“SWEET” ISSUES OR MEDICAL MARIJUANA IN TREATING DIABETES
Our recent article was devoted to metabolic process in stimulating and regulating appetite. We made up our mind to continue metabolic topic in covering diabetes disease.
According to National Diabetes Statistics Report an estimated 23.1 million people – or 7.2% of the U.S. population – had diagnosed diabetes. And in 2015 diabetes was the 7th leading cause of death in the United States.
In spite of the fact, that diabetes isn’t so popularized as a severe and dangerous disease like for instance cancer and it’s quite possible to live with diabetes normally, the staggering figures show that it should be concerned seriously. For simple people never faced diabetes this disease is associated with sugar, or its high level in the blood. Of course it’s not because of chocolate and sweets, but we have to consider sugar blood, called glucose.
To understand what diabetes is and how harmful it can be, we need to get the idea of how glucose is controlled. And it is the job of the hormone insulin, which is produced by the pancreas. Insulin is responsible for regulating sugar and fat from consumed food. Diabetes can develop if the pancreas produces little or no insulin (type 1 diabetes), or when there is insulin in our body, but it couldn’t be accepted properly (type 2 diabetes).
The type 1 and type 2 diabetes may come out in (mainly for patients with untreated diabetes):
- dehydration (increased thirst)
- weight loss not because of the lack of appetite
- increased urine output
- fatigue and weakness
- frequent infections
- blurred vision
- tingling or numbness in the feet or toes
- skin problems
Diabetes may result in such chronic complications as:
- kidney damage;
- nerve damage (which consequently may result in erectile dysfunction (ED, impotence), stomach and intestines disorders);
- eye complications: diabetic retinopathy (it may occur in those patients who have been suffering from diabetes for at least 5 years), cataracts and glaucoma.
Consequently, because of the complicated and many-sided nature of this far not so simple disease the multipurpose cure has not been found yet. The treatment is complex and mainly based on the life style. An endocrinologist (a diabetes specialist) composes a diabetes treatment plan that consists of medications, exercise and diet.
Telling the truth, diabetes treatment is rather expensive. As the website CostHelper.com says typical costs for patients covered by insurance vary from $10-50 to $200 per month and for patients without health insurance expenses vary from $4-100 to $200-500 per month. But it’s only for medications, not saying about blood glucose meters that are necessary for constant monitoring of glucose level. On average it will cost for about $20-80. If a patient without insurance uses insulin pumps, he may pay $4,500-$6,500, depending on the its brand, features and size. Patients with insurance may expect typical copay and coinsurance rates ranging from $5 to half of the total cost of the pump. For example, in 2012 the United States paid 245 billion dollars for annual diabetes cost.
Paradoxically, people are ready to pay billions on medications that perhaps won’t work instead of spending far lesser amounts on research and simply legalizing given by nature a miraculous plant that could solve numerous health issues. As you’ve already guessed, we mean cannabis. Medical marijuana may be not only an effective, but also reasonably priced cure.
The first and foremost research paper that comes to the mind is the American Alliance for Medical Cannabis (AAMC) report claiming that medical cannabis may stabilize sugar blood. It also has an anti-inflammatory quality. While diabetics may experience gastrointestinal cramps and pain as mentioned above, medical cannabis helps relieve it because cannabinoids work as “anti-spasmodic agents”.
MMJ contributes to lower blood pressure and keeps blood vessels open and consequently improves circulation. From a practical point of view cannabis can be used as edibles and substituting cannabis butter and oil in foods “benefits cardiac and arterial health in general”. Mixed with some natural oil, cannabis may be used in topical creams to be applied to limbs affected by neuropathic pain and tingling.
One more fascinating study published in 2013 in the American Journal of Medicine reports that of 4657 participants, where 579 were current marijuana users and 1975 were past users, marijuana use was associated with a smaller waist size and 16% lower fasting insulin levels.
A 2015 study with type 2 diabetics shows that THCV, a form of a found in cannabis substance THC, is rather efficacious in decreasing of fasting blood glucose, improving of the production of insulin.
Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, led by Dr. Raphael Mechoulam conducted a study on rats and concluded that anti-inflammatory properties of CBD could treat the chronic inflammation and therefore improve the body’s metabolism.
Moreover CBD component could also be helpful in treating the above mentioned diabetic retinopathy, as a study on diabetic rats shows.
For sure anti-MMJ supporters may claim about a series of after-effects of diabetes medical marijuana treatment such as increased appetite, heart rate, dizziness, breathing issues, impaired concentration and memory or withdrawal effects. But that’s why we need more research and freedom for this research to find out pros and cons and finally come up with a unique and multi-purpose cure, that we strongly believe can be produced from medical marijuana.
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