As 29 US states legalize the use of medicinal cannabis, there is a rapid rise of clinical research studying the substance’s effects on various medical conditions. Researched have looked into cannabis’s effect on everything from breast cancer to narcolepsy to find promising results in multiple areas. However, some are surprised to find that recent studies have shown that cannabis could hold the key to effectively treating diabetes.

The surprise typically comes as a result of some common stereotypes. Cannabis is often associated with the stigma of hippies experiencing the “munchies”. While cannabis is often used as a treatment for those with decreased appetite, and diabetes is often diagnosed in those who are medically overweight, there’s much more to consider when examining this rising health epidemic. 

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes come from completely different causes. Type 1 is most commonly caused by an overactive immune system that causes damage within the pancreas, while type 2 diabetes is typically linked to poor carbohydrate metabolism, often as a direct result of the type of foods we eat. While the reasons why diabetes occurs in the body may vary, research has found that cannabis holds powerful properties for combatting both. 

The effects of cannabis on those suffering from type 1 diabetes was tested on mice who were given 150 mg/kg of THC (a medicinal compound found in cannabis). The results showed that the THC’s strong anti-inflammatory properties dramatically decreased inflammation and damage to the pancreas. 

As for type 2 diabetes, several animal based studies using CBN and CBG (different strains of cannabis) showed no effect on appetite but a strong reduction in insulin levels within the blood. 

Unfortunately, since there have yet to be any human clinical studies done to back such claims, cannabis has yet to be approved as a treatment option for those suffering from diabetes. It’s also rare to find diabetes on a state list of qualifying medical conditions.