Could Medical Marijana Lower the Risk of Diabetes?
Recent U.S. research results revealed that regular smokers of cannabis experience fewer risk factors for diabetes than non-users, and furthermore the routine pot smokers seem to have better blood-sugar control overall.
These surprising results are based on a study of American adults who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Survey by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. The study group members underwent a series of medical and blood tests that provided information about each participant’s blood-sugar control. The study revealed that the regular marijuana smokers, on average, had 16 per cent lower fasting insulin levels than group members who never smoked cannabis. These research results suggest that regular marijuana smokers use insulin more efficiently than non-users.
The results of three prior marijuana use studies have shown that users may be at lower risk for diabetes and tend to have less fat, but especially less belly fat — despite the fact cannabis smokers seem to eat more calories. Why? “The most important finding is that current users of marijuana appeared to have better carbohydrate metabolism than nonusers,” according to Murray Mittleman,
Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School and lead researcher of the study. “Their fasting insulin levels were lower, and they appeared to be less resistant to the insulin produced by their body to maintain a normal blood-sugar level.”
Researchers say it’s not clear whether marijuana or other factors—such as reduced stress levels—are the cause of the beneficial effects. It’s too early for any conclusions says Mittleman. But, he added, “the metabolic changes that we are observing are the sorts of things that are favourable wit respect to indicating a lower risk of developing diabetes.” Mittleman recommends more cannabis research be undertaken