Where does CBD fit into diabetes management?

Where does CBD fit into diabetes management
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CBD is not going to cure diabetes, and neither is it a replacement for a healthy lifestyle or anti diabetic drugs. However, it can help when used as a part of a multi-dimensional approach to diabetes. This article looks at what to expect from CBD when living with diabetes.

In western nations, 7% to 10% of adults are living with diabetes. And another 30% are living with pre diabetes or borderline diabetes. The majority of those living with pre diabetes are at high risk of developing diabetes in the near future. 

Diabetes is primarily a disease of lifestyle. More than 90% of people diagnosed with diabetes have type 2 diabetes, which is caused by excessive calorie intake, sedentary lifestyle, stress, and other factors. Diabetes preventive studies show that one may reduce the risk of diabetes by more than 50% by just 90 minutes of weekly exercise and reducing body weight by 5% to 7%. 

Diabetes prevention studies also show that medications are not often successful in preventing diabetes. Thus, those living with the borderline condition or mild diabetes might reverse it through non-pharmacological means. And it is where the role of lifestyle modification and use of supplements like CBD come in. CBD will not just help alter behaviour, reduce stress, but studies show that it may be a metabolic regulator.

Evidence in support of using CBD for diabetes management

Extensive research into the subject confirms that CBD may help with diabetes, although benefits will be mild when used alone. One may benefit more by using CBD along with lifestyle changes like diet management, bodyweight management, and increased physical activity.

Marijuana is known to stimulate the appetite. But, interestingly enough, almost all the population-based studies confirm that cannabis users are less likely to be obese than non-users. It seems that cannabis helps weight gain for people living with low body mass index. Conversely, it helps lose bodyweight if a person is living with obesity. Researchers are not sure why this phenomenon occurs, but they think that CBD seems to act as a metabolic regulator in some way.

In recent years there has been a high interest in the medical community in understanding the role of CBD in preventing diabetes. A meta-analysis of large epidemiological data form US indicates that cannabis users are little less likely to develop diabetes

One of the most extensive studies to date was done in Sweden. A study in 18000 men and women regarding the association between type 2 diabetes and Cannabis use demonstrated that although cannabis users are less likely to have diabetes, the benefit is weak.

What we understand from the above studies that CBD when used alone, it may not be a sure way to protect from diabetes. But these studies do confirm the theory (keeping in mind the huge sample size of these studies) that CBD has a positive effect, and may play a role in diabetes prevention and management.

In comparison to diabetes prevention, few studies have focused on the role of CBD in diabetes management. Nonetheless, studies show that CBD may have a role in reducing waist circumference and lowering fasting glucose levels.

People living with diabetes develop numerous complications over time. CBD may also help counter those issues. Thus, it may help with neuropathic pain and with diabetes-related anxiety. It may also improve symptoms related to autonomic neuropathy. The role of CBD in preventing cardiovascular complications is unclear. Nonetheless, it does not seem to have any adverse effects.

Where does CBD fit into diabetes management?

As already mentioned in this article, do not expect that CBD alone would be enough. It can support the efforts to prevent or reverse diabetes when used along with other means. 

Some ways in which CBD may help, in diabetes, are:

  • Start early – remember that diabetes (type 2) takes years to develop. It is a result of years of neglect. Some studies indicate that it develops at least over the course of a decade. It means that those thinking to use CBD to prevent diabetes must start using it early. Thus, start shedding extra pounds, exercising, and changing dietary choices whilst using CBD as a supportive supplement.
  • Prediabetes – It is not a disease but is slowly emerging as a diagnosis. As per the American Diabetes Association, people with fasting glucose between 5.6–6.9 mmol/L (100–125 mg/dL) are prediabetics. It is time for more stringent measures. One may use CBD at higher dosages. Obese individuals should plan to lose at least 10% of body weight, and exercise at least 90 minutes a week.
  • Diabetes – those who are already diagnosed with diabetes can use CBD as a supportive treatment to aid in controlling blood sugar, reducing anxiety, improving motivation, and enhancing sleep quality. CBD may help improve metabolism. It cannot replace medications but may help prevent disease progression. It may help prevent various diabetes-related complications, to a degree.
  • Advanced diabetes- when living with advanced diabetes, controlling blood sugar levels may become quite a challenge. Many people are maybe using insulin. Everyone in the advanced phase is living with some severe complications caused mainly by neuropathies and vasculopathies. CBD may provide limited benefits in terms of improving metabolism or blood sugar levels. However, it may help provide relief from symptoms caused by neuropathies. Thus, it may help counter pain or tingling sensation in hands and feet. It may reduce nervousness and anxiety and improve sleep quality. It may also play a role in preventing changes like dry skin or excessive sweating.

To conclude, one can include CBD at every stage of diabetes management. It will work only as a part of a wider effort to manage diabetes. Its use is rational, as everyone living with diabetes must use some additional ways to manage the condition. Learning about the disease conditions, and taking initiative is a better way of managing chronic ailments.

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