Diabetes is categorized as a metabolic disease where there is an elevation in blood sugar in the body. This can be due to the pancreas not making enough insulin (Type 1) or beacuse the cells don’t respond to insulin as they ought to (Type 2) .
Some of the symptoms we can that usually occur in patients with untreated diabetes are weight loss, increased need to urinate, increased thirst and increased hunger. A typically symptom is also elevated sugar in urine resulting in a sweet tasitng and smelling urine. This is where the disease gets its name “mellitus” means “like honey” as in sweet like honey.
Typical long term complications are due to increased damage to blood vessels. This can cause the onset of cardiovascular disease (coronary artery disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease), damage to the eyes, kidneys and nerves, and diabetic foot ulcers.
Type 1 diabetes mellitus is an immune-mediated loss of the insulin-producing beta cells of the islets of Langerhans in the pancreas, where T-cells don’t recognize the beta cells and attack them. This leads leads to insulin deficiency in the body of afflicted patients. Causes of this type 1 diabetes can be genetically inherited (multiple genes affected) or environmental factors, such as stress, viral infections and vaccinations.
The causes of type type 2 are mainly diet and lifestyle. Most cases of type 2 diabetes can be successfully treated with appropriate diets, reducing stress and being more active.
Treating diabetes with cannabis has show a great effectiveness in managing all the symptoms and in lowering or completely removing the need of diabetes medications, such as insulin.
Studies have shown that cannabis users cannabis have lower fasting insulin levels, lower levels of insulin resistance and higher levels of HDL cholesterol that people who don’t use cannabis.. Studies have confirmed that THC has a positive effect on diabetes symptoms but recently, the focus of treating symptoms has been on other cannabinoids.
Cannabidiol (CBD) has been shown to be effective in producing positive effects on all the major symptoms of this disease. Studies have shown that it increases plasma HDL cholesterol levels, reduces total cholesterol levels, reduces liver triglyceride, increased liver glycogen levels and increased adiponectin levels. CBD also reduces oxidative stress, neurotoxicity and levels of tumor necrosis factor-α, all factors in diabetic retinopathy.
Tetrahidrocannabivarin (THCV) has also shown great potential having an opposite effect of THC on appetite stimulation. Test preformed with low doses of THCV (0.3mg/kg) have shown to reduce body weight gain, increase energy expenditure, reduce fasting plasma insulin levels and leptin levels.
The studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that patients should start with strains high in CBD and low in THC (20:1) . Gradually they can increase the THC ratio if needed.
Strains high in THCV are difficult to find, as most contain very low amounts of this cannabinoid, so the focus should be on high CBD strains right now.
Popular methods of cannabinoid delivery are in the form of diluted extracts in various vegetable oils (olive oil, MCT oil) or tinctures. These two forms of delivery can be taken as drops sub-lingually, as the rate of bio-availability is very high and patients find it easier to titrate the right dosage for them.