In the U.S., over 29.1 million people are currently diagnosed with diabetes. This is almost 10 percent of the population. Furthermore, two out of three of these people will die from the condition or the many complications that arise from it. This has prompted researchers to look into how medical marijuana can help treat diabetes and its associated complications.
Type 1 diabetes, often termed juvenile diabetes, is a genetic disorder where the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin –– a hormone that allows the body to process the sugars from carbohydrates. Sufferers of Type 1 diabetes often take multiple injections of insulin each day. On the other hand, Type 2 diabetes (also known as adult onset diabetes) is a disorder where the body doesn’t process insulin properly, often signaling the pancreas to make more insulin than required. This is the most common type of diabetes.
Medical marijuana has been the focus of several studies examining potential diabetes treatment. One such study, published in the American Journal of Medicine, found that active users of marijuana had a more productive carbohydrate metabolism than people who didn’t use marijuana (Ref. 1). Murray Mittleman, Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard and author of the study, said, “[Marijuana users’] fasting insulin levels were lower, and they appeared to be less resistant to the insulin produced by their body to maintain a normal blood-sugar level.”