If you can avoid stereotypical stoner junk food binges, getting high may actually help cut your diabetes risk, according to scientists. Research published in the latest issue of The American Journal of Medicine shows current marijuana smokers have lower fasting insulin and glucose levels as well as lower body mass indexes than non-users.
High fasting insulin is a marker of insulin resistance, which puts one at risk for type 2 diabetes. High blood glucose is another risk factor for pre-diabetes and diabetes.
Previous studies “have found lower prevalence rates of obesity and diabetes mellitus in marijuana users compared to people who have never used marijuana, suggesting a relationship between cannabinoids and peripheral metabolic processes,” said lead researcher Murray A. Mittleman, of the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Unit at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, in a press release.
“But ours is the first study to investigate the relationship between marijuana use and fasting insulin, glucose, and insulin resistance.”
With a growing number of states legalizing medical marijuana, unbiased research on its health effects is sorely needed. For many years, marijuana’s criminalization has prevented the kind of clinical marijuana research that could be leading to novel treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, depression, eating disorders, breast cancer and chronic pain, to name just a few.
According to Everyday Health, “the Boston researchers believe it’s important for physicians to understand the effects of smoking pot on conditions like diabetes, and they suggest future research should on the links between marijuana use and other common conditions.”
While the new data shows a link between current marijuana use and lower fasting insulin, glucose levels and BMI, it doesn’t explain why this may be the case or how their effectively related. “It is also the possibility that the new data says more about the type of people using marijuana—primarily young skinny males—than it does about the preventive associations between marijuana and diabetes,” notes Everyday Health.