Jerusalem, Israel: Administration of the non-psychoactive cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) lowers incidence of diabetes in animals and may one day play a role in the prevention of human type 1 diabetes, according to preclinical findings published in the March issue of the journal Autoimmunity.
Researchers at Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem reported that 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. In a separate experiment, investigators reported that control mice all developed diabetes at a median of 17 weeks (range 15-20 weeks) while a majority (60 percent) of CBD-treated mice remained diabetes-free at 26 weeks.
Investigators also reported that CBD significantly lowered plasma levels of the pro-inflammatory cykotines (proteins), INF-gamma and TNF-alpha, and significantly reduced the severity of insulitis (an infiltration of white blood cells resulting in swelling) compared to non-treated controls.
"Our results indicate that CBD can inhibit and delay destructive insulitis and inflammatory ... cykotine production in ... mice resulting in decreased incidence of diabetes," authors concluded.
Preclinical trial data published earlier this year found that CBD prevents diabetic retinopathy in animals. The condition, which is characterized by retinal oxygen deprivation, is the leading cause of blindness in working-age adults.
Cannabinoids have also been demonstrated to alleviate certain types of neuropathic pain associated with diabetes, and to reduce glucose levels in animal models of the disease.
For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Senior Policy Analyst, at (202) 483-5500. Full text of the study, "Cannabidiol lowers incidence of diabetes in non-obese diabetic mice," appears in the March issue of Autoimmunity.