You may have heard about using CBD to treat diabetes. CBD is short for cannabidiol, and it comes from the cannabis plant. It doesn’t make you feel high, but research is ongoing to see if it can help control blood sugar, calm inflammation, and ease nerve pain from diabetes.
What the Research Shows
Most studies of CBD’s effects on diabetes have been in mice or rats. This is a problem because laboratory conditions, differences between animals and humans, and other things can affect study results. Just because CBD works for them doesn’t mean it will work in humans.
In one study, researchers tested CBD on mice with less blood flow to the brain, a complication of diabetes for some people. They found that CBD:
- Cut down hyperglycemia (high blood sugar)
- Lowered cholesterol and “bad fat” levels
- Upped insulin production
Other studies of CBD in mice or rats found it:
- Eases swelling and pain from nerve damage. One study showed CBD kept chronic inflammation and neuropathic pain at bay, which tends to affect the hands and feet of people with diabetes.
- Lowers the risk of diabetes. Another study found CBD might ward off the disease.
- Promotes “good fat.” CBD oil can help the body turn white fat into slimming brown fat. This can boost your body's ability to use glucose.
THC and Diabetes
The effects of CBD and THC (the chemical in cannabis that causes a high) are different. In one study, CBD didn’t improve blood sugar and lipid levels in people with type 2 diabetes, but a variation of THC did. CBD did lower insulin resistance and boost gut hormone levels.
CBD comes in many forms, from liquid drops to capsules to vapes. But the FDA doesn’t regulate most of those products. The only FDA-approved form of CBD oil is Epidiolex, a prescription drug that treats two types of epilepsy. So it’s hard to be sure that other CBD products are what they say they are, even if the label looks official. For instance, THC has been found in some CBD products. There’s also no guarantee the product has as much CBD as the label says. CBD can also have side effects. It may cause:
It can also interact with other medications like blood thinners. So it’s important to talk with your doctor before trying CBD.