Can cannabis help lower blood sugar levels in diabetics?

Hello and thank you for the great question,

While I wouldn’t recommend that you use cannabis as the only form of treatment for diabetes, there are several (non-clinical) studies which have shown cannabis as beneficial at both preventing and treating diabetes.

Diabetes is associated with high levels of fasting insulin and insulin resistance, as well as low levels of HDL (good cholesterol). In 2013, the results of a five-year study into the effects of cannabis on fasting insulin and insulin resistance were published in the American Journal of Medicine.

The researchers found that current users of cannabis had 16% lower fasting insulin levels than respondents who had never used cannabis, as well as having 17% lower levels of insulin resistance and higher levels of HDL. Respondents who had used cannabis in their lifetime but were not current users showed similar but less pronounced associations, indicating that the protective effect of cannabis fades with time.

The researchers also ran analyses on the data that excluded individuals diagnosed with diabetes. Even after excluding diabetics, current cannabis users were found to exhibit reduced fasting insulin and insulin resistance levels, indicating that cannabis can help prevent the occurrence of diabetes as well as controlling symptoms in diagnosed cases.

However, please keep in mind that there have been no clinical trials to more properly assess cannabis as a viable treatment option for diabetics. Therefore, I recommend that you continue with your conventional medication while using cannabis as an adjunctive treatment – and always consult with your primary care physician about any changes you have made or plan on making with your regimen.

I hope this has been helpful.
Richard Kim MD


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