Basic research suggests that CBD may be beneficial in diabetes and prevent complications of the disease, such as damage to the blood vessels (Weiss et al. 2006, Stanley et al. 2013, Liou et al. 2009, Ohki et al. 2010).
Researchers of the Hadassah University Hospital of Jerusalem investigated the effects of CBD on the development of diabetes in mice, which develop diabetes due to genetic causes (Weiss et al. 2006). So-called NOD mice develop insulitis within 4 to 5 weeks of age followed by diabetes within a median of 14 weeks. Insulitis is an inflammation of the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, and diabetes is a result of a destruction of these cells. NOD mice aged 6 to 12 weeks that were treated with 10 to 20 injections of CBD (5 mg per kilogram body weight) presented with a significantly reduced incidence of diabetes of 30 percent compared to 86 percent in untreated control mice. In addition, in the mice that developed diabetes in the treated group disease onset was a significantly delayed. Blood levels of two cytokines that promote inflammation, IFN-gamma and TFN-alpha, are usually increased in NOD mice. A treatment with CBD caused a significant reduction (more than 70 percent) in levels of both cytokines. In another experiment, CBD-treated mice were observed for 26 weeks. While the 5 control mice all developed diabetes, 3 of 5 of the CBD-treated mice remained diabetes-free at 26 weeks. Scientists concluded that confirmation of the observed immunomodulatory effects of CBD „may lead to the clinical application of this agent in the prevention of type 1 diabetes“ and possibly other autoimmune diseases. They note that many patients diagnosed with type 1 diabetes have sufficient residual cells that produce insulin at the time of diagnosis, and may be candidates for immunomodulation therapy.
Studies suggest that increased circulating endocannabinoids may alter the function of blood vessels both positively and negatively in type 2 diabetes, and “that part of the beneficial effect of cannabidiol in diabetes may be due to improved endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation” (Stanley et al. 2013). Scientists at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, USA, suggested that CBD may be a useful novel treatment option for the damage of the retina in diabetes (diabetic retinopathy) (Liou et al. 2009). According to research at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, USA, CBD attenuates cardiac dysfunction, oxidative stress, fibrosis, inflammation and cell death in animal models of diabetic cardiomyopathy (Ohki et al. 2010). Authors concluded that „these results coupled with the excellent safety and tolerability profile of CBD in humans, strongly suggest that it may have great therapeutic potential in the treatment of diabetic complications, and perhaps other cardiovascular disorders.“