Its status as a supplement makes things tricky, too. Because CBD is not regulated by the FDA, creators of these supplements often make claims about its effectiveness based on little—or no—evidence. It’s hard to know what you’re getting. The amount of CBD in any product varies widely. The FDA has warned that in some products, lab tests have shown no CBD at all. Under the FDA’s Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, manufacturers of dietary supplements and dietary ingredients are banned from marketing products that are tainted or misbranded.
CBD sits in a gray area. While used as a medicine, it’s also a natural compound. Many effective medications are derived from compounds found in nature, but a lot of work goes into identifying the specific, active compound and determining what dose is safe and effective. Researchers aren’t close to that yet with CBD oil.
Along with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD is the major element of cannabis. But CBD does not cause the “high” that many feel from using cannabis. For decades, CBD was considered inactive, but last year, the FDA approved it under the brand name Epidiolex for a rare form of childhood epilepsy (at a much higher dose than is available in supplements). Researchers are in the very early stages of exploring other potential uses for CBD, including relieving anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain, and inflammation.
CBD—short for cannabidiol, a part of cannabis (marijuana)—has gotten a lot of attention lately. With changes in the legal status of cannabis, CBD has gone from a criminalized substance to being called a miracle drug. You can find CBD oil supplements, as well as foods, drinks, and lotions in stores and pharmacies across the U.S. and worldwide. However, research on the effects of CBD on the body is still limited and so far no CBD products have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
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There’s a lot of hype surrounding CBD oil and diabetes. There is no noticeable effect on blood sugar (blood glucose) or insulin levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Researchers continue to study the effects of CBD on diabetes in animal studies.
Although CBD is well tolerated by most people, there are side effects. It can suppress immune responses, raise eye pressure (which may worsen glaucoma), and increase blood levels of certain medications, such as the blood thinner Coumadin, which can lead to serious bleeding. Talk to your doctor if you’re thinking of trying CBD.
Although many claims continue to be made about CBD oil, there is little evidence of any benefit. It’s certainly not an alternative to traditional diabetes management. The safety of CBD is also unknown—it may have dangerous side effects that we won’t know about unless further research is done. But there is a great deal of interest in CBD research, so we should learn a lot more in the coming years about what exactly CBD can and can’t do. In the meantime, it’s best practice pursue optimal health and diabetes management with treatments that have evidence to show they are safe and effective.
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Results: Compared with placebo, THCV significantly decreased fasting plasma glucose (estimated treatment difference [ETD] = -1.2 mmol/L; P < 0.05) and improved pancreatic β-cell function (HOMA2 β-cell function [ETD = -44.51 points; P < 0.01]), adiponectin (ETD = -5.9 × 10(6) pg/mL; P < 0.01), and apolipoprotein A (ETD = -6.02 μmol/L; P < 0.05), although plasma HDL was unaffected. Compared with baseline (but not placebo), CBD decreased resistin (-898 pg/ml; P < 0.05) and increased glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide (21.9 pg/ml; P < 0.05). None of the combination treatments had a significant impact on end points. CBD and THCV were well tolerated.
Research design and methods: In this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 62 subjects with noninsulin-treated type 2 diabetes were randomized to five treatment arms: CBD (100 mg twice daily), THCV (5 mg twice daily), 1:1 ratio of CBD and THCV (5 mg/5 mg, twice daily), 20:1 ratio of CBD and THCV (100 mg/5 mg, twice daily), or matched placebo for 13 weeks. The primary end point was a change in HDL-cholesterol concentrations from baseline. Secondary/tertiary end points included changes in glycemic control, lipid profile, insulin sensitivity, body weight, liver triglyceride content, adipose tissue distribution, appetite, markers of inflammation, markers of vascular function, gut hormones, circulating endocannabinoids, and adipokine concentrations. Safety and tolerability end points were also evaluated.
Objective: Cannabidiol (CBD) and Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) are nonpsychoactive phytocannabinoids affecting lipid and glucose metabolism in animal models. This study set out to examine the effects of these compounds in patients with type 2 diabetes.
Conclusions: THCV could represent a new therapeutic agent in glycemic control in subjects with type 2 diabetes.