CBD has helped many people deal with pain, but can it help you manage your diabetes? Read on to learn about research on CBD and its potential benefits. Since metformin is capable of treating type 2 diabetes, it may be used with CBD to improve the quality of life for people with the condition. Learn more. CBD can help treat many symptoms of diabetes but may cause side-effects when combined with metformin. Read this article before combining CBD and Metformin.
CBD & Diabetes
CBD—short for cannabidiol, a part of cannabis (marijuana)—has gotten a lot of attention lately. With changes in the legal status of cannabis, CBD has gone from a criminalized substance to being called a miracle drug. You can find CBD oil supplements, as well as foods, drinks, and lotions in stores and pharmacies across the U.S. and worldwide. However, research on the effects of CBD on the body is still limited and so far no CBD products have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
What to Know
Along with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD is the major element of cannabis. But CBD does not cause the “high” that many feel from using cannabis. For decades, CBD was considered inactive, but last year, the FDA approved it under the brand name Epidiolex for a rare form of childhood epilepsy (at a much higher dose than is available in supplements). Researchers are in the very early stages of exploring other potential uses for CBD, including relieving anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain, and inflammation.
There’s a lot of hype surrounding CBD oil and diabetes. There is no noticeable effect on blood glucose (blood sugar) or insulin levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Researchers continue to study the effects of CBD on diabetes in animal studies.
Although CBD is well tolerated by most people, there are side effects. It can suppress immune responses, raise eye pressure (which may worsen glaucoma), and increase blood levels of certain medications, such as the blood thinner Coumadin, which can lead to serious bleeding. Talk to your doctor if you’re thinking of trying CBD.
Find Out More
CBD sits in a gray area. While used as a medicine, it’s also a natural compound. Many effective medications are derived from compounds found in nature, but a lot of work goes into identifying the specific, active compound and determining what dose is safe and effective. Researchers aren’t close to that yet with CBD oil.
Its status as a supplement makes things tricky, too. Because CBD is not regulated by the FDA, creators of these supplements often make claims about its effectiveness based on little—or no—evidence. It’s hard to know what you’re getting. The amount of CBD in any product varies widely. The FDA has warned that in some products, lab tests have shown no CBD at all. Under the FDA’s Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, manufacturers of dietary supplements and dietary ingredients are banned from marketing products that are tainted or misbranded.
Although many claims continue to be made about CBD oil, there is little evidence of any benefit. It’s certainly not an alternative to traditional diabetes management. The safety of CBD is also unknown—it may have dangerous side effects that we won’t know about unless further research is done. But there is a great deal of interest in CBD research, so we should learn a lot more in the coming years about what exactly CBD can and can’t do. In the meantime, it’s best practice pursue optimal health and diabetes management with treatments that have evidence to show they are safe and effective.
CBD and Metformin – August 2022
Metformin is a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved medicine commonly used to treat type 2 diabetes. Doctors often prescribe this drug on its own or in combination with other diabetes medications to manage high glucose levels (6 ) .
The medication has proven to be effective in preventing diabetes in high-risk individuals while also lowering the majority of its complications. Although there are some adverse reactions to metformin use, reports state that these effects are trivial when considering the benefits (7 ) .
Cannabidiol (CBD), on the other hand, is a phytocannabinoid present in the Cannabis sativa plant. It is the non-euphoric component in cannabis that is said to contain therapeutic properties.
A study in 2016 on diabetic mice reveals that CBD treatment is capable of lowering the incidence of diabetes in the subjects. The mice were given a daily dose of 5 mg/kg CBD at least five times a week for ten weeks (8 ) .
Additional research in 2018 investigates the mechanism of action of phytocannabinoids as anti-diabetic and anti-obesity agents. The study shows that cannabinoids can potentially support the treatment of insulin resistance caused by diabetes and obesity (9 ) .
Seeing as metformin can effectively treat diabetes while CBD has possible healing properties, it is only natural to think of combining the two of them. However, there is no study proving that these products are compatible with each other.
There are enzymes in the liver that metabolize the number of active ingredients in medications taken by an individual. These are also the same proteins that the body uses to break down CBD.
In past research, CBD is seen as a potent inhibitor of cytochrome P450 enzymes. As an inhibitor, this means that taking it along with other medications may hinder liver enzymes from correctly processing other drugs (10-11 ) .
Such a scenario could lead to increased or decreased levels of active medicines in the blood, causing problems related to toxicity or being subtherapeutic.
CBD interaction with CYP450 can alter how it affects the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a complex system found in humans and animals that regulates the central nervous system, among others (12) .
Metformin use comes with its side effects, and the more this medication enters the bloodstream, the higher the possibility of harmful reactions. Although its effects are not significant, it may cause a condition known as lactic acidosis. This condition brings with it symptoms such as muscle pain, drowsiness, dizziness, chills, and difficulty in breathing (13 ) .
Since there is no clear indication of whether metformin users are at risk or not, if they use CBD, it is always better to err on the side of caution. People using metformin for diabetes should consult a doctor knowledgeable in cannabis before applying CBD in their regimen.
Only these professionals can provide a concept of the right dosage of these two products to avoid any adverse side effects.
Can Another Antihyperglycemic Be a Substitute for Metformin So CBD Oil Can Be Taken?
Insulin is an antihyperglycemic agent that is used to lower high blood sugar in people who have diabetes. Doctors often apply it by subcutaneous injection, but there are other forms that they can inject intravenously.
Research in 2016 on 62 subjects with type 2 diabetes reveals that a combination of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and CBD can decrease insulin resistance while stimulating the effect of insulin in the body. These same subjects were non-insulin-treated and were able to tolerate both CBD and THC well (14 ) .
Another study in 2018 shows that low dosage CBD increases glucose uptake, lowers fat accumulation, and reverses insulin resistance in rats (15 ) . This may be an additional indication that CBD can be used together with insulin to improve its effectiveness.
Although CBD and insulin intake in rodents may not be the same in humans, there is still a possibility that cannabidiol can enhance insulin efficacy. This is especially true since animal models are often used to understand how drugs work in human beings (16 ) .
More research is needed to understand further the effectiveness and safety of using these two to treat diabetes.
Can CBD Replace Metformin?
As of this time, no research proves CBD to be a safe alternative to metformin use in humans who have diabetes. The majority of studies on how CBD can affect diabetes were carried out on rats and mice.
A study as early as 2006 on non-obese diabetic mice shows that CBD is capable of lowering the incidence of possible diabetes by changing the immune response system in rodents. The non-treated mice had a probability of 86% to develop diabetes, while CBD-treated subjects only had 30% (17 ) .
The CBD treatment also significantly reduced plasma blood levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokines, while also lowering the possibility of pancreatic disease.
In 2016, research showed that cannabidiol could delay the onset of type 1 diabetes while remarkably reducing inflammation in the pancreas caused by the said condition. Female non-obese diabetic mice were administered daily intake of CBD for several weeks (18 ) .
Another study in 2019 carried out on middle-aged diabetic rats wanted to test the beneficial effects of CBD on both ischemic diseases and diabetes. It revealed that CBD has effects on neuropathic pain , can improve memory performance, and lowers hippocampal levels of inflammation markers (19 ) .
Experts suggest that perhaps medical marijuana and cannabinoids like CBD gummies can be used to treat the symptoms of diabetes. Since the studies on CBD as an antihyperglycemic are limited, it is always best to seek advice from a medical expert before considering replacing current anti-diabetic medication.
Drugs That Can Interact with Metformin
Metformin contains positively charged molecules (cationic) that can compete with similarly charged drugs for renal secretion via organic cation transporters found in the kidneys.
Quinidine, procainamide, trimethoprim, digoxin, and vancomycin are cationic medications that can interact with metformin. However, only cimetidine, which can be bought over-the-counter for heartburn, is linked to a case of metformin-associated lactic acidosis (MALA) (20 ) .
The following are other medications that can have drug interactions with metformin:
- Corticosteroids medications
- Estrogen and oral contraceptives
- Calcium channel blockers
Mixing the drugs listed above, together with metformin, may affect blood sugar control in the body. Patients need to monitor their blood sugar levels frequently and notify their doctors of any sudden changes.
These drugs can reduce the ability of the kidneys to eliminate metformin from the blood and thus lead to lactic acidosis:
Individuals should consult a doctor to see if these drug combinations are worth the risk. There may be safer options available that do not have the same probability of danger.
Below are medications that may increase the risk of lactic acidosis on metformin users:
- Carbonic anhydrase inhibitors (CAIs) such as acetazolamide or topiramate
Regular monitoring of patients taking CAIs together with metformin may be necessary as this can aid in detecting early signs of lactic acidosis.
It is always best to consult a doctor to be aware of the possible side effects of metformin use. Physicians can change the dosage or even suggest a safer, alternate medication.
People switching from immediate-release to extended-release metformin tablets may experience fewer instances of diarrhea, as suggested by a study in 2004 (21 ) .
Doctors continually monitor for signs of anemia and vitamin B-12 deficiency in individuals that have been taking metformin for at least a few months. Consuming iron and vitamin B-12 supplements may help prevent these issues if they arise in long-term metformin users.
Metformin is an FDA-approved medication that is prescribed to individuals who have type 2 diabetes. It is often given on its own or with other prescription drugs to manage high blood glucose levels in the body.
The said medication can effectively prevent diabetes in high-risk individuals, while also reducing most of its complications. There may be adverse reactions associated with metformin use, but most reports mention that these are only minor considering its benefits.
Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is said to contain cannabinoid receptors that can benefit people with diabetes. Several clinical trials on mice and rats reveal the antihyperglycemic potential of the phytocannabinoid.
Since metformin can treat diabetes effectively, most people consider taking it together with the healing properties of CBD edibles. There are no studies, however, that prove these two products can be used together.
In fact, they may not work well with each other due to how the body processes both metformin and CBD products. Lactic acidosis is the most severe side effect that a person may experience with metformin overdose, which has symptoms such as dizziness, muscle pain, chills, and difficulty in breathing.
As no clear indication of whether metformin users are at risk or not when using CBD, it is best to avoid using them together for now. At the very least, seeking medical advice from a healthcare provider knowledgeable in the cannabis plant may be a possible option.
Insulin may be a potential antihyperglycemic agent that can work well in conjunction with CBD oil help. A placebo-controlled study in 2016 shows that CBD is capable of lowering insulin resistance while improving the effects of insulin in the body.
In 2018, a study on rats revealed that low tincture doses of CBD could enhance glucose uptake, improve weight loss, and reverse insulin resistance in the subjects. All these are potential indications that CBD can be used together with insulin to improve its effectiveness.
Should You Take CBD While Taking Metformin?
People are increasingly using cannabinoids to help them manage serious health conditions.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a particularly popular choice since CBD alone does not contain any psychoactive compounds, meaning it doesn’t make you feel “high”.
In addition to its anti-inflammatory benefits, CBD may also help better regulate our blood sugar and improve our metabolism.
Nearly 10% of the population has diabetes. One of the most common forms of treatment is an anti-diabetes medication called metformin. Many people are now asking, “can CBD help with diabetes?” and “can I take CBD and metformin together?”
Read this article to learn everything you need to know about taking CBD and metformin.
What is Metformin?
Metformin is a prescription medication commonly used in type 2 diabetes to help control blood sugar levels. It’s often prescribed on its own or in combination with other drugs and lifestyle changes to reduce complications due to diabetes. It may also be prescribed to prevent diabetes in high-risk groups.
Metformin is an effective medication with benefits that tend to outweigh the risks. The most common side-effects are gas, nausea, bloating, reduced appetite, and diarrhea.
Unlike many other drugs, metformin is not metabolized by the liver. However, due to its action on a liver enzyme called CYP3A4, it may interfere with how your body metabolizes substances like CBD.
Can CBD Oil Help With Diabetes?
CBD has gained a lot of popularity for its ability to alleviate symptoms associated with depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and epilepsy. More recently, scientists have found that it may also be helpful for people with diabetes.
CBD works by influencing our endocannabinoid system. This system plays an integral part in the regulation of energy metabolism by affecting how our fat cells respond to insulin.
There hasn’t been much work investigating CBD for diabetes, but what we do have is promising. Recent research has shown that CBD can curb cravings for high-calorie food, helping people manage compulsive eating. This can make it easier for people with diabetes to stick with healthier diet plans.
CBD has also been shown to promote fat-browning. Brown fat is a good kind of fat that takes up less space, burns energy, and keeps us warm. Increased levels of brown fat are associated with improved metabolic profiles.
A study on mice found that a daily dose of 5 mg/kg of CBD for ten weeks lowered the chances of diabetes. Other work examining the effects of phytocannabinoids on obesity and diabetes found that CBD may aid in the treatment of insulin resistance.
Diabetics may also have other benefits from CBD such as improved sleep and reduced inflammation, which can significantly help them manage their diabetes.
Limitations of Using CBD for Diabetes
The most significant limitation to using CBD for diabetes is individual differences in our endocannabinoid systems. Since people can respond differently to the effects of CBD, one person may have a drastic lowering of blood sugar levels after CBD (which can be dangerous), and another might have no effect. Therefore, make sure you monitor your blood glucose levels if you choose to use CBD for diabetes in order to see how your body reacts.
Another limitation is that multiple cannabinoids can impact the endocannabinoid system. CBD is just one of the hundreds of cannabinoids that may be present in full-spectrum oil. More work is needed to determine the effects of compounds like THC and CBN compared to CBD on people with diabetes.
Not all CBD oils are created equally. Always buy your product from a reputable company that offers organic CBD. Look for companies that provide third-party testing to make sure that the product is accurately labeled and dosed.
Can I Take CBD Oil With Metformin?
Both of these compounds seem to have a lot of benefits for people living with diabetes so it seems natural to put them together, right? Not so fast.
CBD and metformin are both inhibitors of a liver enzyme called CYP3A4. This may interfere with how each of the drugs is metabolized.
No study has been conducted to examine the effect of the two drugs taken together. It’s possible that combining metformin and CBD may increase or decrease levels of the medication in your bloodstream. This can increase side-effects or reduce the efficacy of the compounds. If you decide to take both, you can reduce the side effects by spacing out your doses of the two drugs.
Some people who combine CBD and metformin also find they become hypoglycemic due to the medications’ combined effects. If you’re planning on using CBD to help manage your diabetes, you should always do so under the guidance of a physician.
Can I Replace Metformin With CBD?
CBD has many potential qualities that can benefit a diabetic population. In addition to its potential impact on glucose metabolism, it also has many benefits specific to people with diabetes. CBD is neuroprotective, protects the eyes against diabetic retinopathy, and reduces pancreatic inflammation.
Anecdotally, there are many reports of people who have been able to control their diabetes by switching from metformin to CBD.
Whether or not CBD can stand alone as a treatment for diabetes remains to be seen. Many cannabis experts claim that CBD oil can be used to target symptoms of type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Since there is still limited data on CBD for the treatment of diabetes, you should always seek advice or monitoring from a medical professional before replacing metformin with CBD oil.
Drugs That Interact With Metformin
Metformin does not have any severe drug interactions but does interact with certain compounds to have mild to moderate side-effects.
Metformin may increase lactic acid production, which can put people at an increased risk of lactic acidosis in the presence of certain medications or disorders that increase lactic acid. Lactic acidosis is characterized by symptoms such as stomach pain, diarrhea, fast, shallow breathing, and weakness.
An over-the-counter heartburn medication called cimetidine was linked to a case of metformin-associated lactic acidosis.
Other medications that can interact with metformin to increase the risk of lactic acidosis include:
Additional medications may interact with metformin to cause hypoglycemia:
- Calcium channel blockers (i.e., Norvasc)
- Estrogen and oral contraceptives
- Thyroid medications
Metformin may also increase the risk of anemia and vitamin B-12 deficiency. You can combat this by supplementing with iron and vitamin B-12 if using metformin long-term.
Talk to your physician or pharmacist for a full list of drug interactions.
CBD & Metformin: Final Thoughts
Metformin is a prescription drug that is effective for the treatment of diabetes. Although it may cause some side effects, most users say the benefits outweigh the risks.
CBD has shown the potential to help regulate insulin levels through its action on the endocannabinoid system.
Due to CBD’s array of health benefits, many people with diabetes are interested in combining it with metformin or replacing metformin entirely. Users should practice caution when combining the drugs as they may interact to have unwanted side-effects.
More work is needed to determine whether CBD is an effective stand-alone treatment for diabetes, but it appears to have great potential.
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Livvy is a registered nurse (RN) and board-certified nurse midwife (CNM) in the state of New Jersey. After giving birth to her newborn daughter, Livvy stepped down from her full-time position at the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey. This gave her the opportunity to spend more time writing articles on all topics related to pregnancy and prenatal care.