Diabetes is rampant in our nation, and New Mexico has a particular problem with the disease. It’s not recognized as one of the conditions eligible to enroll in the government’s medical cannabis program, but can cannabis help relieve some of its symptoms?
Sugar has become a lifeline in the United States. Check the nutritional data on the back of all your favorite grocery store products and you might be shocked at how much sugar there is everything We are eating. This has led to a largely unrecognized diabetes epidemic in our country. according to Center for Disease ControlAbout 10 percent of the population suffers from this disease.
Here in New Mexico, more than 200,000 people — about 12.3 percent of the population — have been diagnosed with diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. The group believes another 53,000 have the disease but are unaware of it.
What is Diabetes?
The state does not recognize diabetes as a qualifying requirement to enter the medical cannabis program, but there is some evidence that the drug can be used to treat some of the worst symptoms associated with the disease.
Diabetes is a chronic health condition that affects the way the body processes sugars. Our bodies convert sugar into energy by producing insulin in the pancreas. Insulin allows sugar to enter the body’s cells and convert it into energy.
Those with diabetes are unable to produce enough insulin or their cells no longer respond to it. When the body is unable to process the sugar it consumes, the sugar is eliminated into the bloodstream, which leads to major health problems. The disease cannot be cured, but its symptoms can be controlled.
There are three main types of diabetes: Type 1 is hereditary and is often diagnosed in children. Those with type 1 are unable to successfully produce enough insulin to convert sugar into energy. This type requires daily insulin shots to maintain a healthy blood glucose level. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this type makes up 5 to 10 percent of all cases of diabetes in the United States.
Type 2 diabetes makes up more than 90 percent of cases. It is usually found in adults, although childhood type 2 has been on the rise in recent years. This type of diabetes occurs when cells stop responding to insulin. It is not known what causes this but it has been linked to sedentary lifestyles and high consumption of sugar.
The third type, called gestational diabetes, is a temporary condition that affects a small number of pregnant women.
Pot and diabetes
Although there is no research to support the idea that cannabis can cure diabetes, it is known to help relieve many of the symptoms associated with the disease in other contexts. The drug has been shown to reduce inflammation in a number of conditions, and as with many chronic diseases, diabetes manifests itself through a series of inflammatory responses. Cannabis is also believed to improve circulation, lower blood pressure over time and possibly regulate blood sugar levels – all complications that people with diabetes face.
Perhaps most importantly, there is some evidence that cannabis can be used to relieve the pain associated with neuropathy, a disorder caused by nerve damage that can be incredibly painful.
A research paper published in 2018 in the journal Current pain and headache reports It examined data from a number of randomized controlled trials and found that lower doses of cannabis vapor and nutrients were associated with lower risk neuropathic pain relief.
Cannabis can also act as a preventative drug. According to a 2013 study published in American Journal of MedicineAnd the Participants who were current cannabis users had 16 percent lower fasting insulin levels and 17 percent lower measures of insulin resistance than nonusers who followed an overnight fast. Regular cannabis users were more likely to have a smaller waist circumference than those who had never used the drug. The study included data from 4,657 adult participants taken from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2005 to 2010.
Diabetic friendly candy
But one serious problem facing those with diabetes who look to cannabis as a symptomatic treatment is the lack of sugar-free cannabis options.
John Sims is a Albuquerque resident who is curious about using marijuana to treat himself after he was recently diagnosed with diabetes. Unfortunately, he is unable to vape or smoke due to medical concerns. “I’m sitting in the hospital thinking, ‘This is disgusting. The world is about to legalize, I have friends who are opening dispensaries and now I can’t even indulge in my favorite past time. ”
Simms began researching other dosing options but the results were disheartening. “I realized that 90 percent of the food is candy-based — nothing but sugar. I asked myself if there were options suitable for diabetics and started looking online. And yes there are, but they are few and far between.” Even delicious cannabis can be high in sugar or full of carbs (another nutrient that causes problems for people with diabetes as the body breaks it down into sugar).
Given the high rate of diabetes in New Mexico, it appears that this lack of sugar-free options could be a serious blind spot for local manufacturers. “You would think it would be a project to make money advertising the sale of weed options to diabetics and keto people,” Sims said.
But a quick search of medical cannabis dispensaries in Albuquerque turned up only a small handful of sugar-free (which contain carbohydrates) chocolate, candy, and crackers. Surprisingly, even dispensaries that serve small amounts of handcrafted food seem to offer few – if any – sugar-free options.
For cannabis users who suffer from diabetes, this means that they will have to turn to tinctures or learn to make their own cannabis formulations at home.