Can smoking marijuana reduce your risk of diabetes?
Medical researchers have documented an unexpected association between marijuana use and factors associated with type 2 diabetes. Several studies have shown that marijuana smokers take more calories, unlike other people, but nevertheless, they still have lower rates of obesity and diabetes, as well as an average body mass index (BMI).
In a new study, scientists found that marijuana and its active component, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), can have a positive effect on people with a disease like diabetes.
Insulin resistance is an important risk factor for diabetes and metabolic disorders, which occurs when body cells cannot properly absorb insulin. The American Heart Disease Association rated 35 percent of U.S. adults with metabolic disorders, including insulin resistance.
To examine the relationship between THC and metabolism, researchers collected 4,657 adults from an examination of the National Health and Nutrition Survey, a cross-sectional study conducted annually by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Of all participants in the study, 579 were currently using marijuana, 1975 had tried drugs in the past, but not recently, and 2103 had never tried marijuana. Researchers measured fasting blood levels of insulin and cholesterol, insulin resistance, and waist sizes.
The results showed that marijuana users currently had 16 percent lower fasting insulin levels, unlike non-drug users. In addition, they had lower waist and higher levels of high density lipoproteins (HDL), better known as “good cholesterol.”
“These are really interesting observations that make up the basic scientific experiments,” said Dr. Joseph Alpert, a professor of medicine at Arizona State University College of Medicine, Tucson.
“Is it possible that the tetrahydrocannabinol component will be prescribed in the future for patients with diabetes mellitus or metabolic syndrome along with antidiabetic oral drugs or insulin to improve the management of this chronic disease? Only time will answer this question for us,” Alpert said .