Before my grandma died of complications of Type 2 diabetes, I saw her one last time and she was bathed in a brilliant, white light – sort of like sunrise – those broadcast feelings of peace and rest. It was the end of a hard-scrabble immigrant life in the sugar cane and pineapple fields of Kauai, Hawaii, that afforded my grandparents a small farm filled with cows, pigs, chickens, cats and many, many vegetables.

I write this because diabetes took away my favorite grandma. It pisses me off because there are cannabis strategies now available that weren’t then available. My grandma wouldn’t have smoked but she would certainly have tried edibles, were they available. Research has revealed the great medicinal qualities cannabis possesses in relation to diabetes.

What is Diabetes? Let’s start by saying that almost ten percent of the U.S. population has diabetes. That is 29 million sufferers. And two out of three will die of complications of the disease. So, it certainly takes its societal toll.

There are two types of diabetes. Type 1, also known as “Juvenile diabetes”, is a disorder where the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin. This destruction of pancreas cells happens when certain cells in the body – immune cells – attack and destroy pancreas cells called Beta Cells. These are the cells that make insulin. Broken beta cells send out wrong amounts of insulin which cause the body’s blood sugar to deviate from the norm. So, you can see how disruptive Type 1 diabetes is for People with Diabetes (PWD).

This condition is chronic and patients often require multiple shots of insulin throughout the day. Blood monitoring is crucial.

Type 2 diabetes affects 27 million Americans and it is estimated that there are 86 million people who are Type 2 prediabetic. The cause of Type 2 diabetes is “insulin resistance.” Body cells don’t process insulin as they should, leaving the cells deficient of insulin. The feedback loop breaks down when this deficit of insulin triggers the production of yet more insulin not absorbed by the body. Sugar builds up in the body. Diabetes ensues.

Researchers propose a combination of factors that affect Type 2 diabetes risk. Genetics and extra weight – obese? This can lead to insulin resistance.

People with insulin resistance can be dogged by something called the “metabolic syndrome”. This includes increased blood glucose and high blood pressure, high cholesterol and triglycerides and extra fat around the waist.

Also, when the body detects low blood sugar, the liver sends out glucose. Yet more unneeded sugar. Bad communication between cells causes an insulin or glucose chain reaction. Not good for those suffering from insulin imbalances.

Medical Marijuana or Cannabis

Marijuana has had a long history of medicinal and mystical use. For as long as humans have been aware of special plant and fungi qualities for illness remedies, our health has been intertwined with plant use. Recent research has revealed that medical cannabis can help regulate blood sugar and insulin levels in the body.

A 2005 research paper by a Harvard-trained scientist, Murray Mittleman, associate professor of medicine, demonstrated that cannabis may have positive effects on diabetes.

“The most important finding is that current users of marijuana appeared to have better carbohydrate metabolism than non-users,” Mittleman told a publication. “Their fasting insulin levels were lower and appeared to be less resistant to the insulin produced in the body to maintain a normal blood sugar level.”

What researchers found:
  • Medical marijuana (MMJ) is an anti-inflammatory that may reduce some arterial inflammation common in diabetes
  • There is growing anecdotal evidence that MMJ stabilized blood sugars
  • MMJ has anti-spasmodic agents which relieve muscle cramps and the pain of gastrointestinal disorders
  • There are neuroprotective effects which soothe inflammation of nerves, reducing neuropathic pain by activating brain and body receptors
  • Medical cannabis is a vasodilator which improves blood circulation
  • And, essential for diabetics, MMJ lowers blood pressure
There is a study published in July 2013 in the American Journal of Medicine review and it said, “Of the participants in our study, 579 were current users and 1975 were past users. …[C]urrent marijuana use was associated with 16 percent lower fasting insulin levels, and 17 percent lower incidences of insulin resistance. We found a significant association between marijuana use and smaller waist circumference.”

In 2014, a health journal published a summary of epidemiological studies which found that thousands of former and current cannabis users have lower fasting insulin levels, lower blood glucose, lower body mass index, lower incidences of insulin resistance and a smaller waist circumference. Cha-ching, findings confirmed!

But as with all cannabis studies associated with the U.S., much more research must be done to confirm these results in a scientifically sound way. Do not stop your diabetes drugs and start smoking weed because of this article. We are not saying that we are simply presenting information on this issue. But we are saying that medical cannabis may be a viable remedy for diabetes. Viva la weed!