Texas A&M University has published a study indicating that heavy cannabis use in women is associated with lower instances of Diabetes Mellitus, commonly referred to as diabetes.
Statistics published by the charity Diabetes UK suggest there are currently approximately 4.5 million people currently living in the UK with a diabetes diagnosis, and a suspected 850,000 who have it but are yet to be diagnosed. A further 13.6 million are thought to be in danger of contracting the condition, mainly through poor lifestyle and diet choices.
Using data collected from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 2013 to 2018, researchers estimated the frequency of use and the participant’s self-reported exposure to cannabis. A model of statistical data evaluation was applied to the data to increase the accuracy of the results. The study involved 15,062 participants, 51% were female and 56% were over the age of 40, 61% were white and 62.5% had at least a college (university) level of education.
The results showed that heavy female cannabis users were less likely to be diagnosed with diabetes than female non-cannabis users. However, no significant association was found with females who only used cannabis moderately.
In males, there was no significant association with a less likely chance of being diagnosed with diabetes, irrespective of the amount of cannabis use.
The researchers concluded that the data showed an inverse association between heavy cannabis use and diabetes diagnoses in females, but not males. They note that “Further studies are needed to explore the sex-based heterogeneity-and individual and contextual factors responsible-in the association between cannabis use and diabetes mellitus.”
According to research conducted by the American Alliance for Medical Cannabis (AAMC), cannabis can have positive effects on some diabetic symptoms, such as;
- Stabilise blood glucose – there is a growing body of anecdotal data among diabetics to support this.
- Reduce part of the arterial inflammation that diabetics typically experience, which can lead to cardiovascular disease.
- Stimulate receptors in the body and brain to prevent nerve inflammation and relieve the discomfort of neuropathy, the most frequent consequence of diabetes.
- Over time, lower blood pressure can help minimize the risk of heart disease and other diabetic complications.
- Improve circulation by keeping blood vessels open.
- Muscle cramps and the pain of gastrointestinal (GI) diseases can be relieved.
- Topical creams can be made to treat neuropathic pain and tingling in the hands and feet.
A similar study, researching the effects that cannabinoids have on glucose levels in type 2 diabetes patients, found that the administration of THCV alone, “significantly decreased fasting plasma glucose levels and improved pancreatic cell function. By contrast, other treatment therapies failed to show detectable metabolic effects.” The researchers concluded that “THCV could represent a new therapeutic agent in glycemic control in subjects with type 2 diabetes.”