Studies About CBD Oil & Diabetes [Research Simplified]

Everyone knows someone who is diabetic!

Either the person we know had always been diabetic – that is he/she could be Type 1 diabetic, an autoimmune disease that one is born with,


He has acquired this condition during the course of his or her life – Meaning he or she is Type 2 diabetic, caused due to poor nourishment, imbalanced diet or sedentary lifestyle.

This is how prevalent this disease really is:

But the rest aren’t in the clear either!

These days, a lot of Caucasian children also suffer from type 2 diabetes from a very early age – mostly due to poor nourishment or bad lifestyle. In fact, over 400 million people across the world are now affected by Type 2 diabetes alone.  

Can CBD oil really cure diabetes? What does science say?

You may have heard a lot about the incredible therapeutic qualities of CBD oil. But what you did not hear is that no extensive advanced clinical trials have been conducted on CBD’s effects on diabetes so far. In spite of that, a lot of diabetic patients use CBD oil to help manage their condition.

But, doctors aren’t too keen on prescribing it to their patients, as scientists haven’t been able to clearly establish the physiological connection between CBD and diabetes yet.

So, why does diabetes occur?

Humans, like most other animals, require energy to survive. Our body utilizes the glucose content in our diet to produce energy. But there are times when our body is simply unable to do so. Medically speaking, this is when our pancreas can’t produce a sufficient amount of the enzyme called insulin that metabolizes glucose.

This glucose is then dumped into your bloodstream, while the rest of your body is deprived of the much-needed energy to survive. This increases our blood sugar or blood glucose level, leading to diabetes.

Diabetes can be effectively managed if caught in time. But if left untreated, it can lead to loads of other diseases and conditions, including:

Not only do these diseases reduce our quality of life, but they can also be life-threatening.

Now, coming back to the real question:

Can CBD oil really “cure” diabetes? Probably not!

But tests on animals have led us to believe that it may be able to decrease or control the incidence of the disease through an “immunomodulatory mechanism”.

Here are some studies that attribute CBD for playing a therapeutic role in managing diabetes and its symptoms.

Although this does not point to these receptors directly controlling insulin production or CBD being the cure for diabetes, it certainly seems to indicate that these receptors may play a crucial role in the production of insulin.

However, a lot more research still needs to be done to find any conclusive evidence of the physiological mechanisms and the exact chemical pathways responsible for the changes that CBD has been credited for by so many people.

An Interesting Turn In Scientific Research

A preliminary study (3) conducted on humans has yielded some very promising results. So much so, it prompted Dr. Joseph Alpert of the American Journal of Medicine to seek increased funding and collaboration from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the National Institute of Health (NIH) for research on CBD’s effects on diabetic patients.

The same study, which was deemed by many as the first of its kind to “investigate the relationship between marijuana, glucose, and insulin resistance”, also prompted some Harvard Health researchers to associate marijuana use with a decrease in insulin resistance as well as an improvement in the overall blood sugar levels in the bloodstream.

In January 2018, Harvard Medical School’s Dr. Peter Grinspoon referenced this study (3) to point out that cannabis use can directly help regulate blood sugar levels, waist size, and body mass index (BMI), all of which are crucial to prevention and control of Type-1 and Type-2 diabetes.

Does this mean CBD oil can act as a good preventive to diabetes? Let’s see what some other researchers found out.  

Subjects who had used cannabis in some form or other in their lifetime, but were currently not on it, showed similar but diminished associations, leading researchers to conclude that cannabis’ “protective effect” fades with time.

Note that this was not a test on the effects of CBD oil, but of marijuana as a whole.

However, an Israeli-American biopharmaceutical company in 2015 began stage 2 trials on the use of CBD to treat diabetes. Their research did succeed in demonstrating the phytocannabinoid’s role in converting white fat into weight-reducing brown fat, promoting normal insulin production and sugar metabolism (5&6).  

But, these studies are still, in no way, conclusive enough for doctors to prescribe CBD oil as a treatment method.

While we may still not have sufficient data from clinical human trials on CBD’s direct effect in treating human diabetic patients, there has certainly been a good indication that it may be able to them help manage some of the symptoms of diabetes. Besides, it can also help curb the potentially more dangerous conditions and diseases (mentioned earlier) that diabetes can cause.

Other ways CBD can help diabetic patients

The good news is that some concrete evidence has indeed been found on CBD’s role in helping with some of the underlying symptoms of diabetes, which may aid in preventing any resultant complication in the patient’s condition or his condition to take a more serious, life-threatening turn.

In a study, published in the American Journal of Pathology in 2006, the protective effects of cannabidiol (CBD) were examined on diabetic rats after 1, 2, or 4 weeks. CBD treatment significantly reduced oxidative stress, decreased the levels of tumor-forming protein agents that also lead to inflammation, and prevented retinal cell death and stopped blood vessel porosity in the diabetic retina. Hence, it was proved that CBD can reduce neurotoxicity, inflammation, and breakdown of retinal blood vessels in diabetic animals by inhibiting the inflammation-causing cytokines (11). Besides, Cannabis compounds have also been shown to considerably reduce pressure build-up within the eye in people with glaucoma (an eye disorder caused by diabetic retinopathy).

Risks of CBD oil to diabetic patients?

Using cannabis products, even if it is only CBD oil, can have some adverse effects on diabetic patients. Considering the fact that CBD oil still contains traces of THC, an increased appetite can defeat the whole purpose for obese patients. Also, if cannabinoids can affect the metabolic system and insulin sensitivity, frequent use may also disrupt these functions, especially if the patients are children or young adults.

Then, again abnormally low blood sugar levels can also be detrimental to the health of diabetic patients. When the blood floods with too much insulin, a person can suffer from low sugar in the absence of insufficient glucose level in the body. You will know if this is the case, if you experience symptoms like:

Especially in case of marijuana users, healthcare professionals may mistakenly attribute symptoms of low blood sugar level to marijuana use, and miss the signs of a potential health emergency, leading to the patient’s death.

Type-1 patient Gary Scheiner in Pennsylvania, who is also a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) and an author of several books, cites latest statistics to point out that nearly 30% of people with diabetes aged between 16 and 30 have tried marijuana at least once.

While it may not have as strong a link to cancer as tobacco does, it can certainly have devastating effects on the cognitive functions and can affect diabetes control adversely by:

Final Thoughts

While CBD products may be becoming quite the talk of the town, not everything is as simple or exciting as it seems. Firstly, diabetic patients should never self-medicate. They must not use CBD oil just because their friends or peers think it will help them. It is not like using some herbal oil to masse your dry skin.

CBD is, after all, a cannabinoid – a cannabinoid, which if consumed or used otherwise, may have a far much deeper effect on our physiology than we can imagine. Being diabetic means being more vulnerable to infections and other more serious physical complications, meaning your body isn’t that of a healthy person. It will be detrimental to try CBD oil or any of the cannabidiol variants without the recommendation of your physician.

Admittedly, CBD does seem to help with some of the symptoms and resultant complications of diabetes. However, only your physician, who is acquainted with your medical condition and who, at least, has some experience in using and treating patients with CBD, can determine if your body is equipped to handle an external cannabinoid (CBD is a phytocannabinoid, our body has its own set of endocannabinoids). He alone can gauge if using CBD oil will help you at all.

  1. Autoimmunity. March 2006; Cannabidiol lowers incidence of diabetes in non-obese diabetic mice; Weiss L, Zeira M, Reich S, Har-Noy M, Mechoulam R, Slavin S, Gallily R;
  2. Journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism; June 30, 2016; Endocannabinoid regulation of β-cell functions: implications for glycaemic control and diabetes; T. Jourdan, G. Godlewski, and G. Kunos,  
  3. American Journal of Medicine, July 2013; The impact of marijuana use on glucose, insulin, and insulin resistance among US adults; Penner EA1, Buettner H, Mittleman MA;
  4. Journal Diabetologia. Aug 2008; The endocannabinoid system in obesity and type 2 diabetes; Di Marzo V1;
  5. Abigail Klein Leichman, “Cannabis Extract to Be Used to Treat Diabetes,” Israel 21c, April 21, 2015, -to-be-used-to-treat-diabetes/
  6. British Journal of Pharmacology. Aug 20, 2015; Role of the endocannabinoid system in diabetes and diabetic complications; G Gruden, F Barutta, G Kunos, and P Pacher;
  7. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Author manuscript; Dec 14 2010; Cannabidiol attenuates cardiac dysfunction, oxidative stress, fibrosis, inflammatory and cell death signaling pathways in diabetic cardiomyopathy; Mohanraj Rajesh, PhD, Partha Mukhopadhyay, PhD, Sándor Bátkai, MD, PhD, Vivek Patel, Keita Saito, PhD, Shingo Matsumoto, PhD, Yoshihiro Kashiwaya, MD, PhD, Béla Horváth, MD, PhD, Bani Mukhopadhyay, PhD, Lauren Becker, György Haskó, MD, PhD, Lucas Liaudet, MD, David A Wink, Aristidis Veves, MD, Raphael Mechoulam, PhD, and Pál Pacher, MD, PhD, FAPS, FAHA;
  8. Journal Stroke; Apr 21, 2005; Cannabidiol prevents cerebral infarction via a serotonergic 5-hydroxytryptamine1A receptor-dependent mechanism; Mishima K, Hayakawa K, Abe K, Ikeda T, Egashira N, Iwasaki K, Fujiwara M;
  9. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, May 25, 2012; Cannabidiol for neurodegenerative disorders: important new clinical applications for this phytocannabinoid?; Javier Fernández-Ruiz, Onintza Sagredo, M Ruth Pazos, Concepción García, Roger Pertwee, Raphael Mechoulam, and José Martínez-Orgado;   
  10. Neuroreport, Oct 25, 2004; Cannabidiol prevents infarction via the non-CB1 cannabinoid receptor mechanism; Hayakawa K, Mishima K, Abe K, Hasebe N, Takamatsu F, Yasuda H, Ikeda T, Inui K, Egashira N, Iwasaki K, Fujiwara M.;
  11. American Journal of Pathology; Jan 2006; Neuroprotective and blood-retinal barrier-preserving effects of cannabidiol in experimental diabetes; El-Remessy AB, Al-Shabrawey M, Khalifa Y, Tsai NT, Caldwell RB, Liou GI;
  12. Position Statements, Diabetic Retinopathy; Donald S. Fong, MD, MPH, Lloyd Aiello, MD, PHD, Thomas W. Gardner, MD, George L. King, MD, George Blankenship, MD, Jerry D. Cavallerano, OD, PHD, Fredrick L. Ferris III, MD, Ronald Klein, MD, MPH and for the American Diabetes Association, Diabetes Care Jan 2003;
  13. The Impact of Marijuana Use on Glucose, Insulin, and Insulin Resistance among US Adults; Elizabeth A. Penner, MD, MPH, Hannah Buettner, BA, Murray A. Mittleman, MD, DrPH; PlumX Metrics, American Journal of Medicine, July 2013;

American Journal of Epidemiology; Obesity and Cannabis Use: Results From 2 Representative National Surveys; August 24, 2011;  

  2. J Pain, July 2015; Efficacy of Inhaled Cannabis on Painful Diabetic Neuropathy; Wallace MS, Marcotte TD, Umlauf A, Gouaux B, Atkinson JH.
  3. European Journal of Pain, January 13, 2014; A double‐blind, randomized, placebo‐controlled, parallel group study of THC/CBD spray in peripheral neuropathic pain treatment; M. Serpell  S. Ratcliffe J. Hovorka M. Schofield L. Taylor H. Lauder E. Ehler;
  4. Frontiers in Endocrinology, April 2018; LH-21, A Peripheral Cannabinoid Receptor 1 Antagonist, Exerts Favorable Metabolic Modulation Including Antihypertensive Effect in KKAy Mice by Regulating Inflammatory Cytokines and Adipokines on Adipose Tissue; Ziqi Dong, Hui Gong, Yadan Chen, Hong Wu, Jun Wu, Yinghong Deng, and Xinmao Song;  
  5. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, June 2017; An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies; Kerstin Iffland*, and Franjo Grotenhermen;
  6. JCI Insight, Jun 15, 2017; A single dose of cannabidiol reduces blood pressure in healthy volunteers in a randomized crossover study; Khalid A. Jadoon, Garry D. Tan, and Saoirse E. O’Sullivan;

The American Journal of Pathology, February 2012; The Endocannabinoid System and Plant-Derived Cannabinoids in Diabetes and Diabetic Complications; Béla Horváth, Partha Mukhopadhyay, György Haskó, and Pál Pacher;