Fighting Diabetes With Marijuana

A London based pharmaceutical company has searched through research of over sixty various strains of cannabis to identify one that they believe may hold the key to slowing and better managing type-2 diabetes.

GW Pharmaceuticals recently filed a patent for the manufacturing and use of a chemical compound called tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) that is found in marijuana. Already under study in human trials, this team is finding that the THCV strand of cannabis is showing promising results in restoring and maintaining islet cells in the test patient’s pancreas. Islet cells are those responsible for producing insulin, which manage the blood’s sugar or glucose levels for proper body function. Those diagnosed with type-2 diabetes are statistically shown to have roughly half of the normal islet cells that non-diabetic’s cells contain.

GW’s patent compound containing the THCV cannabis works by pairing its chemical activators with the brain receptors of diabetics to decrease the neurological impulses that stimulate appetite, as well as helping to control liver fat and insulin levels manufacturing in liver and pancreas cells — providing both a psychological and physiological treatment response to the attack of diabetes on the body.

Unlike Type-1 diabetics who can’t product insulin for their bodies, type-2 diabetics are able to produce insulin, they just don’t produce enough or their cells aren’t able to absorb it properly. When the body is low on insulin, blood sugar spikes and over long periods of time this causes extensive damage to the pancreas, kidneys and liver.

While type-2 diabetes can be dramatically reduced from healthy lifestyle changes like diet, weight loss and exercise, there aren’t any cures available to slow the progression of diabetes once present. This breakthrough with the THCV cannabis strain could mean a significant change to the health and management of the disease for people suffering from type-2 diabetes.

Sources:

Calhoun-Rice, Sandy. “Cannabis-Derived Drug Shows Promise in Treating Type 2
Diabetes.” Healthline News. N.p., 23 July 2013. Web. 16 Apr. 2014.