Thanks to modern technology, effectively diagnosing and treating diabetes is easier than ever. Gone are the days of quack doctors prescribing a range of ridiculous and ineffective treatments or ‘urine testers’ tasting a patient’s urine to diagnose diabetes. Medicine is much more advanced, and we have come a long way since these so-called ‘water tasters’. However, with that being said, diabetes continues to cause suffering with no permanent cure. This has caused many to turn to more alternative ways to treat the symptoms of their conditions, such as by using supplements like CBD oil. But can CBD help with diabetes? And does it actually make a difference?
Current research shows evidence that CBD could be an effective way to treat the symptoms of diabetes, but research is still in its infancy, and much more needs to be done before this can be confirmed as fact. Let’s take a look at diabetes as a whole: what it is, how it works, and how CBD could potentially treat its symptoms.
What is diabetes?
First of all, let’s define diabetes. According to Diabetes UK, “Diabetes is a serious condition where your blood glucose level is too high. It can happen when your body doesn’t produce enough insulin or the insulin it produces isn’t effective. Or, when your body can’t produce any insulin at all.”
In layman’s terms, diabetes is a health condition that occurs when your blood sugar levels are too high. This can eventually lead to severe health problems like heart disease, organ failure, kidney disease, or stroke.
There are two types of diabetes: Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is when your pancreas doesn’t make enough (or any) insulin. Also known as juvenile diabetes, this form of diabetes can develop at any age but is typically diagnosed in children, teenagers or young adults. It is believed to be caused by the body attacking the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, making it unable to make any more. This means there is no insulin to allow the glucose in the blood to enter the body’s cells, which leads to high blood sugar levels.
Currently, there is no known way to prevent type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an extremely serious lifelong condition, but it is not a death sentence. Proper treatment can manage it and prevent long term problems such as organ damage.
Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is when the body doesn’t use insulin properly and can’t maintain normal blood sugar levels, leading to high blood sugar levels. This form of diabetes usually develops in adults, however, an increasing number of younger people are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
It takes many years to develop type 2 diabetes, and symptoms are not always noticeable. Type 2 diabetes is often linked to obesity or genetics, but unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 can be prevented or delayed. This can be done with regular exercise and a healthy diet.
While there is no known cure for either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, there are ways to keep it under control and live a full life once your symptoms are diagnosed.
Both types of diabetes have similar symptoms. However, the time it takes for them to appear differs. With type 1 diabetes, symptoms may appear within a day or two, whereas type 2 diabetes takes years to worsen.
Symptoms of diabetes include:
- Extreme thirst
- Frequent urination
- Tingling or numbness in hands or feet
- Blurry vision
- Weight loss
- Sores/cuts that take a long time to heal
If you are experiencing the above symptoms or feel you are at risk, see your GP as soon as possible.
How to treat diabetes
Both types may share the same symptoms, but they are treated differently. Treating type 1 diabetes may include:
- Insulin injections
- Insulin pump
- Monitoring blood sugar levels
- Oral medication
- Pancreas transplantation
- Bariatric surgery
Treating type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, may include:
- Weight loss surgery
- Eating healthy
- Insulin treatment
Sometimes it also helps to take supplements, such as CBD oil, to help treat the symptoms associated with diabetes.
Can CBD Help with Diabetes?
As research is still limited, much more studies need to be done on the effects of CBD on both type 1 and type 2 diabetes before any medical claims can be made. However, recent studies have shown promising results, especially regarding the potential effects CBD may have on symptoms of diabetes such as inflammation, pain and high blood sugar levels.
Inflammation and pain
For many years now, CBD has been getting a lot of attention for its purported effects on inflammation and pain, and research into this is flourishing. One such study in the American Journal of Physiology shows evidence that CBD affects inflammation and suggests that CBD has the potential to calm inflammation and counter damaged blood vessels caused by high glucose levels. Another study, found in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, supports these findings by showing that CDB suppressed chronic inflammatory and neuropathic pain (both symptoms of diabetes) in rats.
Insulin production and blood sugar levels
A study on CBD and type 2 diabetes from the University of Nottingham found that a combination of CBD and tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) helped increase insulin production and lowered blood sugar levels, effectively easing symptoms of diabetes. However, the problem with this study is that it shows the therapeutic effects of CBD and THCV as a combination. It is unclear whether CBD would have been as effective on its own.
Although these studies are in their infancy, results are encouraging, especially regarding CBD’s potential effects on inflammation. Diabetes is an inflammatory condition, which means that if CBD can relieve inflammation, it could be an alternative way to treat the symptoms of diabetes more naturally.
However, it is essential to note that most claims on the therapeutic effects of CBD on diabetes are purely anecdotal. Much more research is needed before we can make any claims. Currently, most tests regarding the benefits of CBD are on animals such as rats, which cannot give us an accurate understanding of whether CBD affects humans in the same way. Much more research needs to be conducted on humans to ensure that the benefits are the same.
Furthermore, CBD should not be a replacement for prescription medication. We also recommend speaking to your doctor before starting any supplement such as CBD. They know you best and will advise you further on whether it is safe for you to use CBD.
Diabetes has been around longer than you could imagine, but with all the promise CBD shows, living with it may become much more manageable.
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