Diabetes and Medical Cannabis

Medical Cannabis for the Treatment of Diabetes


Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a group of metabolic disorders in which high blood-sugar levels over prolonged periods of time cause nerve damage. In diabetes, the pancreas either does not produce enough insulin, or the body not responding properly to the insulin produced.

Potential Efficacy / Quality of Evidence (Low, Average, High) of Medical Marijuana for Diabetes

Average – potentially high, with THCV and CBD being of particular use. Both phytocannabinoids may be particularly useful in preventing insulin resistance, maintaining a healthy body-mass index (BMI) and help reduce the pain associated with diabetic neuropathy, where peripheral nerves are damaged by long-term insulin resistance.

Cannabinoids, Terpenes/Terpenoids, Strains and Ratios that May Help

THCV and CBD could prove to be very useful for diabetes patients.

Myrcene may also be useful.

Medical Cannabis Pros

CBD and THCV could help regulate glucose levels and prevent insulin resistance.

May improve carbohydrate metabolism, helping control and maintain weight.

Keep blood vessels open and improve circulation.

Topicals can be useful for preventing tingling sensations.

Cannabinoids may help sweet things taste more sweet, and possibly even help reduce sugar intake as the desire for sweet things is satiated more quickly.

Medical Cannabis Cons

Getting hunger pangs could be useful for diabetics, but also not so useful at times.

Diabetes can negatively affect memory, perception and coordination, and so can THC to some extent.

Getting dry or cotton mouth and eyes is common for diabetics – cannabis can make this aspect worse.

More About the Condition

There are three types of diabetes, including:

Type 1 Diabetes or Type 1 DM – . An autoimmune condition where the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin. Type 1 diabetes seems to have a genetic component, and there are links with other autoimmune disorders such as Crohn’s disease. Diabetic ketoacidosis is an unpleasant and sometimes even fatal side-effect of type-1 diabetes, which can cause nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

Type 2 Diabetes or Type 2 DM – The more common type of diabetes, most often caused by a bad diet and lack of exercise. In some instances, long-term use of steroids can cause steroid-induced diabetes. Type 2 diabetes involves insulin resistance. This is when cells fail to respond to insulin properly. A lack of insulin may also develop as the condition progresses.

Gestational Diabetes – a type of diabetes that develops in pregnant women who otherwise have no history of diabetes.

Symptoms of diabetes and high blood sugar include frequent urination, sugar found in the urine due to malabsorption of glucose, skin rashes called “diabetic dermadromes”, increased thirst and increased hunger. As of 2015, an estimated 415 million people worldwide have diabetes of some form of diabetes, with 90% of cases being Type 2 Diabetes, making it one of the world’s most pressing health problems.

Quotes from Experts

“Epidemiologic studies have found lower prevalence rates of obesity and diabetes mellitus in marijuana users compared with people who have never used marijuana, suggesting a relationship between cannabinoids and peripheral metabolic processes.” Source: Penner EA, Buettner H, Mittleman MA. ‘The impact of marijuana use on glucose, insulin, and insulin resistance among US adultsAm J Med. 2013 Jul;126(7):583-9. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2013.03.002. Epub 2013 May 15. PMID: 23684393.

Case Studies – Patient Stories

A Doctor’s Case for Medical Marijuana | TED Talk

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Possible Efficacy




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