Marijuana linked to lower diabetes risk
Cannabis (marijuana) has a long history of having medicinal properties, and is legally prescribed for a broad range of indications, and low doses of synthetic cannabinoids has well-documented beneficial effects.
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the active principal in marijuana, helps hinder nausea and vomiting and stimulates the appetite in chemotherapy and AIDS patients, it also lowers intraocular eye pressure (glaucoma) and it also has antibacterial effects and is one of the best known expectorants (drainage of mucus from the lungs).
Marijuana users says the study have better blood-sugar control than those who never smoked smoked or ingested pot.
Participants in the study who were frequent users of marijuana and had used the drug in the past month, had 16% lower levels of fasting insulin and 17% lower insulin resistance (the inability of the body to respond properly to insulin) than those who had never used the drug.
The study also found that even if pot smokers consumed more calories than non-smokers (the famous munchies) they were likely to have a smaller waist circumference. Previous studies have linked a large waist circumference to diabetes risk.
Researchers surveyed a total of 4,657 people who were part of the National Health and Nutrition Survey (NHANES) between 2005 and 2010 who completed a drug use questionnaire. 579 were marijuana users, 1,975 had used in the past, while the remaining group had never used it.
The partecipants were asked to fast for nine-hours and then insulin and glucose were measured via blood samples. The results indicated that those who used marijuana within the past month had not only lower levels of fasting insulin and insulin resistance but also higher levels of HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol).
The findings suggest that the impact of marijuana use on insulin and insulin resistance exists only in current users or very recent users.
"These are indeed remarkable observations that are supported by basic science experiments that came to similar conclusions," said Dr. Joseph Alpert, who wrote the introduction to the study. "We desperately need a great deal more basic and clinical research into the short and long-term effects of marijuana in a variety of clinical settings such as cancer, diabetes, and frailty of the elderly."
"I would like to call on the NIH and the DEA to collaborate in developing policies to implement solid scientific investigations that would lead to information assisting physicians in the proper use and prescription of THC in its synthetic or herbal form."
Dr. Murray Mittleman, the study's lead researcher, however warned that another study found that "Immediately after smoking marijuana there is a transient spike in the risk of a heart attack."