blood sugar. A healthy diet, insulin medications, and exercise can undoubtedly help manage the disease. However, evidence is mounting that cannabis (a psychoactive compound from Indian hemp plants) can help treat Type 2 diabetes effectively.  

What Causes Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes results when your body organ pancreas fails to synthesize sufficient insulin. When this happens, your body is unable to maintain normal blood glucose levels. Type 2 diabetes can also occur due to insulin resistance where your body is incapable to use the produced insulin.

Symptoms of diabetes include blurred vision, increased thirst, sudden weight loss, numbness in the hands or feet, fatigue, and increased appetite. The symptoms of Type 2 diabetes manifest slowly and progressively over the years. In fact, some people suffering from the condition do not exhibit any symptoms.

A number of factors can cause Type 2 diabetes, such as genes and lifestyle factors.

Sedentary Lifestyle and Genes

If you lead a sedentary lifestyle and are obese or overweight, you are more likely to suffer from this health condition. Excess weight gain can lead to a plethora of health-related problems, including insulin resistance and is common in individuals suffering from Type 2 diabetes. Further, extra fat around the belly is associated with heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and insulin resistance.

Certain genes may also make you more likely to develop this disease. Plus, they can also increase your tendency to gain weight, thereby elevating the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Obesity

Obesity is a health disorder involving an excessive amount of body fat that raises your risk of chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. Fortunately, a moderate weight loss can avert or ameliorate obesity-related health problems. You can definitely lose weight by making changes to your diet and increasing physical activity. Plus, weight-loss surgery and prescription medications can also help treat obesity.

Conversely, eating unhealthy foods and abstaining from exercise can cause chronic diseases, such as Type 2 diabetes. A body mass index (BMI) of 25 suggests that the person has optimal weight, and a BMI of 30 or above indicates that the individual is obese.

Cannabis and Obesity

According to a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, people who use cannabis are less likely to suffer from obesity than their peers who do not use the weed.  Another study published in the Journal of Addictive Diseases showed that women who were obese used less cannabis in the past year compared to women who had a lower body mass index (BMI). However, according to another research, in a sample of over 7,000 students aged between 11 and 17 years, girls who used cannabis habitually suffered from obesity. One study showed that weed use is linked with increased intake of calories, but is not tied to a higher BMI.

All these studies indicate a robust connection between healthy weight and cannabis. However, it is important to note that nutrition and exercise are still the keys to achieving a healthy weight.

Better Carbohydrate Metabolism

Current cannabis users are found to have better carbohydrate metabolism than people who do not use the herb.

A study published in The American Journal of Medicine investigated the relationship between metabolic processes and cannabis use. It included about 4657 women and men, out of which 49% of participants had smoked weed at least once during their lifetime, and 12% of participants smoked cannabis regularly. Current cannabis users were found to have 16% lower fasting insulin levels and 17% lower insulin resistance than former weed users and non-smokers.