Autoimmune, Endocrine, Genetic, Metabolic, Nutritional


Our Biomedical Scientist

Reviewed based on

Literature Discussion & Clinical Trials

Last update

August 2020

What is Diabetes

Two types of diabetes exist (type 1 and type 2). People with diabetes have affected blood sugar (glucose) levels compared to healthy individuals. Glucose plays an important role in the body as it provides energy for cells.1


  • Frequent urination
  • Increased thirst
  • Unexplained and unintended weight loss
  • An intense feeling of hunger
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent infections

  • Presence of ketones in the urine
  • Difficulty healing sores
  • Irritability


What is insulin and how does insulin work?
Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas which is a gland located behind and below the stomach. Insulin is secreted into the bloodstream by the pancreas. The insulin circulates in the bloodstream and allows sugar to enter the cells. Insulin is responsible for reducing the amount of sugar in the bloodstream and as sugar levels decrease, the secretion of insulin from the pancreas decreases.2

What is glucose and how does glucose work?
Glucose is a sugar that plays an important role in providing energy for cells. Major sources of glucose for people are from food and the liver. Sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream and insulin plays a role in enabling sugar to enter the cells. Glucose is produced and stored in the liver and when a person has not had food for some time, the liver breaks down stored glycogen into glucose in order to maintain normal glucose levels.2

Diabetes type 1
Up to this date, the exact cause of type 1 diabetes is not known. However, it was found that the immune system mistakenly attacks and annihilates the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, meaning that it is very little or no insulin produced. This leads to a sugar build-up in the bloodstream. A combination of genetic susceptibility and environmental factors may be involved in the development of type 1 diabetes.2

Diabetes type 2
Similar to type 1 diabetes, sugar levels in the bloodstream become higher. However, in type 2 diabetes, this is due to the cells becoming resistant to insulin. This leads to increased production of insulin in the pancreas, which eventually can lead to the death of insulin-producing cells. Genetics and environmental factors may play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes, but there is also a strong connection between type 2 diabetes and obesity.2

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Increased thirst and hunger, unintended weight loss, frequent infections, and frequent urination are among the most common.


Preclinical data suggests CBD and THC among other cannabinoids may be therapeutic for Diabetes


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The connection between Cannabinoids & Diabetes

Studies find that CBD and THC may have great therapeutic potential and may be used to help treat Diabetes. CBD and THC are well-known cannabinoids, however, they do not have the same psychoactive effects. THC is psychoactive while CBD does not possess psychoactive effects. According to WHO guidelines, the cannabidiol CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile.

Preclinical and clinical evidence proposes that the cannabinoids THC and CBD may be beneficial in the treatment of diabetes, as the endocannabinoid system may play a role in maintaining energy homeostasis/ balance and controlling the immune system.3

The literature discussion is an overview of the published results from scientific studies investigating if and how cannabinoids can be beneficial in the treatment of Diabetes. The overview will be updated regularly to ensure the newest and most accurate information.

The endocannabinoid system may play a role in diabetes treatment
Diacylglycerol lipases (DAGLs) inhibitors have been suggested to be involved in metabolic disorders due to their effect on CB1 via 2AG, anandamide and CB1, CB2 and GPR55, receptors were found to be connected to the pathophysiology of diabetes type 2.5,6,7 This proposes that the endocannabinoid system may play a role in the treatment of diabetes type 2.

CBD and THC may possess therapeutic properties in diabetes
Furthermore, CBD and THC were shown to help keep blood-glucose levels within healthy limits and counteract diabetic oxidative stress.8,9

In mice, CBD was shown to suppress and delay destructive insulitis and inflammatory Th1-associated cytokine[/simple_tooltip production, leading to a reduced incidence of diabetes.10,11 Similar results were found with THC.12

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Clinical trials are research studies that examine new treatments and evaluate their effects on human health outcomes.

Cannabinoids may contribute to healthy glucose levels and weight loss
Several clinical trials have demonstrated that cannabinoids may be involved in the treatment of diabetes. Cannabinoids not only contribute to weight loss, but they also help keep blood glucose levels within healthy limits.13,14,15

  1. https://www.who.int/health-topics/diabetes#tab=tab_1
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/symptoms-causes/syc-20371444
  3. https://ghmedical.com/endocannabinoid-system/diseases/diabetes
  4. Janssen, F.J., Van Der Stelt, M. (2016). ” Inhibitors of diacylglycerol lipases in neurodegenerative and metabolic disorders. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters, 26(16), 3831-3837”. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bmcl.2016.06.076
  5. Jenkin et al., (2015). ” Elevated CB1 and GPR55 receptor expression in proximal tubule cells and whole kidney exposed to diabetic conditions. Clin. Exp. Pharmacol. Physiol”. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25545857/
  6. Jourdan et al., (2014). ” Overactive cannabinoid 1 receptor in podocytes drives type 2 diabetic nephropathy. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 111, E5420–E5428”. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25422468/
  7. Troy-Fioramonti et al., (2014). ” Acute Activation of cannabinoid Receptors by Anandamide Reduces Gastro-Intestinal Motility and Improves Postprandial Glycemia in Mice. Diabetes”. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25281429/
  8. Coskun and Bolkent, (2014). ” Oxidative stress and cannabinoid receptor expression in type-2 diabetic rat pancreas following treatment with Δ9-THC. Cell Biochem. Funct. 32, 612–619”. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25187240/
  9. Wheal et al., (2014). ”Cannabidiol improves vasorelaxation in Zucker diabetic fatty rats through cyclooxygenase activation. J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther. 351, 457–466”. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25212218/
  10. Weiss et al., (2006). ”Cannabidiol lowers incidence of Diabetes in non-obese diabetic mice. Autoimmunity 39, 143–151”. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16698671/
  11. Weiss et al., (2008). ”Cannabidiol arrests onset of autoimmune Diabetes in NOD mice. Neuropharmacology 54, 244–249”. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17714746/
  12. Li et al., (2001). ”Examination of the immunosuppressive effect of delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol in streptozotocin-induced autoimmune Diabetes. Int. Immunopharmacol. 1, 699–712”. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11357882/
  13. Hollander, P., (2007). “Endocannabinoid blockade for improving glycemic control and lipids in patients with type 2 Diabetes mellitus. Am. J. Med. 120, S18–S28; discussion S29–S32”. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17296341/
  14. Hollander, P., (2010). “Effect of rimonabant on glycemic control in insulin-treated type 2 Diabetes: the ARPEGGIO trial. Diabetes Care 33, 605–607”. https://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/33/3/605
  15. Scheen et al., (2006). ” Efficacy and tolerability of rimonabant in overweight or obese patients with type 2 Diabetes: a randomised controlled study. Lancet 368, 1660–1672. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17098084/





Below you find the plant cannabinoidscannabinoid receptors, and endocannabinoids that are associated with the potential therapy.

If you have any further information relevant to the connection between Diabetes and cannabinoids or find any of the information inaccurate, outdated or incomplete please contact us here.