Researchers at the Tabriz University of Medical Sciences in Iran performed the analysis on “seven studies, containing 11 surveys and 4 cohorts.” According to NORML, which aggregated the analysis, the four cohorts consisted of more than 478,000 subjects.
The meta-analysis revealed that “the odds of developing [type 2 diabetes mellitus] in individuals exposed to cannabis was 0.48 times (95% CI: 0.39 to 0.59) lower than in those without cannabis exposure,” according to the researchers.
The researchers noted that “protective effect of cannabis consumption on the odds of diabetes mellitus type 2 development has been suggested,” although they added that “given the considerable interstudy heterogeneity, the upward trend of cannabis consumption and cannabis legalization is recommended to conduct studies with higher levels of evidence.”
“To our knowledge, our meta-analysis presents the … most up-to-date evidence on the association between cannabis consumption and T2DM,” they wrote, as quoted by NORML. “Given the rising trend of cannabis consumption, and legalization of cannabis consumption there is an increasing need to design prospective longitudinal randomized studies investigating the honest effects of cannabis consumption and providing practical guidelines to manage cannabis usage.”
Type 2 diabetes, also called type 2 diabetes mellitus and adult-onset diabetes, is a chronic disease “characterized by high levels of sugar in the blood” and is far more common than type 1 diabetes, according to Harvard Medical School. While the disease “used to start almost always in middle- and late-adulthood,” Harvard noted that “more and more children and teens are developing this condition.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 37 million Americans have diabetes, and between 90-95% have type 2 diabetes.
“Insulin is a hormone made by your pancreas that acts like a key to let blood sugar into the cells in your body for use as energy. If you have type 2 diabetes, cells don’t respond normally to insulin; this is called insulin resistance,” the CDC explained. “Your pancreas makes more insulin to try to get cells to respond. Eventually your pancreas can’t keep up, and your blood sugar rises, setting the stage for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. High blood sugar is damaging to the body and can cause other serious health problems, such as heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease.”
A study in 2020 examined how cannabis could help those with hepatitis C steer clear of diabetes.
“Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a risk factor of insulin resistance, and HCV-infected patients are at a high risk of developing diabetes. In the general population, research has shown the potential benefit of cannabis use for the prevention of diabetes and related metabolic disorders,” the authors of that study explained. “We aimed to test whether cannabis use is associated with a lower risk of diabetes in chronic HCV-infected patients. Chronic HCV-infected patients were selected from the French national, multicenter, observational ANRS CO22 Hepather cohort. Cross-sectional data collected at cohort enrolment were used to assess the association between patients’ clinical and behavioral characteristics and the risk of diabetes.”
Moreover, NORML noted that several “prior observational studies have identified a correlation between cannabis use and lower odds of obesity and adult-onset diabetes, while clinical trial data has shown that the administration of THCV is associated with improved glycemic control in type 2 diabetics,” and that “placebo-controlled trial data published earlier this year reported that the use of plant-derived cannabinoid extracts significantly improves blood sugar and cholesterol levels in diabetic subjects.”
The placebo study, published in February, demonstrated how the two puffs, twice daily of a CBD “sublingual spray…could effectively improve the patient’s lipid profile and glucose tolerance” through an eight-week treatment period.