Almost 30 million people in the United States – about 10 percent of the
population – suffers from diabetes and its related ailments.
Unfortunately, two-thirds of diabetes patients will die due to
complications from the disease, but for people with diabetes who also
have peripheral vascular disease, some hope is on the horizon. Studies
now show that the use of medical marijuana may be able to slow down the
progression of vascular damage and prolong life.
Peripheral Vascular Disease
The build up of fatty materials in arteries over time can result in
vascular disease. This accumulation of fats, called atherosclerosis,
restricts important blood flow throughout the body. Atherosclerosis is a
specific type of arteriosclerosis, referring to the hardening of
arteries due to that fatty build up. This can be a big threat to
diabetes patients. People with diabetes may already experience issues
with weakened blood vessels, as well have fatty deposits that build
faster than in non-diabetics. As a result, peripheral vascular disease
may hit diabetics sooner, faster and with more deadly results than
experienced by non-diabetics. Early and continued intervention is
important to both prolong life and enhance quality of life.
Medical Marijuana, Inflammation, and PVD
While medical marijuana cannot reverse peripheral vascular disease, it
may be of significant value to diabetes patients for another reason:
inflammation reduction. With the progression of peripheral vascular
disease through increasingly blocked – or hardened – arteries,
inflammation increases around blood vessels, and eventually throughout
the body. However, in a recent report from the ETH Zurich/Swiss Federal
the potential for inflammation reduction through medical cannabis was
more fully explored.
Cannabis and Central Nervous System Receptors
Cannabis is composed of more than 450 different properties, several of
which interact with two key receptors in the human body: CB1 and CB2. It
is the latter receptor that helps to control how a body reacts to
conditions that may result in inflammation. When cannabis and CB2
interact, less inflammatory signals are the result. That means that for
a variety of ailments that lead to inflammation, including
arteriosclerosis, marijuana may be of significant benefit.
Many other peripheral diseases that impact diabetes patients also
include a component of inflammation, such as glaucoma and neuropathy.
From prolonged life to improved vision and decreased pain levels, the
use of medical marijuana can prove beneficial for many diabetics.