Considering the fact that someone in the U.S. is diagnosed with diabetes every 17 seconds, it’s fair to say that it’s a pretty big issue. Luckily, there’s now more evidence that medical marijuana can help fight the disease.
A study published in the journal Obesity found that regular cannabis users had lower body mass indexes, lower fat percentages, and lower fasting insulin. Its findings mirror those of a several other investigations, including a French study from 2011 and a U.S. study from 2012 that concluded “marijuana use was independently associated with a lower prevalence of diabetes mellitus.”
“Subjects with a history of cannabis use were about 30 percent less likely to have diabetes compared to non-using subjects,” researchers noted in the latest study.
In this latest study, researchers from the Conference of Quebec University Health Centers looked at 786 adults in an Inuit community where more than half of the population used cannabis. After taking into account the effects of gender and age, they found that the body mass index of cannabis users was 26.8 in comparison to the 28.6 of non-users. Those who had never used tobacco, or who had quit tobacco, scored the lowest BMI.
In other words, cannabis use was statistically associated with lower BMI and other metrics of obesity.
“Cannabis use was associated with lower BMI, and such an association did not occur through the glucose metabolic process or related inflammatory markers,” the study concluded in the abstract. “The association between cannabis use and insulin resistance was mediated through its influence on weight.”
Researchers have found that the active ingredients in marijuana can increase appetite, but they also suspect that the ingredients help people metabolize carbohydrates better.
“Current evidence is too weak for causal inference, but there now is a more stable evidence base for new lines of clinical translational research on a possibly protective (or spurious) cannabis smoking-diabetes mellitus association suggested in prior research,” the researchers also reported.