Why You Should Talk to Your Doctor About CBD and Diabetes

by | May 19, 2023 | Latest News | 0 comments

Cannabidiol supplements, or CBD, have only been federally legalized since 2018. After the Farm Bill was passed, hemp-derived products with 0.30% or less THC content became legal to produce, sell, possess, and use.

When you have a health condition, and you are creating a treatment plan with your physician, cannabidiol may not be suggested by the doctor. Because it is such a new alternative health option, not many doctors have extensive experience recommending CBD.

Global health studies regarding cannabinoids have led to exciting discoveries about cannabidiol. The non-psychoactive oils extracted from agricultural hemp may provide help with pain and inflammation, and other symptoms commonly experienced by people living with diabetes.

What Is Cannabidiol (CBD), And Why Do People Take It?

Cannabidiol is a naturally occurring compound and one of more than one hundred different cannabinoids found in hemp plants. By far, CBD is present in the highest concentrations in agricultural hemp, which is used to create supplements and wellness products.

Within our human health processes is the endocannabinoid system. That’s right; we have built-in processors specifically for cannabinoids. The endocannabinoid system, or ECS, is responsible for regulating both physical and emotional activities.

The endocannabinoid system regulates:

  • Sensations of pain and inflammation.
  • Mood.
  • Appetite.
  • Immune system functioning.

Many clinical studies worldwide have suggested that cannabidiol can have a positive effect on the human body. Specifically, cannabidiol (when taken regularly) may help reduce inflammation and anxiety, provide anti-seizure benefits, and have analgesic (pain relief) effects.

CBD properties

What is the Difference Between CBD and Marijuana?

When you hear the terms ‘cannabis’ or ‘marijuana,’ it is referring to the Cannabis Sativa or Cannabis Indica plants. Marijuana contains high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which causes both psychoactive effects and physical sensations.

The difference between cannabidiol (CBD) and marijuana is both cannabidiol and THC content. Marijuana has lower levels of CBD than hemp plants do. And while hemp plants have very high levels of CBD content, they have low levels of THC.

Both plants are from the cannabis genus, and each one offers select cannabinoids which can provide wellness benefits. Marijuana can get you high, but cannabidiol cannot.

For people who want to use a daily supplement rich in cannabinoids (which may help with inflammatory and neuropathic pain), that is a good thing. It means that you can take CBD on your way to work before you go out or anytime you need it without the fear of becoming impaired.

The Endocannabinoid System and Diabetes

While CBD research continues, there is increased interest in learning how cannabidiol may help people living with diabetes symptoms. As it turns out, the endocannabinoid system in the body (ECS) plays a big role in helping to metabolize glucose (sugar).

If you have been living with diabetes, there are some important things to know about how your body’s endocannabinoid system functions. And how it either supports improved glucose and inflammation management or makes it worse.

Activation of CB1 Receptors and Increased Insulin Resistance

A chain reaction starts when CB1 receptors are activated. The CB1 receptors are located throughout the body in the liver, fat tissues, and bone muscles. When the CB1 receptors are activated, cells become less responsive to insulin.

Insulin resistance means that cells in your body are rejecting a natural chemical that helps them discard sugar (glucose). Increased insulin resistance can cause diabetes to develop and also worsen symptoms and side effects of diabetes when blood sugar levels remain high.

CBD and Diabetes

Endocannabinoid System and Inflammation

Chronic low-grade inflammation is linked to insulin resistance, which causes type 2 diabetes. When CB1 receptors are activated, inflammation goes up in the body. When the CB2 receptors are activated, your body’s natural anti-inflammatory functions are kicked into high gear.

Some clinical studies have suggested that the balance between CB1 and CB2 receptors may hold the key to slowing the progression of diabetes, insulin resistance, and other common complications.

Better Glucose Regulation Through the ECS

Your endocannabinoid system (ECS) helps regulate how high your glucose levels get in your body. The ECS helps maintain glucose homeostasis (keeping sugars under control) by influencing how much insulin is secreted into your body.

In the future, there may be prescription medications formulated from cannabidiol that will target endocannabinoid system functioning. And help prevent diabetes from developing or reduce the risk of associated complications.

Scientific Studies on CBD and Type 2 Diabetes

Did you know that the global research regarding cannabidiol (CBD) was so extensive that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a cannabinoid prescription medication? Epidiolex is now a prescription drug provided for the treatment of severe seizures, including Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.

Several clinical studies have investigated the potential effects of CBD on diabetes. Here are a few key studies that have explored the potential benefits of cannabidiol for individuals with diabetes symptoms:

  1. “Cannabidiol lowers incidence of diabetes in non-obese diabetic mice”(Lehmann et al., 2006).
  2. “Cannabidiol attenuates high glucose-induced endothelial cell inflammatory response and barrier disruption” (Rajesh et al., 2007).
  3. “Regulatory Effects of Cannabidiol on Mitochondrial Functions: A Review” (John Zewen Chan and Robin Elaine Duncan).
  4. “Cannabidiol attenuates cardiac dysfunction, oxidative stress, fibrosis, and inflammatory and cell death signaling pathways in diabetic cardiomyopathy” (Rajesh et al., 2010).

While these studies suggest the potential beneficial effects of CBD on diabetes and related complications, most research data comes from animal studies. Human studies have been conducted for conditions like diabetes, cancer, and epilepsy.

While research into the benefits of cannabidiol continues, we hope to learn more about optimized dosing for specific symptoms and health conditions, as well as the long-term safety of CBD when used therapeutically to help with the management of diabetic symptoms.

Oral CBD

How Can People With Type 2 Diabetes Use CBD?

If you are living with diabetes, you are likely taking a number of prescription medications. That may include oral insulin (or more than one type), cholesterol medication (statin), and a prescription for hypertension (high blood pressure). Swallowing more capsules or pills on a daily basis may not appeal to you.

However, clinical studies have shown us that for people with diabetes, cannabidiol may hold a lot of therapeutic value. Cannabidiol can not only help make symptoms more manageable but also slow down nerve damage by helping to regulate inflammation.

There are five main advantages that people with Type 2 Diabetes can experience when taking a clinical-grade CBD supplement on a daily basis:

1. Pain Management

Diabetes frequently causes nerve pain. That is because circulation can be compromised (particularly in the extremities such as hands, feet, or toes). Less oxygen and nutrients delivered by the bloodstream means nerves can become malnourished and damaged. This may also be caused by atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).

Prolonged periods of elevated blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia) can also damage blood vessels that supply oxygen and nutrients to nerves. This can cause nerves to be dysfunctional, and neuropathy (nerve pain) can develop in people with diabetes.

Neuropathic pain can vary from numbness to sensations of tingling and severe pin-like stabbing pains. Because cannabidiol has analgesic properties (pain relieving), it may help reduce neuropathic pain.

A clinical-grade or broad-spectrum daily CBD supplement (with the correct quantity taken) may help reduce symptoms of pain for people with diabetes. Taking a CBD nighttime formula may be a good choice if you find pain symptoms frequently waking you while you are trying to sleep.

2. Inflammation

Chronic inflammation is one of the most common diabetes symptoms. The interesting thing is that medical researchers are not sure what comes first. Does chronic inflammation cause diabetes? Or does the presence of diabetes and related symptoms trigger inflammation in the body? More research is needed to answer many questions about diabetes.

The root causes of chronic inflammation for people with diabetes include:

  • Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar).
  • Insulin resistance.
  • Adipose tissue (excess body fat, particularly in the abdominal area).
  • Accumulation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) in the body.
  • Autoimmune triggers can stimulate inflammation.
  • Poor blood, oxygen, and nutrient circulation.
  • Chronic kidney disease.
  • Oxidative stress (free radicals).

Addressing inflammation is very important for patients living with diabetes. That is because inflammation directly contributes to the development of diabetes-related complications. This can put patients at greater risk of viral, fungal, or bacterial infections. Cannabidiol is recognized for its powerful anti-inflammatory benefits and can help when taken daily.

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3. Insulin Resistance

The pancreas creates insulin, which is a hormone used to keep blood glucose levels optimized. However, people with diabetes do not produce enough natural insulin, which leads to higher than normal blood glucose. This further damages the body and causes cells to become insulin resistant, and this contributes to chronic low-level inflammation for people with diabetes.

By helping reduce inflammation, cannabidiol (CBD) may also help slow down the development of insulin resistance. Some studies suggest that CBD can also help regulate glucose metabolism and have protective effects on the pancreas (where insulin is produced).

4. Anxiety and Stress

A diagnosis of diabetes changes your life. Many patients suffer from anxiety due to concerns about their health and the burden of extra care through diet, medication, and glucose testing. Anxiety can also disrupt sleep patterns and increase emotional eating or cravings.

When the human body is stressed, it releases hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. Many of the hormones that are triggered by anxiety also cause blood sugar levels to rise. So managing stress and anxiety is a key component for people living with diabetes.

Cannabidiol may activate serotonin receptors, including the 5-HT1A receptor, which helps to regulate anxiety. More serotonin causes calming sensations and reduced anxiety. Some studies suggest CBD may provide neuroprotective effects that help reduce neuronal damage and improve brain health.

5. Oxidative Stress

When sugars react with proteins in the body, Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs) are created. They accumulate in the body and cause oxidative stress, which damages cells, making them less able to bind (and accept) insulin.

Free radicals also contribute to oxidative stress and cell damage. Different aspects of diabetes can significantly increase oxidative stress because the immune system is unable to fight the free radicals and remove them efficiently.

Cannabidiol can help protect mitochondrial function, which may help reduce the production of free radicals and decrease oxidative stress. Studies have also shown that CBD can reduce lipid peroxidation that causes oxidative damage to the membrane of cells.

.CBD Pain Relief

What Types of CBD Products May Help People With Diabetes?

There are a variety of different products available if you would like to add cannabidiol (CBD) to your diet and personal wellness plan. Dietary supplements are available in capsules and tablets with an easy-swallow coating.

Topical products may help with neuropathic pain when applied directly to the area of discomfort. Formulations of topical creams, gels, and ointments are made to rapidly absorb into the skin to help the cannabinoids suppress inflammatory symptoms. Some studies suggest cannabidiol lowers the incidence of inflammation and pain.

Tinctures are another popular way to consume CBD daily. They do not require refrigeration, and it is easy to measure an accurate dose (please check the bottle for recommended daily amounts). Cannabidiol gummies are also popular and available in daytime and night formulations.

Health Risks Associated with Smokable Cannabidiol (CBD)

There are many different types of smokable CBD products. You can find flavored CBD concentrates, vape cartridges, and infused hemp flower. But are they safe to use compared to other intake methods?

Smokable CBD products are not recommended for anyone who has an inflammatory condition, including diabetes. Smoking and vaping hemp can contribute to lung damage and increased free radicals that can amplify inflammation.

Compared to smoking tobacco, hemp releases fewer harmful compounds. However, the combustion process can produce toxins and other harmful substances like carbon monoxide and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are carcinogenic (cancercausing).

Physicians agree that oral methods of consuming cannabidiol (CBD) are the safest route for people with chronic diseases like diabetes. Talk to your healthcare provider before starting any new supplement, including CBD use.

All Cannabidiol Supplements Are Not The Same

Some people feel that cannabidiol (CBD) works well to help them manage the symptoms of diabetes. At the same time, other people with diabetes have tried it and said that it didn’t work at all.

If you want to use CBD daily to help manage your symptoms of diabetes, there are many things to consider that can impact your results. Here are some important steps to help you find a high-quality CBD supplement for diabetes.

Learn How to Detect a Low-Quality CBD Product

The first and most important thing is to make sure you are buying high-quality cannabidiol. There are so many imposter or fake products available online that consumers regularly buy. Trusting that what is on the label is actually what is inside the bottle.

Every year the FDA sends warning letters to hundreds of CBD brands for infractions. Either the content inside the product does not match what consumers think they are getting. Or there are harmful substances inside the cannabidiol supplement (such as heavy metals or carcinogenic carrier oils).

Quality clinical-grade CBD products will provide a Certificate of Analysis (COA). That means the product has been third-party tested in a laboratory. The COA report will confirm the potency of the CBD and all ingredients provided in the supplement.

Certificates of analysis can also be falsified. If you are concerned, most COAs have a telephone number for consumers to call and validate the information provided about a product they have tested.

Make Sure You Are Taking the Correct Amount

Finding the right “dose” of any supplement requires a little research. And for best results, a conversation with your family doctor. Because when you start looking at different CBD products, you will notice that doses typically vary. And that makes it harder to figure out how much you should be taking daily.

Because until now, most CBD clinical studies were not conducted on humans, arriving at the right amount to take daily can be tricky. Most clinical studies show doses varying from 20 mg to 1,500 mg per day.

Healthy Fats and CBD

Consuming CBD With Healthy Fats to Maximize Absorption

Do you like avocadoes? Or snacking on walnuts or other healthy raw nuts? There are many dietary sources of healthy fats to choose from for a meal or snack. And when you take your CBD with a healthy fat meal, it enhances absorption.

What that means is that more of the cannabidiol (CBD) will be absorbed into your bloodstream and enter your cells. You don’t need a lot of healthy fat to optimize absorption. Some people drink Keto “bulletproof coffee” with heavy cream, which provides essential fats that help CBD work better.

Does CBD Conflict With Common Diabetes Medication?

According to Harvard Health Publishing, CBD does not conflict with most common medications. And it is well tolerated. However, there are some diabetic medications that may cause side effects when combined with CBD.

Medications like Metformin taken to help regulate blood glucose can cause gastrointestinal upset and diarrhea. Other medications like Adderall and Prilosec may cause decreased appetite. While opioids, benzodiazepines (Xanax), antidepressant medications, and even over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamines can cause more drowsiness when taken with CBD. Herbal supplements like St. John’s Wort, melatonin, or kava may have the same effect.

Dry mouth is a common symptom for people with diabetes, who are more prone to dehydration caused by hyperglycemia. Cannabidiol (CBD) can make symptoms of dry mouth worse.

Get the expert advice of a physician and a medication review before starting your CBD supplement.

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