CBD for Diabetes
By Dr. Frank Michalski
Before we begin to understand how CBD may support diabetes let’s begin by explaining the disease itself. Diabetes is a chronic health condition that affects how your body turns food into energy.1 Every time you eat food that food is broken down into sugar or glucose. The glucose is then released into your blood stream. Your body is smart, it realizes your blood sugar levels have increased. In turn your pancreas in instructed to release insulin.1 Insulin is a hormone that acts as a taxi cab driver for the sugars in the blood. Insulin will drive sugar into your body’s cells where it is used for energy. Your cells conveniently have receptors on them which allows for the uptake of the sugar. Let’s recap: you eat food, food turns into sugar that circulates in your blood, insulin is released once sugar is detected in the blood, insulin drives the sugars into your cells where its used for energy. The occurs when there is to much sugar present. Insulin will continue to be released. At this point insulin has no option but to store the excess sugar as fat.
If you have not read our previous blog on cardiovascular disease and chronic inflammatory disease, please do so. Chronic inflammation and oxidative stress are at the root of most type II diabetes.
When someone has type II diabetes your body either does not make enough insulin (Type I), or your cells stopped responding to the insulin already present (the insulin receptors/doors shut down).1 This will result in too much sugar floating around in the blood. Too much sugar in the blood/ elevated blood sugar levels can have very serious consequences including, heart disease, stroke, vision loss, kidney disease, liver disease, joint disease, hormone imbalances, PCOS, etc.1 The list goes on and on. The sugars have the ability to convert healthy cells into free radicals (toxic byproducts of oxidative stress). Free radicals accumulate in the body over time leading to chronic inflammatory disease. Type II diabetes is no joking matter!! Remember this does not happen overnight!6
Let’s look at some statistics from the National Diabetes Statistics Report:1
- In 2015 1.5 million new cases of diabetes were diagnosed.
- Nearly 1 in 4 adults live with diabetes-7.2 million Americans- did not know they had the condition, while only 11.6% of adults with pre-diabetes knew they had it.
- 3 million US adults have diabetes, and 1 in 4 did not know it.
- Diabetes is the number one cause of kidney failure, lower limb amputations, and adult blindness.
- In the last 20 years the number of adults diagnosed has more than tripled.
- In the US 84.1 million adults, more than 1 in 3 have pre-diabetes. Even worse 90% of them do not know it!!
What puts us at risk of developing diabetes:1
- Poor nutrition (diets high in sugar and carbohydrate)
- Lack of exercise at least 3x per week
- Age (45 or older)
- Overweight/ obese
What should I look for in my blood work?
- HS-CRP (ideally below 1 MG/DL)
- Triglycerides (ideally below 110 MG/DL)
- EGFR/ Kidney function markers
Know your blood work like the back of your hand!! Always ask for a copy from your doctor. Remember 90% of people did not know they had pre-diabetes.
Nutrition is one of the most important aspects of managing diabetes. I have seen ketogenic diets, paleo diets, and Mediterranean diets work miracles for Type II diabetics. Do not fool yourself, if you are in need of mass medication to control your blood sugar levels it is not “under control”.
Yes, I have seen people reverse type II diabetes, this is possible with proper nutrition, exercise, supplementation, and lifestyle modification.
Insulin and other diabetes medications come with serious adverse reactions. If you suffer from diabetes begin to take nutrition seriously, seek the help of a qualified professional. I have attached the metformin insert below for metformin and insulin:
(Do not alter medication without speaking to your physician)
How does CBD support Diabetes?2
- Oxidative stress and inflammation play critical roles in the development of diabetes and its complications.2 CBD has been patented as a potent antioxidant that acts on the endocannabinoid system, which may significantly influence free radical production and inflammation.
- CBD may benefit diabetic cardiovascular dysfunction, nephropathy, retinopathy, and neuropathy.2
- Animal research shows that CBD reduces insulin levels in non-obese, diabetes prone mice, inhibiting the progression of diabetes.2
- In Vitro and In Vivo research suggest that CBD might reduce the risk for cardiac and retinal complications of diabetes via its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.3
- Helps with the conversion of harmful white fat to less inflammatory brown fat. In 2015 an Israel American biopharma collective began stage 2 trials related to using CBD to treat diabetes. Research demonstrated that CBD helped convert white fat to brown fat (weight reducing fat) promoting normal insulin production and sugar metabolism.4
More Potential benefits:3,5
- Blood sugar stabilization
- Neuroprotective properties for both the brain and nerves
- Helps to relieve muscle cramps
- Vasodilator helping to lower BP, and promote heathy blood flow
- May help decrease arterial inflammation3
Diabetes is a disease that involves inflammation and oxidative stress. Again, the patent held by our government clearly states CBD is potentially a powerful antioxidant. When it comes to fighting oxidative damage, CBD appears to be very promising.
- As always consult with your physician before beginning any supplement or nutrition regimen.
- CBD is not meant to treat or cure any disease.
- If you are on any medications that require regular testing with blood work, consult with a physician. CBD may increase or decrease the amount of medication present in your blood.
- If you have been told not to consume grapefruit consult with a physician.
- Monitor your symptoms closely, sleep, mood, pain levels etc.
- Horváth B, Mukhopadhyay P, Haskó G, Pacher P. The endocannabinoid system and plant-derived cannabinoids in diabetes and diabetic complications. Am J Pathol. 2012;180(2):432–442. doi:10.1016/j.ajpath.2011.11.003
- Weiss, L., Zeira, M., Reich, S., Har-Noy, M., Mechoulam, R., Slavin, S., and Gallily, R. Cannabidiol lowers incidence of diabetes in non-obese diabetic mice. Autoimmunity 2006;39(2):143-151.
- CBD: A patients Guide to Medical Cannabis by Leonard Leinow & Juliana Birnbaum
- Photo credit: https://www.dietdoctor.com/experts-popular-belief-saturated-fats-clog-arteries-plain-wrong
In Good Health,
Dr. Frank Michalski
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