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CBD and Diabetes Part 3Storm Crow for Salem-News.com
CBD is a very effective neuroprotectant- it stops the damage which lead to neuropathic pain. Conventional treatments for neuropathic pain are rather limited- even addictive opiates don't always work on nerve pain.
(NORTHERN Calif.) - Diabetes has been described as a "major epidemic" in the US- over 230,000,000 Americans have diabetes. Diabetes is a major cause of amputations and blindness in adults. Almost 16,000,000 Americans have had their vision affected by diabetes. And once again, cannabidiol, CBD, comes to the rescue to help diabetics in several ways.
Dr. Gregory Liou, a molecular biologist at the Medical College of Georgia, has been investigating how CBD can prevent blindness in diabetics. (see: Neuroprotective and Blood-Retinal Barrier-Preserving Effects of Cannabidiol) Diabetic retinopathy begins when low levels of oxygen start to kill off the nerve cells in the retina.
The eye starts growing extra blood vessels to compensate for lower oxygen levels caused by high glucose levels.
Unfortunately, these blood vessels are often leaky and make the problem worse. The body responds to the dying nerve cells by changing microglial cells into efficient little scavengers that devour the dying cells.
The normal chemistry of the retina goes all out of whack, producing excess nitric oxide and superoxides, which are poisonous to cells. More cells die from these toxins, and things go from bad to worse.
CBD puts a stop to all of that. Just as it does in cancer, CBD slows or stops the growth of those extra and leaky blood vessels by limiting vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF).
CBD also protects the nerves from damage by preventing inflammation and reducing oxidative stress. The microglial cells stay in their normal, non-cannibalistic form. In a more readable article about his study (see: Marijuana Compound May Help Stop Diabetic Retinopathy), Dr. Liou says “Cannabinoids are trying to ease the situation on both sides. They help save the neuron and, at the same time, make sure the microglial cells stay in microglial form. How good do you want a drug to be?”
How good do we want a drug to be? How about this- CBD may prevent diabetes!
Yes, that's what I said, CBD may actually prevent diabetes! (see: Non-Psychoactive Cannabinoid Reduces Incidence Of Diabetes, Study Says) Mice and humans usually react in a similar fashion to drugs, which is why we use mice as lab animals. So, although these are just "mouse studies", chances are, the results in humans will be much the same.
And the results were pretty astounding- "injections of 5 mg per day of CBD significantly reduced the prevalence of diabetes in mice from an incidence of 86 percent in non-treated controls to an incidence of only 30 percent."
Allow me to rephrase that- almost 9 / 10 of the untreated mice developed diabetes, compared to less than 1/3 of the CBD mice! I think that qualifies as statistically significant.
And in a second experiment, all of the control (unmedicated) mice developed diabetes before the age of 20 weeks, while at 26 weeks, 60 percent of the CBD mice were still diabetes free. Again, those numbers look pretty impressive to me.
And then there's diabetic neuropathy, a major complication of diabetes that shows up as numbness, tingling, or pain in your hands and feet. Antioxidants protect nerves. Many of us take a daily dose of Vitamin C (ascorbate) or Vitamin E (α-tocopherol ) as antioxidants, but "Cannabidiol protected neurons to a greater degree than either of the dietary antioxidants, α-tocopherol or ascorbate."
BHT is a powerful antioxidant frequently used in food as a preservative. CBD is just as effective, and apparently safer in some respects, than BHT. "Although cannabidiol was similar in neuroprotective capacity to BHT, cannabidiol has no known tumor-promoting effects [unlike BHT] " (see: Cannabidiol and (−)Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol are neuroprotective antioxidants) I wonder if some day we will see CBD as a health promoting antioxidant in our foods, instead of the carcinogenic BHT?
CBD is a very effective neuroprotectant- it stops the damage which lead to neuropathic pain. Conventional treatments for neuropathic pain are rather limited- even addictive opiates don't always work on nerve pain. So why shouldn't all diabetics be given CBD to prevent nerve damage and blindness, or even diabetes itself, before it happens?
Preventable complications from diabetes cost us millions of health care dollars every year. CBD won't get you high. It is safe even in massive doses, up to 700 mg/day have been given without adverse effects. And unlike THC, CBD won't saddle you with a massive case of the munchies, sending you running to the nearest convenience store to grab a giant slurpie and an arm-load of twinkies and Snickers bars!
As a Type 2 diabetic, I'm looking forward to when this amazing cannabinoid is freely available. CBD may, some day, be given along with insulin and other medications to stop the damage from diabetes. But until it is rescheduled, the only diabetics who will benefit from CBD are a few diabetic lab rats.
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