Medical Research

CBD for Diabetic Use

Written by Lydia Kariuki

When it comes to the therapeutic potential of cannabidiol (CBD), researchers have only began to scratch the surface.

This phytocannabinoid that was first isolated in 1940 is proving to have far reaching effects through its interactions with the dynamic endocannabinoid system (ECS) receptors. Other mechanisms and pathways have also been implicated.

Diabetes which affects about 32 million Americans, is a chronic disorder that is associated with a defect in the production or sensitivity of insulin. To date, diabetes has no known known medical cure, even though naturopaths often swear by diet-assisted diabetes reversal.

Because the endocannabinoid system is involved in maintaining a state of homeostasis in the body, it would be interesting to know what role it plays in controlling diabetes and how much of this can be influenced by CBD.

To establish this, it is critical to look at what research has to say.

About 95% of diabetics have type 2 diabetes which occurs when body cells become insensitive to insulin aka develop insulin resistance. This means that there is a high amount of sugar in circulation. When this persists for a prolonged duration it may cause significant inflammation which begins to damage blood vessels.

The anti-inflammatory effects of CBD have been investigated for decades. A 2007 study titled “cannabidiol attenuates high glucose-induced endothelial cell inflammatory response and barrier disruption” is one that is of interest in diabetes control. [1]

This study showed that CBD exerts potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects in non- obese diabetic mice.  CBD was shown to exert positive effects on a number of inflammation markers. This shows a possibility of CBD being able to mitigate some of the damage that is caused by chronic inflammation experienced by diabetics.

This study also showed that the non- obese diabetic mice treated with CBD had a lower risk of developing diabetes. This forms a good basis for conducting randomized trials to investigate if a similar effect exists in humans.

Patients with advanced diabetes may suffer from neuropathic pain commonly referred to as diabetic nephropathy.

A different study that was published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, showed the effectiveness of CBD in suppressing neuropathic pain in a rodent model. [2]

On the other hand, a 2016 study that was published in Diabetic Care showed little effectiveness’ of CBD on HDL cholesterol levels and other markers including insulin sensitivity. [3]

In summary, there is sufficient preliminary evidence to suggest that CBD may be effective in relieving diabetes inflammation and pain and also prevent diabetes in non-obese subjects. On the other hand, there is no sufficient evidence showing the effect of CBD on HDL cholesterol levels or blood glucose levels.


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  1. Mohanraj Rajesh, et al. (2007). Cannabidiol attenuates high glucose-induced endothelial cell inflammatory response and barrier disruption. American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology. 293:1, H610-H619
  2. Wei Xiong, et al. (2012). Cannabinoids suppress inflammatory and neuropathic pain by targeting α3 glycine receptors. Journal of Experimental Medicine. 209 (6): 1121–1134.
  3. Jadoon, K. A., Ratcliffe, S. H., Barrett, D. A., Thomas, E. L., Stott, C., Bell, J. D., O’Sullivan, S. E., & Tan, G. D. (2016). Efficacy and Safety of Cannabidiol and Tetrahydrocannabivarin on Glycemic and Lipid Parameters in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Parallel Group Pilot Study. Diabetes care, 39(10), 1777–1786.

About the author

Lydia Kariuki