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Blood sugar and cannabis

Discussion in 'Medicinal Cannabis and Health' started by Purple Banana, Dec 25, 2007.

  1. Purple Banana

    Purple Banana Registered+

    Everyone knows smoking pot has a 99.9999999999991% chance of causing the munchies. I have polycystic ovarian syndrome, and with this comes insulin resistance. My fasting blood sugars are anywhere from 75-120, and I personally don't have a meter (testing strips are obscenely expensive), but I use the ones at my work once a week (with my supervisor's blessing), so I can't rightfully check my sugar after I smoke (I will never go to work high or even buzzed).

    My question is, does cannabis effectively lower blood sugar? Most everyone knows if your blood sugar is lower, you become hungry. I know many cannabinoid receptors are directly linked to satiety and hunger sensations- is cannabis actually lowering blood sugar to cause munchies, or is it simply stimulating the cannabinoid receptors into causing hunger?
  2. mogencho

    mogencho Banned

    when your high your heartrate increases aloot, maybe that has something to do with it?
  3. Purple Banana

    Purple Banana Registered+

    It could definitely play a role, but I don't know how much of a role. Good point to think over :)
  4. birdgirl73

    birdgirl73 Registered+

    From what people have reported here and what I experienced first hand (I tested my blood glucose before and after smoking 6 times summer before last just to see if this happened), yes, it definitely lowers blood sugar. I've seen people report drops here ranging from 10 to as much as 150 points, but the glycemic changes I experienced and which I've seen Granny Storm Crow write about have been in the lower ranges. One time it lowered mine by 12 points from 93 to 81 and the other times it lowered my sugar by only about 8 - 9 points. I'm not sure the poster who once said it dropped his by 150 points had his readings accurate--or else he had completely out-of-control diabetes to begin with. He said his initial readings were up in the 450 range.

    This is a great question. I wish we knew how it worked. But of course, since there's not been nearly enough testing, we don't know much.

    My theory is that cannabis may affect, block, stimulate or antagonize specific types of CB1 receptors in the brain that prompt the behavioral aspect of the munchies just like it works through the CB1 receptors to quell nausea and change other behaviors. Then it makes sense to me that the CB2 receptors, the ones that have to do with the immune system and are found in the spleen, gut, liver and pancreas, probably are affected in a way that alters how the islet cells in the pancreas secrete insulin.

    This is just my personal theory based on what I've studied about diabetes and what I've read about CB1 and 2 receptors. I suspect that however it works, it's a process that's so complex and interconnected we might never have all the answers, even if years of exhaustive research were done.

    PB, do you know any diabetics up there who'd let you borrow a slightly older glucometer (I'm imagining there must be plenty of diabetics who like to get the latest gadgets and have old ones sitting around) just to see how cannabis affects your glucose on your off time? Do the diabetic educators at Johns Hopkins have coupons or anything they could give you to help you save on some test strips and/or a home glucometer? I'll ask Dave to ask the pharmaceutical reps who troop in and out of his office all day. They may have something good I could send you! If one of them says, "Name the kind of glucometer your friend wants" and offers to bring one in, do you have a certain kind you'd like to have? A freebie might be a slightly older model (like from a year or two ago). Let me know.

    Great topic, PB!
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2007
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  5. Purple Banana

    Purple Banana Registered+

    I'll ask when I go to work in 2 days, maybe one of my neighbors have one... I'l have to check.

    I appreciate that! Like I said, it's the testing strips that end up burning the hole in my pocket :) I had one before I began smoking, and it ended up breaking. I appreciate it! No preference at all; all I care about it good lancets, and we have really nice ones at work- springloaded, and very tiny pricks :)
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2007
  6. birdgirl73

    birdgirl73 Registered+

    Great! So you could get all the lancets you needed at work? That'll make this even easier. The more I think of it, the more I know a rep'll either have a glucometer she/he can give to me, or she'll know a medical equipment rep who happens to have an extra one. This is really a rather shameful thing, but you know it as well as I do because you work in a hospital: if a physician says he wants or needs something, someone generally makes it happen. This is something I wish more people found shameful instead of considering it a perk because I know a lot of physicians who take advantage of that fact. I don't think Dave will have a problem with asking in this case because helping someone monitor and manage glucose is his stock in trade: helping someone stay healthy and preventing future heart disease. He's been known to go to the drug store and buy glucometers or test strips for his low-income elderly diabetic patients on plenty of occasions.
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2007
  7. Purple Banana

    Purple Banana Registered+

    Yeah, it's a nice perk to work with pediatricians; if I need something like a Z pack for something I can reasonably deduce is bacterial, or ear drops for an infection, they're more than happy to write a script (and some even call it in for me), but they won't do anything with pain meds or anything major like that, which is good.

    The lancets at work are amazingly painless, we got them just recently, so that's all good.

    I'm really interested to see how this works, I was on Metformin when my BS was a bit higher (like 120s), and it made me feel absolutely horrible. Cinnamon capsules really do work to stabilize my sugars, in addition to avoiding any carb that breaks down quickly. The GI scale has really been a blessing. My bananas are a low GI food, so I am VERY happy about that.
  8. stinkyattic

    stinkyattic CultiModerVatorAtor

    Nanner, tell me a little about cinnamon. I've never heard of that, and I suspect I have a 'sugar issue' of some sort. I can't go anywhere near white bread, cake, or significant amounts of refined sugar without becoming uncontrollably sleepy afterwards, and when I'm very hungry, I get trembly. Why does cinnamon help?
  9. Purple Banana

    Purple Banana Registered+

    My body has plenty of insulin, but for some reason, when my body breaks down sugars, the insulin isn't as effective. When I eat something higher on the GI index, something with a lot of simple sugars, the cinnamon prevents my sugar from running too high. I don't know the exact mechanism, but my sugars used to be in the 90s, now they're in the 70s fasting since I began taking 2 cinnamon capsules before each meal.
  10. Dave Byrd

    Dave Byrd Registered+

    The glycemic index and having patients learn what foods are high-index carbs and which ones aren't is a great tool. Glad you're using that. I wish more people would.

    I don't think finding you a good glucometer and a nice supply of test strips will be a problem, PB. The reps won't be swinging back around till after the first of the year, most likely. When they do, I'll be happy to see what they have to offer.

    I'm impressed enough with what I've read about cinnamon supplementation that I've been recommending the Chinese cinnamon capsules to my patients who are receptive to alternative meds for the last two years. There've been some great indications that cinnamon helps lower LDL cholesterol, too. That's good for someone with metabolic syndrome. PCOS and insulin resistance and elevated LDL are all a part of that syndrome, as I'm sure you know.

    If your fasting sugars are in the 90s, you're obviously doing a good job with your diet and exercise already. Those are numbers plenty of people without PCOS could be proud of. Keep checking yourself on both the cinnamon and/or cannabis so you don't supplement yourself into spells of hypoglycemia.
  11. Dave Byrd

    Dave Byrd Registered+

    I know you weren't asking me, Stinky, but I'm going to tell you what I know anyway. Cinnamon contains a chemical, hydroxychalcone, that apparently promotes the uptake of glucose into muscle cells and other tissues. We suspect it does something to insulin receptors that helps them be less resistant to insulin. How it works precisely is still under debate. However it works, it works well and seems to really help pre-diabetic patients postpone the onset of diabetes. Helps early diabetic patients delay having to take oral medications and it sometimes helps the ones require meds use lower dosages. For really sick and brittle diabetics, its effects are less encouraging, but that's just the way that goes.
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  12. couch-potato

    couch-potato Registered+

    Well, for a very good friend of mine every time he gets stoned his blood sugar levels are perfect. He's a type 2 diabetic, if that helps.

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