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Medical Marijuana and Diabetes, Adult Onset

What Is Diabetes, Adult Onset?

Adult-onset diabetes or diabetes mellitus type 2 is a disorder that affects the body's metabolism. It primarily affects insulin, which the body uses to move glucose to be stored. With adult-onset diabetes, the body does not use or produce insulin properly, so glucose does not get stored in cells the way it should. It stays in the blood producing high levels of blood sugar. The reason why type 2 diabetes is also known as adult-onset diabetes is because the problem occurs gradually, often presenting itself in adulthood.  The causes of adult-onset diabetes are straightforward. A family history of adult-onset diabetes increases one's risk of developing it. Being inactive, overweight and/or eating poorly also increases risk. It most often presents itself when a person is already overweight, so both lifestyle and genetics play a role in adult-onset diabetes.  Symptoms of diabetes differ depending on the disorder's progress and a patient's individual success at controlling it. The first symptoms that may become noticeable are thirstiness, increased frequency of urination and general fatigue. Unfortunately, there may also be an increase in hunger, which is counterproductive for adult-onset diabetes sufferers who are overweight. Sufferers may also experience difficulty getting or maintaining an erection and blurry vision.  Type 2 diabetes becomes very risky as it gets more severe. Heart attack is a possibility for overweight Type 2 diabetes sufferers, as are foot problems. People with adult-onset diabetes can lose sensation in their feet from nerve damage. Subsequent infections can rage out of control before outward symptoms are noticed. 

Medical Marijuana and Diabetes, Adult Onset

Medical Marijuana and Adult-Onset Diabetes 

There are number of medications aimed at treating diabetes, its symptoms and diabetes complications. Emphasis is placed on maintaining normal blood sugar levels, having a healthy diet and getting sufficient exercise. However, several levels of treatment and prevention must be considered and studied. 

Prevention of seizures, neurological pain and blindness can increase quality of life in people with adult-onset diabetes. Medical marijuana is showing great potential in many of these areas. Furthermore, the components of marijuana that are used in some medical marijuana treatments do not produce psychoactive results. Therefore, it may eventually be considered for juvenile diabetes as well. Some forms of medical marijuana can increase hunger, which should be alleviated with healthy foods. 

Marijuana and Adult Onset Diabetes Medical Uses

Given the nerve damage inherent in adult-onset diabetes, there is significant nerve pain in many cases. This is one of the main areas of research regarding medical marijuana and it is showing great promise. It has been shown to act as a pain reliever, but is also known to alleviate neurological symptoms in incurable diseases like multiple sclerosis. It can also treat the pain of migraine headaches. 

According to the Center for Medical Cannabis Research, medical marijuana trials showed that moderate doses of medical marijuana helped relieve nerve injury pain. HIV patients benefit from the increased appetite and decreased nausea caused by medical marijuana. They also appear to experience decreases in pain due to nervous system damage. 

According to NORML, diabetic rats treated with medical marijuana showed a decrease in lack of oxygen delivery to the retina. Decreased oxygen to the retina is what causes blindness in diabetes. If this works in human trials, medical marijuana could prevent blindness in people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Individuals who are taking medical marijuana to treat adult-onset diabetes could already be reaping this benefit. 

On top of treating certain adult-onset diabetes symptoms, medical marijuana is also preventing diabetes in trials using mice. In the study, 86% of the mice who were not given cannabinoids got diabetes. Fifty-six percent fewer developed diabetes in those given cannabinoids. It also seemed to stave off development of the disorder with those mice developing diabetes despite the cannabinoids developing it later than those who did not get cannabinoids. This is a good indication that cannabinoids can help prevent diabetes. However, it is unlikely that cannabinoids will be used as a preventative, though they may act as one if an at-risk patient is being treated with them for another condition.

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