Study Suggests Cannabis Can Act As A Shield Against Diabetes For Obese Individuals

Researchers found that marijuana use is associated with lower rates of insulin resistance in obese subjects.

A new study shows a history of long-term cannabis use is linked to lower insulin resistance levels in obese individuals. This study is the latest in a trend of compelling evidence suggesting marijuana use could be beneficial as a treatment against diabetes.

The researchers’ findings are particularly significant because obese individuals are at an increased risk of insulin resistance, causing higher rates of diabetes in those individuals. Insulin is an important hormone in the body which helps transport glucose, or sugar, to cells. The glucose turns into energy.

Diabetes causes the body to not be able to make enough insulin, or become resistant to insulin, causing sugar to build up in the body. This can cause serious health complications including heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, and lower-extremity amputations. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S.

The study focused on U.S. adults ages 18- 59, of which 50 percent were women and 50 percent were men. To conduct the study, a team of researchers from the Canadian Institute of Health studied insulin levels in fit, overweight, and obese subjects to examine marijuana’s effect on diabetes.

The results were that marijuana use is linked with lower fasting insulin serum (FINS) and homeostasis model assessment-estimated insulin resistance (HOMA‐IR) in obese but not non‐obese adults, even when the marijuana frequency was less than four times per month. The study’s authors also stated that individuals who previously used cannabis, but had not in some time, saw positive results.

“Former marijuana consumers with high lifetime use had significantly lower FINS (fasting insulin) levels that persisted, independent of the duration of time since last use,” the study’s authors concluded.

There are two types of diabetes, Type I and Type II. Type I is less common and typically associated with juveniles. Type II is more common and is typically associated with obese adults.

How Marijuana Effects Diabetes

Marijuana Effects on Diabetes

The study evaluating marijuana’s effects on diabetes was published in the Journal of Diabetes in June. The findings reflected similar results found in a study published in the American Journal of Medicine, which also concluded marijuana use was associated with lower rates of insulin resistance.

A research study from the Connecticut School of Medicine found that cannabinoids are involved in maintaining a healthy gut and reduce inflammation. The study suggested that consuming cannabis could help treat type I diabetes.

A study published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine examined the relationship between cannabis and obesity. Researchers found that men who use marijuana have a lower body mass (BMI) index than those who do not use marijuana.

BMI is the measure of a person’s body fat by weight and height. A low BMI is commonly associated with a lower rate of cardiometabolic risk factors, or the chances of damaging the heart and blood vessels.

This report’s findings are similar to the findings in another recent study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology suggesting that cannabis users are less likely to put on weight and less likely to become obese.

More Cannabis Research

Want to know more about scientific studies on cannabis? Check out our news page for up to date reports on cannabis news.