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cbd topical and diabetes webmd

CBD’s got real potential in a wide variety of health conditions. There are currently more than 75 human studies of cannabidiol that are active, recruiting volunteers or in planning stages for conditions ranging from seizures to anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, Crohn’s disease, heart failure, Parkinson’s disease, bipolar depression, and cocaine dependence .7

Between 2015 and 2018, the US Food and Drug Administration sent warning letters to companies that marketed CBD products, over claims and testimonials that oils and other products could treat diabetes and other conditions—including cancer. The FDA also warned that in some cases, lab tests showed that the products contained no CBD.

In fact, one of the only studies to ever look directly at the effects of cannabidiol on blood sugar and insulin levels in people with diabetes found no benefits at all. 8 Published in the journal Diabetes Care in October of 2016, this British study compared the effects of CBD and another cannabis compound (tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV)) on blood sugar, insulin sensitivity, HDL cholesterol and other markers in 62 people with type 2 diabetes.

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“The FDA has taken recent actions against companies distributing unapproved CBD products. These products have been marketed in a variety of formulations, such as oil drops, capsules, syrups, teas, and topical lotions and creams. These companies have claimed that various CBD products could be used to treat or cure serious diseases such as cancer with no scientific evidence to support such claims. We’re especially concerned when these products are marketed for serious or life-threatening diseases, where the illegal promotion of an unproven compound could discourage a patient from seeking other therapies that have proven benefits.” 11

You won’t find those unfounded treatment claims and miracle-cure testimonials on product websites anymore. But they are turning up more and more frequently on other websites. When the drug Epidiolex won approval in the US this summer, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, warned consumers about the dangers this could pose. “The promotion and use of these unapproved products may keep some patients from accessing appropriate, recognized therapies to treat serious and even fatal diseases,” Dr. Gottlieb said in a statement.

Dr. Bhatia says that while CBD oil can have an important role to play in medicine, its difficult finding unbiased information. “The controversy surrounding cannabis has to do with the tug of war between medical purpose and recreational use—not to mention big money,” she notes on her website. “I think for now it is best to try it for the conditions recommended. For example—epilepsy, pain, Crohn’s disease or Inflammatory Bowel Disease,” she told On Track Diabetes.

It may also ease the pain of peripheral neuropathy, she says. But people with diabetes shouldn’t expect it to lower their glucose levels or their A1Cs. “I have never seen anyone stop needing their diabetes medications because they started using CBD or cannabis,” she says.

In Nevada, where Dr. Brady used to work as a certified diabetes educator, her patients with type 2 diabetes used CBD for nerve pain. She says patients would use CBD in a tincture or in oils that they rubbed on painful areas, including their feet. Patients could buy CBD at medical marijuana dispensaries, which would offer dosing instructions. "They worried about the impact on their blood sugars,” says Brady.

But does it work for treating diabetes? Some healthcare professionals say CBD may have a role to play, but it's important to understand that the only health condition CBD has proved effective for is epilepsy in kids. The jury is unfortunately still out, owing to the lack of comprehensive research on CBD and type 2 diabetes.

How People With Type 2 Diabetes Are Using CBD

The trendy complementary treatment is rising in popularity. Here’s what you need to know before you use CBD to manage type 2 diabetes.

Vaping liquids were the most commonly mislabeled CBD products in the study. The International Research Center on Cannabis and Health in New York City warns that consumers should not purchase vape products from unregulated and illicit markets. A small investigation by the Associated Press in 2019 showed that some CBD vapes had synthetic marijuana.

Jackson says that Realm of Caring does not offer medical advice, and it does not grow or sell cannabis. Instead, it offers education for clients and doctors about cannabis, based on its ever-growing registry of CBD users, their conditions, side effects, and administration regimen. “We are basically educating,” says Jackson. “We want you to talk to your doctor about the information you receive."