Diabetes is a disease in which the blood contains too much glucose, or is hyperglycemic. A growing body of research is suggesting that cannabidiol (CBD), a hemp derivative, may alleviate diabetes by reducing blood sugar and regulating the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The most prevalent types of this disease are type 1 and type 2 diabetes, both of which are indicated by contemporary research as potential targets for CBD therapy.
Is CBD a Safe Treatment?
Two recent scientific literature reviews collate the available evidence that CBD is a novel diabetes treatment. In the first of these reviews, an international group of researchers claims that CBD is well tolerated without any adverse effects when administered in the long term to human subjects (1). The researchers go on to note that multiple countries have approved CBD for other inflammation-related conditions.
The endocannabinoid system
An endocannabinoid is a cannabinoid that is endogenous to the body, i.e., it was present inherently and not introduced externally through the administration of a drug or by other means. The human body has an intricate endocannabinoid system, which research has indicated has a great deal to do with our overall health. The idea postulated by dozens, if not hundreds of academic researchers around the world is this: by regulating the ECS (i.e., helping it function better), CBD augments this vital regulatory system and thereby boosts overall health.
Much about CBD is still unknown, such as how exactly it imparts its purported beneficial effects on the body. What is confirmed is that CBD has little-to-no interaction with the CB1 and CB2 receptors, the primary cannabinoid receptors in the human nervous system. With there being no agreed-upon theory which encompasses the underlying mechanics of CBD therapy, it’s this absence of a complete technical understanding of the effects of cannabidiol in humans that holds back ongoing research more than any other factor.
The ECS and Diabetes
Multiple researchers have suggested that the endocannabinoid system plays a vital role in both the onset and perpetuation of diabetes in human subjects. Some also have hypothesized that CBD helps the ECS maintain natural homeostasis. If it’s true that a hyperactive ECS can lead to the onset of diabetes, it stands to reason that CBD might relax the endocannabinoid system and help the body avoid its close shave with this all-too-common disease.
For those who already have diabetes, it’s not too late to get your endocannabinoid system fighting for you again. Thousands of anecdotal testimonies from around the world collectively suggest that CBD therapy not only prevents the incidence of diabetes but also reduces the symptoms and underlying causes of diabetes in those already suffering from the disease. According to one scientific source, CBD’s known anti-inflammatory, tissue-protective, and antioxidant effects may account for the reversal of diabetes symptoms in those trying CBD therapy.
CBD as an Anti-Inflammatory
CBD’s most well-publicized attribute is its effectiveness as an anti-inflammatory. Mainstream science has recognized for years that diabetes has much to do with tissue inflammation and that any reduction of bodily inflammation by safe means would at least reduce the suffering of those who already have diabetes. Sometimes all the body needs to start healing itself is a short break from the constant onslaught of stress and pain that those with diabetes know exemplifies daily life.
Cannabidiol for Diabetic Complications
Another literature review reports promising results for those afflicted with common types of diabetic complications, which can be even worse than hyperglycemia itself. This review, from April of 2016, notes that numerous studies have documented the beneficial effects of cannabidiol in a variety of diabetic complications, including two of the most common types of diabetic comorbidity, neuropathy and retinopathy (2).
The Bottom Line: Cannabidiol as a Novel Diabetes Treatment
Researchers around the world are mystified by CBD’s potent healing properties and apparent lack of side effects. Dozens of studies all point to the same conclusion: CBD is a harmless plant cannabinoid with incredible potential for disease treatment and general health. CBD research remains in its infancy in many ways; restrictive legal climates continue to stymy open inquiry into this substance’s benefits. New doors are opening for CBD researchers as they plumb the depths of the underlying mechanics and potential application of what many are calling the wonder drug of our times.
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