CBD for Type 2 Diabetes: What Are the Benefits and Risks?
The trendy complementary treatment is rising in popularity. Here’s what you need to know before you use CBD to manage type 2 diabetes.
CBD may help relieve symptoms that can contribute to high blood sugar in type 2 diabetes. Everyday Health
You probably don’t have to look farther than your local drugstore or beauty product supplier to know CBD has taken a starring role in everything from sparkling water and gummies to tincture oils and lotions. Some may even say that cannabidiol (CBD) — which, like THC, is a component of the cannabis plant, but doesn’t contain its psychoactive effects — is the “it” ingredient of our age.
You’ve probably also heard that CBD can help lessen stress, anxiety, and pain. “When people are in pain, they have a stress response, which causes an increase in cortisol and an increase in blood sugar,” says Veronica J. Brady, PhD, CDCES, a registered nurse and an assistant professor at the Cizik School of Nursing at the University of Texas in Houston. Relieving pain can help alleviate the stress response and improve blood sugar levels, as well as aid sleep, she says.
If you’re managing type 2 diabetes, it’s natural to be curious about whether CBD might help you manage those symptoms, too, to help stabilize your blood sugar. In fact, the prevalence of cannabis use increased by 340 percent among people with diabetes from 2005 to 2018, according to a study published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence in July 2020, which surveyed people on their use of cannabis (CBD or THC, in any form) in the previous 30 days.
But does it work for treating diabetes? Some healthcare professionals say CBD may have a role to play, but it’s important to understand that the only health condition CBD has proved effective for is epilepsy in kids. The jury is unfortunately still out, owing to the lack of comprehensive research on CBD and type 2 diabetes.
Still, in the aforementioned survey, 78 percent of people used cannabis that was not prescribed by a doctor. “Diabetes patients might still use cannabis for medical reasons, but not have a prescription,” says Omayma Alshaarawy, MBBS, PhD, an assistant professor in the department of family medicine at Michigan State University in East Lansing, who led the study. Recreational use is another factor. She points to a separate study, published September 2019 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, that found that more than 50 percent of people with medical conditions such as diabetes or cancer use cannabis recreationally.
How People With Type 2 Diabetes Are Using CBD
In Nevada, where Dr. Brady used to work as a certified diabetes educator, her patients with type 2 diabetes used CBD for nerve pain. She says patients would use CBD in a tincture or in oils that they rubbed on painful areas, including their feet. Patients could buy CBD at medical marijuana dispensaries, which would offer dosing instructions. “They worried about the impact on their blood sugars,” says Brady.
Ultimately, though, Brady says that her patients reported that CBD reduced their nerve pain and improved their blood sugar. She adds that those people who used CBD oils for nerve pain also reported sleeping better.
Heather Jackson, the founder and board president of Realm of Caring in Colorado Springs, Colorado, a nonprofit that focuses on cannabis research and education, senses an interest in CBD within the diabetes community. “In general, especially if they’re not well controlled, people are looking at cannabinoid therapy as an alternative, and usually as an adjunct option,” says Jackson. Callers have questions about CBD for neuropathy pain, joint pain, gastrointestinal issues, and occasionally blood glucose control, according to a spokesperson for Realm of Caring.
The organization receives thousands of inquiries about cannabis therapies a month. It keeps a registry of these callers, where they live, and their health conditions. Jackson says that people with type 2 diabetes are not a large percentage of the callers, but they currently have 540 people with diabetes in their database.
Jackson says that Realm of Caring does not offer medical advice, and it does not grow or sell cannabis. Instead, it offers education for clients and doctors about cannabis, based on its ever-growing registry of CBD users, their conditions, side effects, and administration regimen. “We are basically educating,” says Jackson. “We want you to talk to your doctor about the information you receive.”
Scientific Studies on CBD and Type 2 Diabetes, and Barriers to Research
Despite interest among people with type 2 diabetes, large, rigorous studies showing how CBD may affect type 2 diabetes are lacking, says Y. Tony Yang, MPH, a doctor of science in health policy and management and a professor at George Washington University School of Nursing in Washington, DC. Specifically absent are randomized controlled trials, which are the gold standard of medical research.
Early research suggests CBD and diabetes are indeed worth further study. For example, a small study published in October 2016 in Diabetes Care in the United Kingdom looked at 62 people with type 2 diabetes and found that CBD did not lower blood glucose. Participants were not on insulin, but some took other diabetes drugs. They were randomly assigned to five different treatment groups for 13 weeks: 100 milligrams (mg) of CBD twice daily; 5 mg of THCV (another chemical in cannabis) twice daily; 5 mg CBD and 5 mg THCV together twice daily; 100 mg CBD and 5 mg of THCV together twice daily; or placebo. In their paper, the authors reported that THCV (but not CBD) significantly improved blood glucose control.
Other CBD research is still evolving. Some CBD and diabetes studies have been done in rats, which leads to findings that don’t always apply to human health. Other studies have looked more generally at the body’s endocannabinoid system, which sends signals about pain, stress, sleep, and other important functions. Still other studies, including one published in the American Journal of Medicine, have looked at marijuana and diabetes, but not CBD specifically.
That there are so few studies of CBD in people with type 2 diabetes has to do with a lack of focus on CBD as an individual component. Historically, cannabinoids (a group of chemicals in the cannabis plant) have been lumped together, including CBD, THC, and more than 100 others. The 1970 U.S. Controlled Substances Act classifies cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug with the highest restrictions. Currently, 33 states and the District of Columbia allow cannabis for medical use and 11 states allow cannabis for recreational use.
The 2018 Farm Bill removed industrial hemp from the controlled substances list, clearing the way for more production and research of CBD. Meanwhile, growers and manufacturers are better able to isolate CBD, mainly by cultivating industrial hemp that is high in CBD and very low in THC, says Jackson. So, perhaps in the coming years, more research on CBD and diabetes will emerge.
How the FDA Views and Regulates CBD for Disease Treatment
Yet, as evidenced by the July 2020 study in Drug and Alcohol Dependence, people with type 2 diabetes aren’t waiting for further study to hop on the trend. Brady says her patients have been open about using CBD, particularly the younger patients. She says one of her older patients was initially uncomfortable about buying CBD in the same shop that sold marijuana but eventually gave in. Brady adds that many people associate CBD with smoking marijuana, despite their distinctly different effects on the body.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first CBD medication in 2018, for treating childhood epilepsy. Currently, there is no other FDA-approved CBD medication for diabetes or any other condition, according to the FDA. In December 2018, the FDA said it was unlawful under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to sell food or dietary supplements containing CBD. In April 2019, the FDA stated that it would be taking new steps to evaluate cannabis products, and it held a public hearing about cannabis products in May 2019.
“The FDA, for the time being, has focused its limited enforcement resources on removing CBD products that make claims of curing or treating disease, leaving many CBD products for sale,” wrote Pieter Cohen, MD, and Joshua Sharfstein, MD, in a July 2019 perspective in the New England Journal of Medicine. Dr. Cohen is an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, and Dr. Sharfstein oversees the office of public health practice and training at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore.
Precautions for People With Diabetes Looking to Try CBD
For the CBD products already on the market, Jackson says it’s often difficult to know what’s inside. A study published November 2017 in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that only 30 percent of CBD products were accurately labeled, with under- and over-labeling of CBD content, and some products containing unlisted chemicals such as THC.
Vaping liquids were the most commonly mislabeled CBD products in the study. The International Research Center on Cannabis and Health in New York City warns that consumers should not purchase vape products from unregulated and illicit markets. A small investigation by the Associated Press in 2019 showed that some CBD vapes had synthetic marijuana.
Jackson points out that CBD may affect certain cholesterol and blood pressure drugs, and a study published in June 2017 in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research detailed these interactions. Other side effects of CBD include tiredness, diarrhea, and changes in weight or appetite, the researchers write.
“What you put in your body is really important,” says Jackson, adding that’s especially true for people with major health conditions like diabetes. Jackson speaks from personal experience as a mom finding CBD treatments for her son’s epilepsy. She says consumers should ask manufacturers whether CBD products are free of mold, pesticides, and other toxins.
Realm of Caring, Jackson’s nonprofit, created a reference sheet for evaluating products and manufacturers. It also endorses products that adhere to standards such as those from the American Herbal Products Association and the FDA’s Current Good Manufacturing Practice regulations.
“There is little known about cannabis health effects, especially among patients with chronic conditions. Research is growing, but still solid evidence evolves,” says Dr. Alshaarawy. For these reasons, she recommends that patients talk to their doctors so they can discuss the benefits and potential harms of cannabis and monitor their health accordingly.
How to Talk to Your Healthcare Provider About Using CBD for Type 2 Diabetes
Jackson and Brady advise people who are considering CBD for diabetes to ask their providers about the complementary therapy before adding it to their treatment plan. Brady says it’s difficult to find research about CBD and type 2 diabetes, even in her capacity as a diabetes educator. Still, in her experience, if people are looking for a natural way to manage pain, it’s worth a conversation with their healthcare provider. “It’s something that should be talked about, especially if they’re having significant amounts of pain, or really any pain at all associated with their diabetes,” says Brady.
“It’s a reasonable alternative,” says Brady. “As it gains in popularity, there needs to be some information out there about it.
3 Best CBD Oils for Diabetes
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Diabetes is a metabolic disorder in which the body cannot regulate the levels of sugar in bloodstream. This is a chronic disease that can cause serious complications if left untreated or uncontrolled. There are different types of diabetes, and some people have it from their genes, but most cases are developed through lifestyle choices such as diet and exercise habits.
In this article, we will review CBD oils for diabetes treatment to see how they work against the symptoms associated with this condition.
What are CBD oils for diabetes?
CBD or cannabidiol is a non-intoxicating compound found in cannabis. It has been scientifically shown to help control blood sugar levels and ease other symptoms associated with diabetes.
The process through which CBD regulates this excessive rise of blood sugar is rather straightforward. When CBD interacts with the cannabinoid receptors present in our bodies, it stimulates them to help break down glucose or sugar. This chemical reaction helps flush out sugar that is already stored in the blood cells and prevents it from further making its way inside.
How do they work?
When taking CBD oils for diabetes, you might experience some unexpected changes in your body. The most common symptoms that are associated with this condition are loss of appetite or weight loss, nausea, fatigue, and frequent urination.
However, if you have diabetes type 1 or 2, using CBD oil can help with some diabetic symptoms. Of course, CBD oil should never be used in place of doctor-prescribed medications to help control diabetes and diabetic symptoms. Talk to your doctor before adding CBD to your health routine.
How effective are CBD oils for diabetes?
There is growing evidence that CBD oil for diabetes is effective not only at reducing blood sugar levels but also protecting against some of the most common effects that are associated with the disease.
Since it helps regulate glucose levels, people who have experienced weight loss or decreased appetite due to their condition can now enjoy a better life. It has also been proven to protect the cells against some of the most common complications that are associated with diabetes such as retinopathy and neuropathy.
What conditions can CBD oils help fight?
CBD is a potent antioxidant, which means it is very effective at fighting oxidative stress – including stress affecting mental health. In fact, how CBD oils work for depression is similar to how they help control glucose levels.
It stimulates GLP-1, which reduces the amount of insulin that is released into the bloodstream after eating a meal. This chemical reaction helps patients maintain their appetite and prevent them from overeating or bingeing on unhealthy food.
Therefore, CBD oils for diabetes can also be beneficial in improving your overall health.
How to take CBD oils for diabetes?
Typically, you should start taking CBD by putting just a few drops under your tongue. This organ is rich in blood vessels and absorbs the CBD quickly, usually within a few minutes, which helps you feel its health benefits almost immediately.
The second method is by using a vaporizer, but it can take a few hours before you start noticing any difference in your condition. It works best when taken during bedtime as it relaxes your muscles and helps you fall asleep.
Why choose CBD oils for diabetes?
There are a few reasons why you might want to consider using CBD oils for diabetes.
· It is a natural way to help manage your blood sugar levels.
· It is a potent antioxidant that helps fight oxidative stress – including mental health conditions such as depression.
· It helps regulate glucose levels by stimulating GLP-1, which reduces the amount of insulin that is released into the bloodstream after eating a meal.
If you suffer from diabetes type 1 or 2, using CBD oil can help to manage glucose levels more naturally.
What does CBD do for diabetes?
People with diabetes who take CBD report that the product is effective in controlling their inflammation, reducing insulin resistance, and moderating blood sugar levels. In fact, some research shows it can even help prevent complications of type-2 diabetes without causing any side effects or serious health issues.
Does CBD have a direct impact on glucose levels?
The lack of human clinical studies on CBD oil is a shame because it’s clear that this cannabinoid has the potential to improve blood sugar levels. One possible reason for such research restrictions may come from marijuana’s legal status as a Schedule 1 drug under federal law.
This means researchers need permission from authorities before conducting any experiments involving THC or cannabis plants in order for their work not only to meet regulatory standards but also protect against liability should anything go wrong during testing.
The Endocannabinoid System and Diabetes
The body has an endocannabinoid system that plays a role in regulating energy metabolism. Emerging data suggests “the sensitivity of insulin response can be changed by this intricate regulatory network.”
This means people with diabetes may have higher or lower blood sugar levels depending on how responsive their cells are to the hormone through changes made from inputting information into them via receptors.
The endocannabinoid system is a network of receptors, neurotransmitters, and systems that work together to regulate how you feel at any given time. CBD oils for diabetes can impact this delicate neurological balance in many different ways for some people but not others.
Can I use CBD gummies for diabetes?
The short answer is yes, CBD gummies for diabetes are a good option as long as they contain no THC. THC is the psychoactive compound found in marijuana that gets you high and can make it difficult to function normally and safely.
Gummies and other types of edibles allow you to control how much CBD enters your body without having to worry about how long it takes to kick in. Furthermore, they are a great option for people who don’t like the taste of most oils and tinctures.
If you want to use CBD gummies for diabetes, your best bet is to find one with no THC and no added sugars or artificial ingredients, so you don’t experience any negative health effects such as feeling tired, losing focus, or having a headache. However, most gummies contain little to no sugar and a few if any carbs.
How to take CBD for diabetes?
There are plenty of options to take CBD oils for diabetes. Below you’ll see the various options laid out and explained in better detail for you to opt for the best option to take your CBD for diabetes with ease.
CBD Oil Tinctures
These are an excellent choice for people who experience chronic pain, anxiety, or any other symptoms that CBD can help alleviate. The tincture itself is ingested orally and the cannabinoids also absorb through your skin to provide relief at a cellular level throughout your entire body.
CBD Oil Capsules
This is another great option for people who want to avoid using CBD oil in ways that involve the ingestion of any solvents or chemicals. The capsules themselves are filled with either oil or powder and can be taken by mouth to get an immediate effect.
This is the purest form of CBD you can take because it has nothing else added into it for flavor, color, or any other beneficial reason. It’s also a great choice for people with allergies to certain substances because it doesn’t contain THC in any capacity.
CBD Oil Gummies
These are the most convenient option if you want a quick and tasty way to get your daily dose of CBD oil. They tend to have a lower concentration of CBD per serving but make up for it by being a tasty and easy way to take your oil.
In some cases, all you have to do is bite or chew the gummy as directed on the package and you’ll receive the benefits as fast as possible.
All of these options are great choices depending on how much CBD you’re looking to take and how often you want to experience its benefits. Each method may work better than the other for certain people so it’s important to consider which one works best for YOU.
What are CBD edibles?
CBD edibles are foods infused with cannabidiol that allow them to retain their therapeutic qualities while taken in a tasty way by people who want to experience the benefits of CBD without resorting to taking it in its isolated form.
CBD oils for diabetes can be taken via these edibles in a tasty way that doesn’t make you feel like you’re missing out on something better. All sorts of different options are available if you search high and low enough for them.
What criteria did we consider to find the best CBD oils for diabetes?
When it comes to finding the best CBD oil for diabetes, we took into consideration a number of different criteria that allowed us to come up with our own list of options. We looked at the quality of the CBD oil, the ease of use, and how well they help to improve symptoms such as chronic pain and inflammation.
Quality and Potency
It’s important that you take into consideration the quality of CBD oil you use if you plan to take it for any specific purpose. This is especially important when it comes to taking CBD for diabetes because different people require different concentrations of CBD depending on their weight, age, and other existing health conditions.
When searching for the best CBD oils or gummies for diabetes, it’s important to consider the potency of what you’re taking. If you have a sensitivity or are just starting CBD for the first time, then go with something that has a lower concentration of CBD per serving so that you don’t take too much of it at one time.
The convenience factor is why some people prefer CBD oils or gummies over something like an oil tincture that you need to put under your tongue. This is especially true for people who are not fans of the taste (although some brands come in tasty flavors) and want a quick way to get their dose of CBD on the go.
Easy to Use
This one isn’t too much of a challenge because CBD oils, capsules, and gummies are all fairly easy to use no matter which one you choose. When it comes to how much CBD you should take per serving or how often you should take it, this depends on a lot of different factors so be sure to do your research before using any particular product.
CBD oils for diabetes were the most commonly used form of CBD in our research so we made sure to focus on different brands that offer top-quality oils. We looked at how much CBD each brand offers, what concentration of CBD they use, flavors available if any, and convenience factors that may come into play when deciding which product is best to take.
The effectiveness of any given brand of CBD oil may vary depending on the individual because everyone has a different response to it. If you’ve never taken CBD oil before or are not used to taking it daily, then go with something that has a lower concentration of CBD so that you don’t take too much at one time and experience unwanted side effects.
The price of any given brand of CBD oil is going to vary depending on where you live and what type of product it is. The best CBD oils for diabetes won’t be necessarily the cheapest ones but we took into consideration how much CBD they offer per serving, how concentrated it is, and whether or not flavors were available.
Best 3 CBD oils for diabetes
We’ve compiled a list of some of the best CBD oils for diabetes based on what they offer in terms of concentration, convenience factors, taste options if any, and the overall quality of each particular brand.
1. Penguin CBD
Image courtesy Penguin CBD
The Penguin CBD oil tincture offers a range of concentration options depending on your needs, which is a great option if you want to be able to start very low and work your way up as needed. This brand comes in a peppermint oil flavor that tastes pretty good and is easy to use since it’s an oil-based product.
What we liked
· Offers a range of concentration sizes
· Tastes good and is easy to use with oil-based CBD
· Conveniently packaged in dropper bottles for on the go use
Image courtesy Everest
When it comes to convenience, we couldn’t get much easier than the Everest CBD full-spectrum oil. This is a tasty chocolate flavored oil that you need to add to your own foods or beverages in order to use. It’s made from organic hemp seed oil and is free of GMOs, preservatives, and artificial flavors.
What we liked
· The best tasting CBD oil we’ve ever had
· Organic hemp seed oil is GMO-free
· Free of preservatives or artificial flavors
3. Verma Farms
Image courtesy Verma Farms
The Verma Farms full-spectrum CBD oil uses a whole plant extraction method that has been lost in time for some reason. This is a hemp seed-based product so it’s vegan friendly and free of GMOs, gluten, soy, and allergens as well as being non-GMO.
What we liked
· Made from hemp seeds for a vegan-friendly option
· Non-GMO and made from whole plant extractions
· Effectiveness may vary depending on the individual
CBD is a safe supplement that has been proven to help with anxiety and chronic pain. To maximize the benefits of CBD, it’s best not to take stimulants such as Adderall at the same time because this can lead to decreased appetite while also increasing the risk for diarrhea or metformin-related side effects like heartburn when combined with certain medications.
There are many different types of medicines out there but they all work towards treating your symptoms differently which means you should talk to your doctor about what works well together before starting any new treatment plan.
It’s also important to note that CBD oil is completely safe and legal so you don’t have to worry about getting into trouble with the law. It might not be an option for everyone but it can definitely help with some chronic conditions.
Also, there are plenty of other benefits linked to CBD oil in general which is why it’s important to learn more about it and how it may be beneficial for you. For a lot of people, one of the biggest benefits is going to include stress relief. If you’re feeling anxious or have a hard time relaxing, taking CBD oil orally can help a lot.
Keep in mind that everyone is going to react differently to CBD oil so there’s always a chance of side effects happening with some people. The key is to talk with your doctor about what you should expect and how it may affect certain medications you’re already on.
Since there isn’t a lot of scientific research covering the use of CBD oil and diabetes yet, this is a good way to make sure you don’t have any serious side effects taking place when combining it with certain medications or other supplements.
Is CBD oil safe for seniors?
CBD oil is completely safe for seniors to take for a variety of different reasons. However, it’s important that you consult with your doctor or another qualified professional before using CBD oil.
Contacting your doctor is especially important if you have a major chronic condition like diabetes since everyone has a unique reaction to cannabinoids and there may be the potential for problems when combined with certain medications.
Since CBD oil is made from hemp, it’s legal across the U.S. and a lot of other places which means you don’t have to worry about getting in trouble with the law.
Will CBD oil get me high?
CBD oil is non-psychoactive which means it doesn’t have a high effect. This is why CBD oil has been used for different types of health problems as well as mental health conditions like anxiety and depression with great success.
The lack of THC is the reason why CBD oil won’t get you high because this ingredient does have psychoactive effects.
Why is CBD oil so expensive?
CBD oil can be expensive but there are plenty of affordable options out there that you can look into. Another important thing to keep in mind is that CBD oil might not be covered by insurance so this means the cost may come out-of-pocket.
A lot of people might see CBD oil as a luxury but it’s important to keep in mind that this is a natural medicine made from the cannabis plant. The cost of CBD oil may be more than what you pay at your local drugstore or supplement store for over-the-counter products containing certain herbs and other ingredients.
Finding an affordable option can definitely help save you money but it’s also important to make sure the product is made from high-quality ingredients.
Before purchasing CBD oil, you should research any company offering it to make sure they are reputable and have a good history of making safe products. It’s also a good idea to take some time doing price comparisons for CBD oil that’s made with the same ingredients.
Which CBD oils are best for diabetes?
Final thoughts on CBD oils for diabetes
There are some things that everyone should keep in mind when trying to find the best CBD oils for diabetes. Everyone is different so be sure to do your research before using any product, especially if you’ve never tried it before.
Another thing to keep in mind is that not all CBD oils are created equal so be sure that you’re reading the best quality reviews and considering only those brands that offer organic hemp seed oil or whole plant extractions.