Diabetes is a group of metabolic diseases that are known for producing hyperglycemia (high blood sugar levels). There are two main types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Both types of diabetes are chronic diseases that affect the way your body regulates blood sugar, or glucose. Glucose is the fuel that feeds your body’s cells, but to enter your cells it needs insulin.
People with type 1 diabetes don’t produce insulin. People with type 2 diabetes don’t respond to insulin as well as they should, and later in the disease, they often don’t make enough insulin. Both types of diabetes can lead to chronically high blood sugar levels. That increases the risk of diabetes complications.
Over time, high blood sugar levels can cause damage, dysfunction, and even failure of various organs like the eyes, kidneys, nerves, heart, and brain. Diabetic complications that are linked to the endocannabinoid system include blindness, atherosclerosis, kidney failure, heart disease, and neuropathic pain.1
Research has shown that CBD and THCV might be useful in stabilizing blood sugars, reducing inflammation in nerves, and reducing the pain associated with neuropathy, though more research is needed.2 CBD can also decrease the arterial inflammation that is common in diabetes.3
In his work with rats, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam and his colleagues also saw CBD not just block the onset of diabetes,4 but the development of it as well.5 A 2010 study showed that CBD helped protect the retinas of diabetic animal subjects.6
- Béla Horváth et al., “The Endocannabinoid System and Plant-Derived Cannabinoids in Diabetes and Diabetic Complications,” The American Journal of Pathology 180, no. 2 (2012): 432–42, doi:10.1016/j.ajpath.2011.11.003.
- Khalid A. Jadoon et al., “Efficacy and Safety of Cannabidiol and Tetrahydrocannabivarin on Glycemic and Lipid Parameters in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Parallel Group Pilot Study,” Diabetes Care 39, no. 10 (2016): 1777–86, doi:10.2337/dc16-0650.
- Mohanraj Rajesh et al., “Cannabidiol Attenuates High Glucose-Induced Endothelial Cell Inflammatory Response and Barrier Disruption,” American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology 293, no. 1 (2007): H610–H619, doi:10.1152/ajpheart.00236.2007.
- Lola Weiss et al., “Cannabidiol Arrests Onset of Autoimmune Diabetes in NOD Mice,” Neuropharmacology 54, no. 1 (2009): 244–49, doi:10.1016/j.neuropharm.2007.06.029.
- L. Weiss et al., “Cannabidiol Arrests,” 2006.
- Azza B. El-Remessy et al., “Neuroprotective and Blood-Retinal Barrier-Preserving Effects of Cannabidiol in Experimental Diabetes,” The American Journal of Pathology 168, no. 1 (2006): 235–44, doi:10.2353/ajpath.2006.050500.