Heavy cannabis consumption by female adults is linked with reduced rates of diabetes


A new study that was published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research a little while back theorizes that women adults who heavily consumed cannabis were less likely to be plagued with diabetes-related problems.

The researchers conjectured that female study participants who satisfied their cannabis cravings to the extreme were unlikely to be diagnosed with diabetes in comparison with the non-consuming female participants. 

During the year 2019 alone, diabetes claimed 87,647 deaths in the United States. This chronic condition that hinders the body’s ability to produce sufficient insulin (type 1) or to properly use insulin (type 2).

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in 10 Americans struggles with diabetes — that’s equivalent to 34 million people. 

About the study into cannabis for diabetes

To carry out their study, a group of graduate students from the Texas A&M University School of Public Health inspected data that was featured in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2013-2018). 

Graduate students Ayobami Ogunsola, Olatunji Eniola, Udeh Mercy and Samuel Smith teamed up with a partner from Hofstra University to investigate the data, which was self-reported by 15,000 participants.

Most of the survey respondents were female, aged 40+ and of caucasian (non-Hispanic) ethnicity. In addition to this, they maintained education at the college-level.

The team assessed cannabis consumption based on each female’s frequency of consumption and exposure to the plant. They classified the women who smoked cannabis less than four times monthly as “light users,” whereas “heavy users” indulged four or more times every month. 

Each female’s diabetes diagnosis was confirmed by a physician or, alternatively, based on them meeting specific criteria for fasting blood glucose, hemoglobin A1C levels or plasma glucose.

As per the findings, light cannabis consumption by female study subjects had no relation to diabetes diagnosis. Moreover, the researchers did not find any connection between diabetes and cannabis use among male survey respondents.

Past and future research into cannabis for diabetes

According to a 2010 study published by ResearchGate and featured in The British Journal of Diabetes & Vascular Disease, somewhere between 10,000-15,000 people are believed to use cannabis for diabetes. 

Considering the sheer growth that the global cannabis market has undergone since the year 2010, it’s likely that this figure is much higher by now; cannabis’ stigma is dissipating as laws continue to evolve.

Past research efforts have indicated that the body’s natural endocannabinoid system (ECS) and certain nervous system receptors are closely tied with various biological processes. However, the effects tend to differ depending on sex. 

Supplementary research efforts will prove beneficial for gaining a clearer understanding of the study’s observations, as well as to better understand the many variables that may be responsible for the team’s findings.