One new study has shown that smoking cannabis might help protect against diabetes type 2, after some researchers in the United States discovered that regular users of this drug have better blood sugar control.
At the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center located in Boston, Murray Mittleman, of the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Unit, analyzed data on about 5,000 patients who were asked about their use of drugs as part of the National Health and Nutrition Survey that was between 2005 and 2010.
They discovered that 2,103 of them had never used cannabis, 975 had used in the past, and 579 had ingested or inhaled it in the past month.
Tests showed that current users (over 10%) had 16% lower fasting insulin levels and also reduced insulin resistance that those participants who had never used cannabis. The non-users had also lower levels of HDL (high-density lipoprotein or good cholesterol) and larger waistlines, both of which are risk factors for diabetes type 2.
The same benefits were seen between those who had used the cannabis in the past, but the associations were not as strong, showing that the effects of cannabis use on insulin levels.
The lead investigator Mittleman said that previous epidemiologic studies have discovered lower prevalence rates of obesity and diabetes mellitus in the users of marijuana, compared to people who have never used that drug, suggesting a connection between peripheral metabolic processes and cannabinoids, but theirs is the first to research the relationship between fasting insulin, insulin resistance and glucose, and marijuana.
Prof Joseph S. Alpert, editor in chief of the American Journal of Medicine and Professor of the University of Arizona college of Medicine, said that those are important observations that are supported by primary science experiments that came to similar results.
He said that they desperately need clinical research into the short and long term effects of the cannabis in a variety of clinical settings like a diabetes, cancer and frailty of the elderly.
19 states in the United States have legalized cannabis for medical use by patients with one or maybe several conditions, including cancer and multiple sclerosis, and recreational use of the drug is legal in two states – Washington and Colorado.