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cbd cream and diabetes

According to UCLA Health, “We now know the endocannabinoid system is involved in a wide variety of processes, including pain, memory, mood, appetite, stress, sleep, metabolism, immune function, and reproductive function. Endocannabinoids are arguably one of the most widespread and versatile signaling molecules known to man.”

Marijuana, on the other hand, contains much more THC and is a controlled substance. It is what produces a high or euphoric feeling.

What does the research say about CBD?

According to Rory Batt MSc, who studies the connection between the endocannabinoid system, CBD and type 2 diabetes, CBD may help boost pancreatic health in humans as well. “CBD can also help to protect the pancreas from becoming destroyed by overactive immune cells. Effectively, this means someone may be able to keep producing insulin themselves for longer. However, unless they ultimately change their diet as well, they will inevitably end up with a pancreas that cannot produce insulin—but CBD could significantly extend the time until that happens.”

People who want the health benefits without the high (which includes many patients with chronic diseases and pain) will purchase hemp CBD oil that contains less than 0.3 percent THC or is entirely THC-free.

Most of the CBD oils on the market are labeled “full-spectrum,” which means that they’re rich with almost all of the health-friendly compounds within the cannabis plant that are also not psychoactive. These include flavonoids (which are polyphenols and antioxidants), other cannabinoids, and terpenes (therapeutic compounds that have anti-inflammatory and antidiabetic effects). In other words, “full-spectrum” CBD contains natural compounds that can help boost your overall health and support your diabetes management regimen.

Ultimately, though, Brady says that her patients reported that CBD reduced their nerve pain and improved their blood sugar. She adds that those people who used CBD oils for nerve pain also reported sleeping better.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first CBD medication in 2018, for treating childhood epilepsy. Currently, there is no other FDA-approved CBD medication for diabetes or any other condition, according to the FDA. In December 2018, the FDA said it was unlawful under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to sell food or dietary supplements containing CBD. In April 2019, the FDA stated that it would be taking new steps to evaluate cannabis products, and it held a public hearing about cannabis products in May 2019.

Scientific Studies on CBD and Type 2 Diabetes, and Barriers to Research

Still, in the aforementioned survey, 78 percent of people used cannabis that was not prescribed by a doctor. “Diabetes patients might still use cannabis for medical reasons, but not have a prescription,” says Omayma Alshaarawy, MBBS, PhD, an assistant professor in the department of family medicine at Michigan State University in East Lansing, who led the study. Recreational use is another factor. She points to a separate study, published September 2019 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, that found that more than 50 percent of people with medical conditions such as diabetes or cancer use cannabis recreationally.

That there are so few studies of CBD in people with type 2 diabetes has to do with a lack of focus on CBD as an individual component. Historically, cannabinoids (a group of chemicals in the cannabis plant) have been lumped together, including CBD, THC, and more than 100 others. The 1970 U.S. Controlled Substances Act classifies cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug with the highest restrictions. Currently, 33 states and the District of Columbia allow cannabis for medical use and 11 states allow cannabis for recreational use.

If you’re managing type 2 diabetes, it’s natural to be curious about whether CBD might help you manage those symptoms, too, to help stabilize your blood sugar. In fact, the prevalence of cannabis use increased by 340 percent among people with diabetes from 2005 to 2018, according to a study published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence in July 2020, which surveyed people on their use of cannabis (CBD or THC, in any form) in the previous 30 days.

Dr. Elaine Burns, medical director of The Southwest Medical Marijuana Evaluation Center in Arizona, recommends CBD as an additional treatment, rather than a replacement medication. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

However, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial among human participants revealed less favorable results. The 2016 study published in Diabetes Care showed that CBD yielded no effect on glycemic control compared with a placebo. Glycemic control is essential to the successful management of diabetes and its associated symptoms.

The study did, however, find that the non-intoxicating cannabinoid delta-9-tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) significantly decreased one of the blood levels used to screen for diabetes. THCV also improved the function of pancreatic cells.

What the experts say

“CBD can most effectively be used as part of a lifestyle approach, along with diet and exercise, to treat, prevent, and manage exacerbating symptoms of chronic neuropathic diabetic pain, inflammation, and some of the mood disorders characteristic of diabetes.” DeLuca also notes that CBD may also encourage faster metabolism of food to help prevent or manage obesity.

A 2019 study published in the Springer journal Neurotoxicity Researchfound that the neuroprotective effects of CBD were instrumental in preventing inflammation and improving memory function in the brains of middle-aged diabetic rats.

“Taking CBD oil at night helps me prevent the dawn effect, or elevated morning blood sugars,” Kyle said. She also observes that taking CBD oil on and off for two years has helped her to reduce her anxiety, and fall asleep more easily.

DeLuca states that there is good reason to believe CBD may benefit patients with diabetes. “Diabetes is an autoimmune disease and CBD is generally and particularly well-suited for the symptoms of autoimmune disease: chronic pain, inflammation, anxiety, and neuropathy.”