As time goes on, more and more medical benefits of marijuana are being identified. For instance, there’s now a growing body of research that medical marijuana can help with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes is a chronic health condition caused by high levels of blood glucose (also known as blood sugar). While there are different types of diabetes which impact the body in different ways, they all result in your blood sugar levels becoming too high, leading to various complications.
People with diabetes often have to take special measures to manage their blood sugar, and failing to do so can lead to various complications. Medical marijuana has also been identified as a helpful treatment for managing diabetes symptoms and potentially even preventing some cases.
What is Diabetes & How is it Treated?
Diabetes is a chronic condition related to the body’s regulation of blood sugar. It comes in various forms, with the most common being Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. With Type 1 diabetes, your body is unable to produce insulin at all, whereas with Type 2 diabetes your body can’t produce enough insulin or the insulin can’t work effectively enough. Either way, this can result in serious complications.
When your body can’t produce insulin effectively, blood glucose can’t reach your cells and will begin to build up in your blood. This results in symptoms such as lower energy levels, increased hunger and thirst, losing weight without trying to, itching and inflammation, and wounds taking longer to heal.
If it goes untreated, diabetes can also lead to severe complications such as damage to your heart, your vision, your kidneys, and your feet. It can also cause other conditions such as Pancreatitis, Polycystic ovary syndrome, and Thyroid disease.
The treatments used for diabetes depend on the type and severity. Patients with Type 1 diabetes must regularly monitor their blood sugar and inject insulin. Those with Type 2 diabetes also benefit from insulin therapy, although healthy eating and weight loss are also recommended. Medical marijuana can also help with many of the symptoms and causes of diabetes.
Medical Marijuana & Diabetes
Medical marijuana is now a common diabetes treatment, as evidence suggests it can help in various ways. Some of the earliest support for medical marijuana as a diabetes treatment came from a report by the AAMC, suggesting that medical cannabis helps stabilize blood sugar levels, lower arterial inflammation, reduce neuropathic pain, improve circulation, and provide relief for certain symptoms.
Since then, various studies have shown that medical marijuana may help prevent complications from diabetes. A 2013 study found that marijuana use was associated with lower levels of fasting insulin, higher levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and lower BMI and waist circumference (meaning a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes).
A 2016 study examined the effects of cannabinoid-based treatments on Type 2 diabetes patients who weren’t taking insulin. It found that cannabinoids helped reduce fasting levels of blood sugar, improved production of insulin, and raised levels of adiponectin, a protein that helps regulate blood sugar.
How Medical Marijuana Helps with Diabetes Symptoms
In addition to its effects on blood sugar regulation, insulin production, and weight management, medical marijuana can also help with many of the symptoms and complications associated with diabetes. As such, it can help patients reduce uncomfortable effects and live with overall better quality of life.
The American Alliance for Medical Cannabis published one of the first reports on marijuana usage in patients who are diabetic. The study found that medical marijuana can have the following effects on patients who have been diagnosed with diabetes:
- Stabilizes blood sugar levels
- Anti-inflammatory properties help subdue arterial inflammation
- Neuroprotective effects reduce and prevent inflammation of nerves, thereby reducing pain
- Antispasmodic properties relieve muscle cramps and gastrointestinal disorders
- Improved circulation
- Lowers blood pressure
- Substituting cannabis butter and oil in foods benefits cardiac and arterial health
- Helps to calm diabetic Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
Diabetes can often lead to damage to the retinas, also known as diabetic retinopathy. This can lead to such serious complications as glaucoma. Research shows that marijuana reduces intraocular pressure, which helps significantly with conditions like glaucoma.
Type 2 diabetes also leads to inflammation, which can cause the problem to worsen as well as causing damage throughout the body. Marijuana has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities, which can potentially ward off the complications of diabetes and lead to improved immune function, cell growth, and metabolism.
Diabetes can sometimes cause increased stress and lack of sleep. Marijuana can help by reducing stress and improving sleep, both of which can contribute to weight loss, better metabolic function, and improvements in mood and quality of life.
A large number of diabetes patients who report regular use of medical marijuana see lower blood sugar levels, as well as reduced A1C over time. Existing evidence also corroborates that medical marijuana has an effect on improving insulin resistance, which is helpful for patients with type 2 diabetes.
How to Use Medical Marijuana for Diabetes
There are many ways to consume cannabis, all of which can work well for diabetes. Smoking or vaping cannabis flower is a particularly popular option. The effects will hit you instantly and there are plenty of strains to choose from. Sativa strains are a good choice as they can boost your energy and mood levels while helping counteract symptoms such as inflammation and fatigue.
You might also want to try other types of marijuana products. Capsules or edibles allow you to get a fixed dose of THC in each serving, whereas tinctures allow you to measure the exact dose you want for quick and easy absorption.
Patients can also consider CBD products. These are often used by patients who want to consume cannabidiol without experiencing the psychoactive effects of THC. CBD products come in many forms, including CBD tinctures, edibles, capsules and vapes.
Related: The Difference Between CBD & THC
How to Get Medical Cannabis
While some states allow all adults aged 21 or over to buy marijuana for both recreational and medical purposes, most states require you to apply for a medical card. Having a medical card allows you to buy a range of high-quality marijuana products at affordable prices, and getting one requires a few simple steps.
Before you can get a medical card, you must visit a medical marijuana doctor. They’ll assess your symptoms and health records to determine whether you have a qualifying condition. Once approved, you can apply for your medical card online and receive it within a couple of weeks.
RELATED: Buying Marijuana Blog
Once you have your medical card, you can buy all kinds of medical marijuana and CBD products from marijuana dispensaries. If you need help with finding a marijuana doctor and getting your medical card in Florida, contact us for guidance.
Medical marijuana has become a popular alternative treatment for diabetes, especially as it is associated with improved blood sugar regulation, insulin production, and lower fat mass. It can also help with many of the symptoms and complications caused by diabetes.
Treat Diabetes naturally by getting your medical marijuana card. The first step is to schedule an appointment with a medical marijuana doctor. We make it fast and easy!
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