A study that might answer some questions about diabetes and marijuana appeared online this week in the American Journal of Medicine: The Impact of Marijuana Use on Glucose, Insulin, and Insulin Resistance among US Adults. The study is the first to investigate the relationship between marijuana use and fasting insulin, glucose, and insulin resistance.
The American Journal of Medicine’s blog reports, “Participants who reported using marijuana in the past month had lower levels of fasting insulin and HOMA-IR [insulin resistance] and higher levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C). These associations were weaker among those who reported using marijuana at least once, but not in the past thirty days, suggesting that the impact of marijuana use on insulin and insulin resistance exists during periods of recent use. Current users had 16% lower fasting insulin levels than participants who reported never having used marijuana in their lifetimes.
Large waist circumference is linked to diabetes risk. In the current study there were also significant associations between marijuana use and smaller waist circumferences.”
The blog also quotes an author of the study, Elizabeth Penner, MD, MPH, who said that after subjects with a diagnosis of diabetes were excluded, the associations between marijuana use and insulin levels, HOMA-IR, waist circumference, and HDL-C were similar and remained statistically significant.
In summary, the study concludes three things about marijuana use: It was associated with lower levels of fasting insulin and insulin resistance, and smaller waist circumference. So marijuana users could have better blood sugar levels.
Does this study mean marijuana is safe for people with diabetes? No. This study is not a green light to pass the dutchie. There’s not enough evidence here to conclude that marijuana and diabetes are a good combination. But the study is significant because it’s a first, and it suggests that more research is needed to explore future treatments using the marijuana plant’s compound active ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.
For more see Can a Diabetic Smoke Marijuana?