Affecting millions of people worldwide, diabetes is known to be a very complicated disease. The high blood glucose levels found in diabetic people cause complications such as heart-related diseases, kidney problems, diabetic neuropathy, diabetic retinopathy, amongst a host of other complications. As such, a diabetic person is always on the lookout for something natural that can provide some relief to his or her condition. One such natural therapy is the use of the drug which is slowly gaining recognition for its medicinal properties. Although illicit in most of the countries, marijuana’s medicinal properties simply cannot be ignored.
In this article, we shall try to explore the benefits and risks of taking marijuana by diabetic patients and try to answer the question “Does Marijuana Help with Diabetes?”
Table of Contents
What is Marijuana?
Marijuana is also known as cannabis. In order to understand the relationship between diabetes and marijuana, you first need to understand the meaning of marijuana and what is it all about.
Now legally used in 28 different American states for medical purposes, marijuana is actually the buds of the female flower that you get from either of plants known as Cannabis sativa, Cannabis Indica, or a hybrid of both the plants. Due to the presence of chemicals such as Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, cannabidiol or CBD, amongst a host of other chemicals,the plant provides the psychoactive feeling when you use the drug. It is not legal to use marijuana in most of the states and countries because of the effects the plant can cause:
- increase in the pulse rate
- You feel light headed
- Dry mouth
- Dizzy spells
- Poor memory as well as concentration
- Loss of balance and proper coordination in the body movements
However, the plant cannot be ignored completely because of the immense medicinal benefits that it is known to cause. The following chemicals present in marijuana offers the plant its numerous health benefits:
THC: This is the chemical that largely contributes to the psychological effects that the drug is known to cause. The chemical is known to have pain-relieving properties. It helps in building up the metabolism of the body as well.
CBD: The anti-psychotic properties present in this chemical goes a long way in maintaining the balance of anxiety that you feel owing to the THC chemical. It is anti-inflammatory in nature as well.
THCA: This chemical is hugely responsible for protecting and strengthening the immunity system of the body.
THCV: This chemical plays an important role in helping you in managing your weight because the chemical is known to reduce your appetite.
Apart from the above, there is another chemical with the name CBN. However, as compared to the other chemicals, this particular chemical does not have many known health benefits.
Following are a host of benefits that this plant has to offer for those who are suffering from diabetes:
Benefits of Taking Marijuana in Diabetes
As seen above, the chemicals present in marijuana have a number of health benefits. Following are the advantages which this drug offers when taken by a person who has diabetes:
- CBD is known to cause improvement in the immune system of the body. It enhances the metabolism of glucose in the body. The pancreatic beta cells which get damaged due to weak immunity are therefore protected. Due to all these effects, it is known that marijuana can, in fact, delay the onset of type 1 diabetes in the patients.
- With the presence of the THC chemical in the plant, less and less insulin is required to maintain the stable levels of blood glucose in the body.
- THCV further helps to manage diabetes effectively by improving the sensitivity of the body towards the hormone insulin.
- As we know, the immunity of the body is further weakened when you are in stress as stress releases hormones that not only weakens immunity but also makes you fat. As seen above, marijuana helps to reduce stress to a great extent. All this goes a long way in helping you better manage diabetes.
- Many people are of the belief that when you intake marijuana, you have the tendency to eat a lot of munchies. So, this can increase weight. Although it is true that by taking in the popular drug, you do get cravings for popular munchies, but the effect on your overall metabolism is very positive and strong. The overall effect, therefore, is better metabolism and no weight gain.
- Besides, you can lose further weight as CBD present in the plant goes a long way in reducing your overall appetite for food. Weight management, further helps in controlling diabetes, particularly type 2 diabetes.
- One of the most dangerous complications of diabetes is that of diabetic neuropathy. In this, people suffer from damage caused by the nerves in various parts of the body such as hands, feet, and different organs of the body. The presence of the chemical CBD is known to cause are education in the pain that is caused due to diabetic neuropathy.
- Consumption of marijuana is also known to cause improvements and relief to the diabetic patients who suffer from diabetic retinopathy which is again quite common in those suffering from diabetes. The reason for the condition is the damage caused to the cells and nerves of the retina. CBD present in marijuana helps to provide relief from diabetic retinopathy.
- Most of the people find it very difficult to lose weight because of the imbalance of endocannabinoids. When the system of endocannabinoid is over-regulated, it causes fattening, particularly in the abdominal area. By regulating the endocannabinoid system, marijuana helps in managing diabetes in an effective manner.
- The chemical CBD in the marijuana plant is known to have anti-inflammatory properties. This helps in managing diabetes efficiently by improving the metabolism of sugar. CBD also helps in preventing some of the other major complications that patients with type 2 diabetes have to face.
- Marijuana is also known to improve and enhance the smooth circulation of blood in the body. It does so by improving the functioning of the blood vessels responsible for carrying blood.
Risks When You Take Marijuana in Diabetes
If you are taking marijuana in diabetes, you are exposing yourself to the following risks:
- If you are taking more than the recommended amount, you can get hyperglycemic.
- You have increased levels of glucose intolerance in your body with over consumption of the drug
- As already mentioned above, when you take in marijuana, you will get cravings for munchies of all kinds. This could lead to abnormally high levels of blood glucose.
- You might also experience problems in your memory. Your concentration power is known to weaken too and all these affect the levels of the glycemic
- Finally, it has also been pointed out by the diabetes experts in New Zealand, that when you take marijuana, you have such an effect on your brain that you fail to recognize when you experience warning signs of extremely low blood glucose levels or hypoglycemia. Such an effect is not considered to be ideal for those who have diabetes.
Thus, in spite of several benefits which marijuana has to offer, you still need to be careful about its risks.
What is the Recommended Amount of Marijuana?
While you should not consume too much of marijuana at one go, the maximum quantity of the drug that is recommended for you depends on your age, your previous experience with the drug, the quality of cannabis that you are consuming, how you are consuming the same, amongst other things. Remember if you are a first time user, you will have to control the amount you are taking because you can feel all imbalanced, paranoid, as well as cold sweat. You need an expert advice before you can actually think of consuming the drug.
Guidelines to Follow
Note the following before taking in marijuana in diabetes:
- Remember to consult your doctor before taking the drug and do not take more than the recommended quantity of the drug.
- You also need to remember the fact that not everyone can take marijuana. You might experience different allergies when you take the drug. Allergies can range from the mild ones such as pollen allergy to even some serious ones such as fever, swelling, etc.
- If you have had heart attacks in the past, you should avoid taking marijuana.
- If you have been affected by atherosclerosis, avoid taking the drug as the blood pressure may go up leading to several problems and diseases.
- Avoid giving the drug to your child as it can affect the development of a healthy brain in your child.
- Pregnant women should also avoid taking the drug
We hope that the above article has been helpful in improving your understanding of the relationship between diabetes and marijuana and how marijuana can contribute to effectively manage diabetes. It is, however, important to remember that there are some serious side effects that the drug can cause if you do not take it under the proper supervision of an expert. You should know to use the medicine wisely!!