Analysis: Cannabis Consumers Possess Reduced Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Tabriz, Iran: Adults with a history of cannabis use are less likely than non-consumers to develop type 2 diabetes, according to data published in the journal Phytotherapy Research. A team of Iranian investigators performed a meta-analysis of the relevant literature, including 11 surveys and four cohorts consisting of more than 478,000 subjects. They reported, “[T]he odds of developing T2DM [type 2 diabetes] in individuals exposed to cannabis was 0.48 times lower than in those without cannabis exposure.” 

Authors speculated that cannabis may possess “protective effects” against the development of diabetes, but they cautioned against drawing any definitive conclusions absent additional studies. 

“To our knowledge, our meta-analysis presents the … most up-to-date evidence on the association between cannabis consumption and T2DM,” they concluded. “Given the rising trend of cannabis consumption, and legalization of cannabis consumption there is an increasing need to design prospective longitudinal randomized studies investigating the honest effects of cannabis consumption and providing practical guidelines to manage cannabis usage.” 

Several prior observational studies have identified a correlation between cannabis use and lower odds of obesity and adult-onset diabetes, while clinical trial data has shown that the administration of THCV is associated with improved glycemic control in type 2 diabetics. Placebo-controlled trial data published earlier this year reported that the use of plant-derived cannabinoid extracts significantly improves blood sugar and cholesterol levels in diabetic subjects. 

Full text of the study, “Association between cannabis use and risk of diabetes mellitus type 2: A systematic review and meta-analysis,” appears in Phytotherapy Research. Additional information on cannabinoids and diabetes is available from NORML’s publicationClinical Applications for Cannabis and Cannabinoids.