Benefits of Cannabidiol (CBD)

  • Attenuates (slows the effects of) cardiac dysfunction, oxidative stress, fibrosis, and inflammatory and cell death signaling pathways in diabetic cardiomyopathy.
  • Retards beta cell (-cell) damage in type 1 diabetes.
  • Manages obesity and its associated cardiometabolic sequelae, and should remain open for consideration.
  • Prevents type 1 in mice and protects against diabetic retinopathy in animals (American Diabetes Association funded a $300,000 study looking into it).
  • Decreases clot formation (an important consideration for people with diabetes at risk for heart attacks and strokes, especially if taking other "blood thinning" medications).
  • Protects nerves and preserves retinal barrier.
  • Offers therapeutic opportunities for a variety of inflammatory diseases such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, atherosclerosis, allergic asthma, and autoimmune type 1 diabetes.
  • Has a therapeutic role in managing neurological complications of diabetes.

Tips for Use
Many people with and without diabetes, young and not, use marijuana. Compared with healthy youth, patients with diabetes use less tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs during the first years of adolescence but not later. Just like people who consume alcohol and may reap the benefits and risks of same, this is not intended to encourage anyone to fire up.

  • Watch for low glucose values and plan accordingly. Some patients report drops in glucose up to 40 mg/dL (2.2 mmol/L).
  • Watch for high glucose values and weight gain if you consistently get the munchies.
  • Use in moderation.
  • Stop use if interferes with your life, love/family or career, or other medical conditions.
  • Select cannabis buds that contain more than 4% Cannabidiol (CBD) by weight.
  • Get a vaporizer if you do smoke marijuana and want the cleanest form possible (search the Internet to find examples). That way, you will get the medicinal components without all the products of combustion. Edible forms are also available at most medical marijuana dispensaries.
  • Beware of websites that offer "legal" buds or marijuana substitutes as those products are not regulated and often include other non-studied, additive substances.
  • Depend on healthy eating, being active, taking medication, and healthy coping as the mainstays of a balanced diabetes self-management program. Marijuana is a complimentary and alternative medicine.

Marijuana remains illegal, although some states offer legal medical marijuana. The hope of therapeutic applications has lead to a resurgence of research activities. It will take decades before enough science has emerged to integrate into clinical practice guidelines, so the response from individual health practitioners will vary. An honest dialogue will better your chances of comprehensive care.



    • The American Journal of Pathology. Neuroprotective and Blood-Retinal Barrier-Preserving Effects of Cannabidiol in Experimental Diabetes. (Accessed on 9/16/11).
    • Marijuana Research Today. Anticoagulant effects of a Cannabis extract in an obese rat model. (Accessed on 9/16/11.)
    • National Center for Biotechnology Information. Cannabidiol attenuates cardiac dysfunction, oxidative stress, fibrosis, and inflammatory and cell death signaling pathways in diabetic cardiomyopathy. (Accessed on 9/16/11.)
    • Lu, Dai, V. Kiran Vemuri, Richard I. Duclos, Alexandros Makriyannis, Jr. 2006. The Cannabinergic System as a Target for Anti-inflammatory Therapies: Current Topics in Medicinal Chemistry, Volume 6. Oak Park: Bentham Science Publishers.
    • National Center for Biotechnology Information. Cannabinoids and endocannabinoids in metabolic disorders with focus on diabetes. (Accessed on 9/16/11.)
    • National Center for Biotechnology Information. Effects of rimonabant, a cannabinoid-1 receptor blocker, on weight and cardiometabolic risk factors in overweight or obese patients: RIO-North America: a randomized controlled trial. (Accessed on 9/16/11.)
    • National Center for Biotechnology Information. The emerging role of the endocannabinoid system in endocrine regulation and energy balance. (Accessed on 9/16/11.)
    • National Center for Biotechnology Information. Endocannabinoid control of food intake and energy balance. (Accessed on 9/16/11).
    • National Center for Biotechnology Information. The endocannabinoid system, eating behavior and energy homeostasis: the end or a new beginning? (Accessed on 9/16/11.)
    • National Center for Biotechnology Information. Isolation and structure of a brain constituent that binds to the cannabinoid receptor. (Accessed on 9/16/11.)
    • Normal. Non-Psychoactive Cannabinoid Reduces Incidence Of Diabetes, Study Says. (Accessed 9/16/11).
    • Science Daily. Marijuana Compound May Help Stop Diabetic Retinopathy. (Accessed 9/16/11).
    • Science Direct. Neurobiology of Disease: The synthetic cannabinoid HU-210 attenuates neural damage in diabetic mice and hyperglycemic pheochromocytoma PC12 cells. (Accessed on 9/16/11).

Read Theresa's bio here.

Read more of Theresa Garnero's columns.

NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.

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Last Modified Date: July 10, 2013

All content on is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

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