Vaporizing.Info - Medical Uses of Cannabis
Diabetes: Insulin is excreted from the beta islet cells of the pancreas. Insulin, a natural body chemical, floods the body after a sugar-rich meal and causes various cell types to dramatically increase their uptake of glucose, a common sugar. The effect of insulin is to reduce the levels of glucose in the bloodstream. Diabetes can result from the body's inability to produce sufficient quantities of insulin or from an inability to respond properly to the insulin that is produced. In either case, many of the clinical effects of diabetes stem from the deleterious effects of high blood sugar.
There is some anecdotal evidence that Cannabis lowers blood sugar. AIDS and cancer patients, among other Cannabis users, often report an increase in appetite after consuming Cannabis, and a few reports indicate that smoking Cannabis can lower blood sugar in diabetics.
A study (Tracy Blevins phd) was undertaken to determine whether this effect can be detected using an easily available over the counter blood glucose testing kit.
A morbidly obese man had a non-healing wound on his lower leg and was experiencing confusion and sleepiness after large meals. He suspected diabetes as the culprit, and, since smoking a large Cannabis cigarette after large meals seemed to alleviate some of his symptoms, his blood sugar was tested before, immediately after and multiple times during the hour following a large meal rich in protein, fats and both complex and simple carbohydrates.
The results were dramatic and raised some interesting research questions. Before and immediately after the meal, the patient's blood sugar was in the normal range, but within a few minutes increased by 80 mg/dl and remained at this high level for almost an hour. Then he smoked a 1 gram Cannabis cigarette, and his blood sugar levels fell by 40 points almost instantly. This represents a full 50% of the abnormal increase in blood sugar.
The drop of blood which was taken at the exact moment when he was self reporting a ‘high' were the lowest in blood sugar, a good indication that the blood sugar lowering was caused by the ingestion of Cannabis. Curiously, after a few minutes, his blood sugar started to increase again. It might be that smoking Cannabis helped to reduce his blood sugar, but only transiently. Would a longer acting cannabinoid suppress blood sugar levels more efficiently?
Further studies are necessary to confirm this effect and to determine the parameters of the effect: the amount of Cannabis needed, the time course of the effect, and also whether different types of Cannabis show more or less blood sugar lowering. Also, in another non-diabetic patient, blood sugar was decreased by 11%, pointing to the possibility that Cannabis can lower blood sugar in a non-disease state. Could it be that we have finally discovered the biological mechanism of “the munchies”?