Diabetes is a serious condition that affects more than 29 million Americans and more than 422 million people in the entire world. It causes a significant number of health complications and eventually causes chronic pain in most sufferers.
Most of us know someone who lives with diabetes, but how much do we know about it? And, could CBD help manage it along with its symptoms?
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a group of metabolic diseases characterized by unhealthily high blood-sugar levels, which cause other health issues. This sugar comes from the food and drinks that we consume, which our body can normally keep balanced by producing a hormone called insulin, unless there is an issue with our insulin production or response. When there is an issue, diabetes is the most likely diagnosis.
If there is not enough insulin production, the sugar stays in our blood, rather than being transported to our cells to be used as energy, which causes severe health problems that generally progress overtime unless a strict medical treatment and diet are followed.
Sugar and carbs are not really “bad”. They are necessary for our brain and body to work and are pretty much the fuel that keeps us moving. However, too much sugar, or the inability to regulate sugar, causes damage in the body, often irreparable, and can even put our life at risk.
Basically, the important thing is to maintain balance. Carbs are necessary, but in measured amounts, son that they serve a purpose, rather than get in the way of our well-being.
As well as maintaining balance, it’s important to point out that complex carbs, like wholewheat products, corn, peas, or beans, don’t raise blood sugar levels as unhealthily as processed sugar does, since they take longer to be digested, regulating the increase a bit better.
Types of Diabetes
There are a few types of diabetes, and they have different causes, but the three most common types are:
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition that causes your immune system to attack 𝜷 cells, the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, making it impossible for the body to manage sugar levels on its own. This type usually occurs in children, but it is possible, however unlikely, for an adult to develop it.
Those who suffer from type 1 diabetes, generally need to receive daily insulin from a young age in order to stay alive and well, not to mention follow a strict diet to avoid spikes in blood-sugar levels.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes can be developed at any age, during childhood or adulthood. However, it generally occurs in adults. This type is generally caused by a prolonged, poor diet containing too many carbohydrates and lack of exercise. Eventually, sugar levels stop responding to insulin and the body is unable to produce enough in order to maintain healthy levels. However, it is believed that genetics make some people more likely to become diabetic than others.
Depending on the severity of the condition at the moment of diagnosis, diabetes can be managed with diet and lifestyle changes, or require glucose lowering medication, or even insulin injections. In any case, a strict low carb diet is necessary.
As the name suggests, gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy. It doesn’t happen to every woman, but when it does, it definitely requires medical care in order to ensure it doesn’t put the baby or mom at risk. Careful monitoring and maintaining a strict diet and exercise regime during pregnancy usually cause gestational diabetes to go away after birth.
If well managed, it usually goes away right after the baby is born. However, it can make the sufferer more likely to develop type 2 diabetes in the future and ,some times, it turns out to be type 2 diabetes that happened to be discovered during gestation.
The Correlation Between Diabetes and Pain
Diabetes is well known for causing chronic pain as it progresses, particularly when the sufferer doesn’t maintain a healthy diet. It is the leading cause of polyneuropathy, since it causes nerve damage that can range from mild to severe, and is generally irreversible.
Polineuropathy causes chronic pain, numbness, and general changes in tactile sensation. Though the damage is generally permanent, it can be treated in order to make the symptoms less severe and slow its progress.
The treatment of pain caused by diabetes should be addressed from every angle. So lowering blood sugar, improving circulation, reducing inflammation, and reducing pain, should all be equal priorities in order to keep the body as healthy as possible. And CBD can be a powerful ally when it comes to treatment.
The 8 Things CBD can do for Diabetes and its Related Complications
CBD has shown promise when it comes to diabetes treatment, particularly helping those who suffer from type 1 diabetes, but also when it comes to some type 2 diabetes symptoms.
The main benefits CBD provides are:
- Pain Relief: diabetics often suffer from chronic pain due to nerve damage and bad circulation, and CBD has pain relieving properties without causing side effects or risking dangerous overdose issues, unlike most painkillers.
- Stops 𝛃-cell Damage: 𝛃-cells are the ones that are in charge of producing insulin in the pancreas. In type 1 diabetes, they are attacked by the immune system, and CBD prevents their death and damage, and also slows further damage when the autoimmune response has already begun.
- Stabilizes Blood Sugar levels: due to its interaction with the endocannabinoid system, CBD helps nudge the body into balancing itself, helping diabetics and non-diabetics, maintain healthy blood-sugar levels.
- Neuroprotector: one of the most impressive properties CBD has been found to have is neuroprotection. This ability can help delay the effects of polyneuropathy and pain that many diabetics suffer from.
- Improves Circulation: bad circulation is an issue for most diabetics, and it increases the chances of nerve and tissue death. So CBD improves blood flow, reducing the probability of nerve and tissue death.
- Antispasmodic: CBD’s antispasmodic properties help reduce cramps and muscle pain caused by different factors, like poor circulation or inactivity.
- Anti-inflammatory Action: inflammation causes the body not to function in an optimal way. CBD reduces inflammation and improves overall functioning of the body’s systems, including metabolism.
- Aids the Healing Process: it is no secret that diabetics (particularly as they get older) begin having serious cell regeneration issues. These issues cause wounds and injuries to heal very slowly, if they do at all. CBD nudges the healing and regeneration process both in the skin and internally, which reduces chances of organ failure, infections and tissue death.
What can I do to manage diabetes and pain?
The most important factor in diabetes management, whether you use insulin or not, is lifestyle! This includes diet and exercise.
Diet is key to maintaining balanced sugar levels and avoid complications, such as nerve damage, cardiovascular disease, kidney damage, loss of vision, skin issues, among others.
Being disciplined with diet and blood sugar check ups can ensure you stay well and live a long, comfortable life.
As I said above, CBD is for sure a great addition to daily routine for diabetics (and non-diabetics). Both oral and topical use are beneficial, since oral consumption benefits your systems from within, while topical application helps reduce pain caused by nerve damage or muscle spasms, and stimulates skin healing, which diabetics often have trouble with.
Something else to consider is the fact that natural, side effect-free options and lifestyle changes, are a lot better than harmful painkillers and excessive shots of insulin, which could be dangerous if an overdose occurs.
Basically, the less insulin that is necessary, the better, and by doing what we can to keep sugar low, the amount of insulin needed will be reduced significantly and risks will be lowered. So take care, stay healthy, and try new things to see what works for you!
If you have anything to share, or if you’ve tried CBD yourself, feel free to comment! I’ll make sure to reply.