Cannabis and Diabetes

In the interests of a family member who suffers from chronic pain and diabetes, I did some research regarding whether cannabis has any harmful effects for diabetics. Here's what I've found. The full results are also available at my personal site. A couple of years ago my mother started having chronic pain due some problem I don't understand in her spine. She's been on-and-off some pretty potent narcotics to manage the pain, and as been going to get her nerves cauterized every six months to make the pain bearable. It sounds perfectly horrible, not to mention unsustainable. Several months ago she was diagnosed with Diabetes. So she had to quit drinking alcohol and eating sweets. The nerve pain means she can't play golf anymore. So this drives me nuts because it seems like she can't enjoy so many of the things that she always has. All this got me thinking I'd like to get my mother to try Cannabis. The first reason would be to handle her chronic pain in a healthier way than the narcotics she currently has to take ( the risk and toxicity assessment of cannabinoids verses pharmaceutical pain relievers tends to be favorable. I would welcome any contradicting evidence). But is it safe for a Diabetic to consume cannabis?

The propaganda problem

The worst effect of the drug war is how difficult it makes getting good information. You simply can't trust most of the information that's available, particularly if it comes from a government agency (It is in the the charter of the ONDCP that they lie about the real effects of prohibited drugs. Googling the issue will help, but you first have to sort through a lot of "we have to protect our diabetic kids by feeding them propaganda" bullshit. If you're willing to wade through the cruft, you can find some real information. Here's a summary of what I've been able to find.

Dangers to diabetics (negative indicators).

The only real danger I have been able to find regarding cannabis use for diabetics is the decreased judgement and increased appetite. It might be best to try it for the first time with a controller.

Benefits to diabetics (positive indicators).

It turns out there is a overwhelming body of research to show that cannabis has many benefits for diabetics.
  • There is evidence that cannabis enables insulin production.
  • There is a large body of anecdotal evidence that medical cannabis may help stabilize blood sugar.
  • The anecdotal evidence is backed up by recent studies showing that Cannaboids arrest the onset of autoimmune diabetes in NOD mice
  • Yissum believes that Cannabidiol is a future drug against diabetes, and is in the process of patenting its cannabis extract.
  • Cannabis is a vasodilator and improves blood flow.
  • While cannabis is not generally thought to be an anti-hypertensive, (meaning it is not a replacement for ACE inhibitors), it contributes to lower blood pressure, which is an important concern for diabetics.
  • Cannabis is an effective substitute for muscle relaxants in the treatment of restless leg syndrome.

Conclusion

If you're a diabetic, it would seem worthwhile to consult with a competent physician regarding using cannabis as a treatment for your condition. If you are concerned about some of the supposed dangers associated with cannabis consumption, I would refer you to this excellent table of marijuana misinformation
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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don't forget diabetic neuropathy

In addition one might want to consider that one of the most painful conditions known to man, peripheral neuropathy and its pain, is controlled well by the cannabinoids. It occurs both in MS patient and diabetics. As a physician, I can personally vouch for its effectiveness.

I would also question the use of radio-ablation techniques, if , in fact the condition was due to neuropathic pain. It seems it would not help much, but the doctor would make a lot of money doing it! A lot of the pain management techniques are coming under increasing scrutiny, mostly from the government, because of their lack of efficacy. They don't understand why they should pay the doctors for something that is not working well! ME EITHER!!

Sincerely,
A former pain doctor!

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