DOES CBD LOWER BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS?
CBD has been shown to reduce levels of resistin which is a hormone that increases the production of ‘bad cholesterol’ in the liver and reduces the livers ability to clear ‘bad cholesterol’ from the blood. CBD can also increase levels of GIP which is a hormone that stimulates the release of insulin. These mechanisms indicate that CBD could help to manage blood sugar levels.
There are more than 4.9 million people with diabetes in the UK, and over 13.6 million people in the UK are at increased risk of type 2 diabetes, with an estimated eight hundred and fifty thousand people with type 2 diabetes that have yet to be diagnosed.
Why is this so significant? According to diabetes.org.uk, diabetes leads to around 9,600 amputations and seriously impacts the sight of over 1,700 people every year, as well as costing the NHS approximately £10 billion per year - that’s about 10% of the NHS yearly budget!
With those figures in mind, any way to reduce the impact of diabetes will free up resources for the NHS, and improve individual lives. The emerging evidence regarding the onset of diabetes indicates inflammation as the main, underlying cause, with the behaviours associated with diabetes - a sedentary lifestyle, a lack of physical activity, an energy dense diet - driving the inflammation.
With this knowledge, ways of reducing inflammation could have a positive impact on the onset of diabetes, and CBD is a compound that has been shown to help regulate inflammation in the body.
WHAT IS CBD OIL?
CBD is one of many compounds found in the cannabis plant, known as cannabinoids. CBD is short for ‘cannabidiol’ and has antipsychotic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. In order to make products containing CBD, it must be extracted from the cannabis plant, more often from cannabis plants with a THC level of less than 0.3% - these are technically known as hemp plants due to the low level of THC.
The CBD is extracted and added to a carrier oil - this is often made from coconut or palm oil - it can then be administered and added to a variety of products as required.
CBD OIL AS A TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS?
There are a variety of ailments that CBD is reportedly helping, from chronic pain and insomnia to epilepsy and other conditions that cause seizures. This is backed up by the US Food and Drug Administration FDA that has licensed one medication that uses CBD, called Epidiolex. This is used for rare forms of epilepsy to reduce the frequency of seizures, and in some rare cases, CBD has been shown to eliminate seizures altogether.
There are no other official medications containing just CBD, however many CBD users are reporting improvements in other health conditions including chronic pain, insomnia, and muscle spasm, to name a few. The mechanism for the wide variety of effects comes down to the same properties that suggest CBD could help with diabetes - interacting with the endocannabinoid system to reduce inflammation, and eliminate reactive particles known as ‘free radicals’.
The endocannabinoid system is another internal system in the human body, much like the circulatory system, that uses cannabinoid-like compounds to send signals - hence ‘endo’ meaning internal, ‘cannabinoid’ as in compounds found in cannabis. These endocannabinoids are neurotransmitters - chemical signallers that trigger certain processes when they are released.
By interacting with the endocannabinoid system, in particular with CB1 receptors, CBD has shown promise in treating stress-related ailments such as anxiety and depression.
Inflammation is a natural response to damage to cells, or foreign objects that have made their way into the human body, so it is not in itself a bad thing. Chronic inflammation, however, can lead to the immune system attacking friendly cells, which is definitely a bad thing. Multiple sclerosis is an example of the immune system attacking friendly cells, the protective covering of nerve cells known as myelin.
HOW DOES CBD OIL HELP WITH DIABETES TREATMENT?
Diabetes is a condition where the blood glucose level is too high, and normally insulin helps to regulate blood sugar levels. The pancreas is the organ responsible for producing insulin, specifically it is pancreatic islet beta cells (β-cells) that do the job. In type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks these cells, which means that, eventually, insulin can’t be produced in the body.
In Type 2 Diabetes, it is suspected that inflammation is caused by cellular stress, induced by a number of different mechanisms, which leads to reduced insulin secretion and sensitivity to insulin - low insulin sensitivity means the cells have a harder time using glucose in the blood, which keeps the blood glucose level higher than normal.
Both types of diabetes result in something called ‘diabetic neuropathy’, a form of nerve damage that occurs due to high levels of glucose. In diabetes, this usually affects the legs and feet. There are four types of diabetic neuropathy:
- Peripheral Neuropathy - often worse at night, it affects the legs and feet then the arms and hands. Symptoms include numbness, tingling sensations, sharp pains or cramps, increased sensitivity to touch and issues with the feet that include ulcers, and pain in the joints and bones.
- Autonomic Neuropathy - affects the eyes, heart, bladder, stomach, intestines, and sex organs. Symptoms include bladder issues, slow emptying of the bowels (gastroparesis) leading to appetite loss in addition to nausea and vomiting, reduced sexual response, and slower adjusting of the eyes due to changes in ambient light level.
- Proximal Neuropathy - typically affects the thighs, hips, buttocks or legs but can impact the abdominal and chest area. Symptoms include severe pain, atrophy of thigh muscles, and severe stomach pain.
- Mononeuropathy - can be cranial or peripheral and refers to specific nerve damage. Symptoms include difficulty focusing vision, aching behind an eye, Bell’s palsy (partial facial paralysis), numbness or tingling in the hands in addition to the hands weakening.
The effect of CBD could help relieve some of these symptoms - many users report using CBD at night to help relax, reduce pain perception and thereby improve their ability to get to sleep, which could aid those suffering from peripheral neuropathy.
Another observed effect of CBD is its ability to impact appetite. It has been shown to reduce appetite in some cases, and increase in others, suggesting it is not necessarily a direct response to CBD, rather the stimulation of the endocannabinoid system that helps to regulate things like hunger.
While one of the potential side effects from CBD is nausea, a 2011 study found that CBD could actually help to reduce nausea. Both of these actions could help to improve the quality of life for those suffering from autonomic neuropathy.
With regard to proximal neuropathy and mononeuropathy, the action of CBD to help reduce pain and inflammation is the mechanism that could help to alleviate symptoms. CBD can help to relax muscles by reducing the amount of neurotransmitters released, which may help those with proximal neuropathy, and reducing the inflammation of the facial nerve may help to prevent the occurrence of Bell’s palsy in those with mononeuropathy.
HOW DOES CBD OIL AFFECT BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS?
- Reduced levels of resistin - a hormone that increases the production of Low Density Lipoproteins - ‘LDL’ also known as ‘bad cholesterol’ - in the liver, while reducing the liver’s ability to clear LDL from the blood.
- Increased levels of GIP - a hormone that stimulates the release of insulin.
These results suggest CBD products could help to improve insulin resistance in people with higher levels of blood sugars.
BEST TYPE OF CBD OIL FOR DIABETES
The CBD products best suited to people with diabetes will depend on the symptoms they are suffering. Localised nerve pain in the hands or feet may be best dealt with using a topical cream - this gets the CBD to where it needs to be, quickly.
In order to help manage blood glucose levels, it will be best to get CBD into the bloodstream, which can be done with CBD oral drops, edibles, and by vaping a CBD e-liquid. It is unlikely that CBD will get into the bloodstream from a topical cream, so intractable pain and fatigue will be better addressed using products that get CBD into the bloodstream.
IS CBD OIL SAFE TO TAKE?
For most people, CBD is well tolerated at levels higher than the doses typically used in the food supplement variety; these are the forms available on the retail market.
Epidiolex, the only FDA approved CBD medication, is administered at 2.5mg per kilo of body weight as a starting dose - that means a person weighing 60kg would start on a dose of 150mg to be taken twice per day. From there, the dose is normally increased to a maintenance dose of 5mg per kilo of body weight, taken twice daily - that’s 300mg of CBD per dose, or 600mg daily.
The World Health Organization reviewed the evidence on CBD and assessed the abuse potential for CBD as incredibly low as there is no psychoactive effect, and there is no potential to develop a dependence. This indicates that CBD is non addictive, won’t cause intoxication, and requires a mammoth dose to cause an overdose.
There are a few things to keep in mind when using CBD, though - for example, while it would take a massive dose to cause a CBD overdose, there is potential for CBD to damage the liver or impair liver function, so there is a good reason for starting off on a low dose and increasing if and when necessary.
As medications are processed by enzymes in the liver, anything that interferes with them is likely to result in unintended concentrations of medication - this could be too little, so the medication has no effect, or too much, resulting in a stronger effect or excess medication that takes longer for the body to process.
This can have dire consequences, and as CBD can interfere with liver enzymes, make sure to speak with a healthcare professional before taking CBD if you are currently taking medication.
HOW DO YOU BUY CBD OIL
As CBD is now available as a food supplement, there are a huge number of ways to get hold of it. From food supplement shops to online CBD retailers, you should be able to find a product that suits your needs.
The task of buying from a reliable source is another story. A study of online bought CBD products from thirty one companies found that 26% of the products tested had less CBD than advertised, and almost 43% of products had more CBD than advertised.
Of particular note was the level of THC in some of the products - here in the UK, only 1mg of THC per packaged product is allowed, yet eighteen of the CBD products investigated showed THC levels of up to 6.43mg per millilitre - this may be enough to cause intoxication, especially in children.
These points indicate the need to buy from trusted, reliable sources, to ensure you are dosing accurately, and the product contains what is listed on the label. When purchasing CBD, make sure to see if the company or brand has much information available online - the more, the better!
Checking the company reviews is another good way to see how other people rate their products and service, so a high proportion of great reviews is another good sign. Don’t be afraid to get in touch with the company over the phone or by email as this may help you make up your mind.
Another great indicator is whether the company has their product testing certificates available! Our independent third-party testing certificates for our CBD drops and gummies are available to view on our website for your peace of mind!
CBD OIL AND DIABETES: DOES CBD LOWER BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS? CONCLUSION
There is some promising evidence that CBD could play a role in diabetes care, helping to reduce inflammation and potentially providing some pain relief: this could help people with diabetes enjoy a better quality of life.
Do remember that while CBD might be able to help relieve symptoms of diabetes, and even slow or reverse the onset of diabetes, it is unlikely to be able to undo the effects of a lifestyle that has brought someone to the point of diabetes onset. Therefore, any action plan to tackle high blood sugar levels should include lifestyle changes - like more exercise, an improved diet, and quitting smoking - to give yourself the best possible outcome.
If you think that a CBD product may be able to help you, then consider SMOKO’s CBD range for your CBD needs. Our CBD products are made in the UK from cannabis sativa L plants responsibly grown in Oregon, USA, using a cryogenic extraction process to get all the cannabinoids (except THC), terpenes and flavonoids into our Broad Spectrum CBD products.