How Does Cannabis Improve Metabolic Syndrome Symptoms?

Updated on January 31, 2019.  Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer

How Does Cannabis Improve Metabolic Syndrome Symptoms?

A common condition that increases the risk of type 2 diabetes is metabolic syndrome. Although the term “metabolic syndrome” is fairly new, only entering into the medical community in the 1990s, it’s widespread, some would say as prevalent as the cold bug. In fact, 23 percent of adults have metabolic syndrome.

Many people in the medical community debate about calling it a “condition” or “disease,” because it’s actually a group of risk factors. However, if a patient has these health issues, they can lead to an increased risk of stroke, heart disease, diabetes and other more serious conditions.

There are steps that patients with metabolic syndrome can take to lead healthier lifestyles. One such option could be the use of cannabis to improve symptoms associated with metabolic syndrome. Taken in conjunction with other doctor recommended treatments, medical marijuana can help patients manage their metabolic syndrome and avoid more serious health complications.

Symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is exactly a disease — it is a group of metabolic disorders present in an individual patient. The risk factors that can lead to other more serious issues are:

  • Unhealthy blood pressure
  • High blood sugar
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Abdominal fat
  • Abnormal triglyceride levels

To be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, a patient would have to have at least three of these risk factors, and beside them, there aren’t any other signs or symptoms that they have this condition. A routine physical should help your doctor determine if you have metabolic syndrome.

Common Treatments for Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a serious wakeup call for patients who are diagnosed with the condition. Before diabetes or another severe disorder develops, doctors will recommend some lifestyle changes and possibly medication. The risk factors can be reduced by actively:

  • Losing weight
  • Increasing physical activity
  • Eating a heart-healthy diet

Doctors may also recommend medications to help patients manage their blood glucose, cholesterol and blood pressure. Although patients should follow the advice of their doctor when prescribed these types of medication, medical marijuana could be used in conjunction to help lower the risks of metabolic syndrome.

How Cannabis Treats Metabolic Syndrome

Although it’s not recommended to use cannabis as the only treatment for metabolic syndrome, research indicates that it can help lower some of the risks associated with the condition. This means, that when used in cooperation with healthy living and any prescribed medications, it could:

  • Have an Immunomodulating Effect: This lessens the buildup of plaque in artery walls that’s caused by high glucose levels.
  • Fight Ischemic Diseases: This damage or disease in the heart’s major blood vessels is one of the more serious complications associated with metabolic syndrome.
  • Aid the Metabolic Process: Cannabinoids in marijuana have been shown to lower levels of fasting insulin and aid in a smaller waistline.
  • Act as a Vasodilator: Cannabis improves blood flow. It also contributes to lower blood pressure over time.
  • Be Used as Healthy Food Alternatives: Cannabis oil or butter can be substituted in cooking. These products benefit general cardiac and arterial health.

Speak to Your Doctor for More Information

If you have metabolic syndrome or have been diagnosed with diabetes, it’s important to work closely with a doctor to develop a treatment plan. Cannabis medications could benefit your condition, but for more information, it’s necessary to speak to a marijuana doctor near you. They can offer advice and assess your situation to see if you qualify for your state’s medical marijuana program. They can also answer any specific questions you have about your condition.

More Information About Medical Marijuana and Diabetes