cbd oil vaping for neuropathy in feet

Smoking high-strength cannabis may damage nerve fibres in brain

High-strength cannabis may damage nerve fibres that handle the flow of messages across the two halves of the brain, scientists claim. Brain scans of people who regularly smoked strong skunk-like cannabis revealed subtle differences in the white matter that connects the left and right hemispheres and carries signals from one side of the brain to the other.

The changes were not seen in those who never used cannabis or smoked only the less potent forms of the drug, the researchers found.

The study is thought to be the first to look at the effects of cannabis potency on brain structure, and suggests that greater use of skunk may cause more damage to the corpus callosum, making communications across the brain’s hemispheres less efficient.

Paola Dazzan, a neurobiologist at the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London, said the effects appeared to be linked to the level of active ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), in cannabis. While traditional forms of cannabis contain 2 to 4 % THC, the more potent varieties (of which there are about 100), can contain 10 to 14% THC, according to the DrugScope charity.

“If you look at the corpus callosum, what we’re seeing is a significant difference in the white matter between those who use high potency cannabis and those who never use the drug, or use the low-potency drug,” said Dazzan. The corpus callosum is rich in cannabinoid receptors, on which the THC chemical acts.

A DTI image of the corpus callosum, as seen from the side, is shown in red on and superimposed on a background MRI image of the brain. Photograph: Institute of Psychiatry

“The difference is there whether you have psychosis or not, and we think this is strictly related to the potency of the cannabis,” she added. Details of the study are reported in the journal Psychological Medicine.

The researchers used two scanning techniques, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), to examine the corpus callosum, the largest region of white matter, in the brains of 56 patients who had reported a first episode of psychosis, and 43 healthy volunteers from the local community.

The scans found that daily users of high-potency cannabis had a slightly greater – by about 2% – “mean diffusivity” in the corpus callosum. “That reflects a problem in the white matter that ultimately makes it less efficient,” Dazzan told the Guardian. “We don’t know exactly what it means for the person, but it suggests there is less efficient transfer of information.”

The study cannot confirm that high levels of THC in cannabis cause changes to white matter. As Dazzan notes, it is may be that people with damaged white matter are more likely to smoke skunk in the first place.

“It is possible that these people already have a different brain and they are more likely to use cannabis. But what we can say is if it’s high potency, and if you smoke frequently, your brain is different from the brain of someone who smokes normal cannabis, and from someone who doesn’t smoke cannabis at all,” she said.

Cannabis and Diabetes

Cannabis, or marijuana, is a drug derived from the cannabis plant that is used for recreational use, medicinal purposes and religious or spiritual rites.

Cannabis plants produce a unique family of compounds called cannabinoids. Of these, the major psychoactive (brain function-affecting) compound is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Marijuana contains high levels of THC, as well as other psychoactive chemicals, which produce the ‘high’ users feel when inhaling or ingesting it.

Two other compounds, tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) and cannabidiol (CBD) have been shown to have benefits for blood sugar control and metabolism in diabetes studies.

Legalisation on the NHS

On 1 November 2018 medical cannabis products were made available on the NHS for some people in the UK.

Treatments can only be prescribed by specialist doctors in a limited number of circumstances and not by GPs.

The treatments will contain varying quantities of THC and CBD. Treatments will include pills, capsules and oils but smoking cannabis will not be prescribed.

People who stand to benefit will be children with rare, severe forms of epilepsy, adults with vomiting or nausea caused by chemotherapy, and adults with muscle stiffness caused by multiple sclerosis.

History of cannabis

Cannabis has been used by humans for thousands of years, with the earliest record of its use dating back to the 3rd millennium BC.

It is indigenous to Central and South Asia, and is believed to of been used by many ancient civilizations, particularly as a form of medicine or herbal therapy.

Cannabis and its effect on diabetes

There is growing research investigating cannabis use and the effects on diabetes.

Possible benefits of cannabis

A number of animal-based studies and some human studies have highlighted a number of potential health benefits of cannabis for diabetes.

Research by the American Alliance for Medical Cannabis (AAMC) has suggested that cannabis can help:

  • Stabilise blood sugars – a large body of anecdotal evidence is building among people with diabetes to support this.
  • Suppress some of the arterial inflammation commonly experienced by people with diabetes, which can lead to cardiovascular disease
  • Prevent nerve inflammation and ease the pain of neuropathy – the most common complication of diabetes – by stimulating receptors in the body and brain.
  • Lower blood pressure over time, which can help reduce the risk of heart disease and other diabetes complications
  • Keep blood vessels open and improve circulation.
  • Relieve muscle cramps and the pain of gastrointestinal (GI) disorders
  • Be used to make topical creams to relieve neuropathic pain and tingling in hands and feet

Cannabis compounds have also been shown to reduce intra-ocular pressure (the fluid pressure within the eye) considerably in people with glaucoma – a type of eye disease that is caused by conditions that severely restrict blood flow to the eye, such as severe diabetic retinopathy

Insulin benefits

THCV and CBD have been shown to improve metabolism and blood glucose in human and animal models of diabetes.

A 2016 study found that THCV and CBD decreased blood glucose levels and increased insulin production in people with type 2 diabetes, indicating a “new therapeutic agent for glycemic control”. [356]

Previously, tests in mice have shown the compounds boosted metabolism, leading to lower levels of cholesterol in the blood and fat in the liver.

UK-based company GW Pharmaceuticals is currently in the process of developing a cannabis spray called Sativex, a prescription medication used to treat muscle spasms in multiple sclerosis. GW is aiming to utilise the CBD and THCV compounds in the product to help with blood sugar regulation in people with type 2 diabetes.

Meanwhile, a separate 2017 study found that cannabis use was linked with lower insulin resistance in a cohort of people with and without diabetes. [357]

Treatment for inflammation

CBD has long been known to possess anti-inflammatory properties, and because chronic inflammation is known to play a role in the development of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, research is investigating its efficacy in reducing inflammation in diabetes.

A 2017 study by the Medical College of Georgia revealed that CBD treatment reduced inflammation in animal models of diabetes, concluding “the nonpsychotropic CBD is a promising candidate for anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective therapeutics”. [358]

In 2015, Israeli researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem reported that the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD, could treat different illnesses such as diabetes , atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease.

In August 2015, cannabis pills containing only CBD, and not THC, were sold legally in Europe for the first time.

Treatment for peripheral neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy is another complication reported to be eased by cannabis.

The Medical College of Georgia Study in 2017 also revealed that CBD treatment reduced the severity of diabetic retinopathy in diabetic animal models.

Another study in 2015 saw University of California researchers gave 16 patients with painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy either placebo, or single doses of cannabis, which varied in dose strength.

Tests were first performed on baseline spontaneous pain, evoked pain and cognitive function. The higher the content of THC participants inhaled, the less pain they felt

Treatment for obesity

Furthermore, GW Pharmaceuticals research has revealed that cannabis could be used to treat obesity-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes by increasing the amount of energy the body burns

In December 2014, cannabis was linked to a lower likelihood of obesity, lower BMI and reduced risk of type 2 diabetes in an Inuit population.

Cannabis drug class

Laws regarding the production, possession, use and sale of cannabis came into effect in the early 20th century.

But despite being illegal in most countries, including the UK, its use as a recreational drug is still very common.

In fact it is the most used illicit drug in the world, according to the United Nations, with approximately 22.5 million adults across the globe estimated to use marijuana on a daily basis.

Legal status

In the UK, cannabis is categorized as a Class B drug under the UK Misuse of Drugs Act.

Individuals caught in possession of marijuana are therefore given more lenient punishment – often confiscation and a ‘cannabis warning’ for small amounts.

Effects of cannabis

Cannabis causes a number of noticeable but mild (in comparison with other recreational drugs) physical and mental effects. These include:

  • Increased pulse rate
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased appetite
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Light-headiness
  • Occasional dizzy spells
  • Problems with memory, concentration, perception and coordinated movement

Pro-cannabis groups and campaigners often highlight its pain relief benefits and stress the fact that not one cannabis-related death has ever been recorded.

Treatment for peripheral neuropathy

Another study in 2015 saw University of California researchers gave 16 patients with painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy either placebo, or single doses of cannabis, which varied in dose strength.

Tests were first performed on baseline spontaneous pain, evoked pain and cognitive function. The higher the content of THC participants inhaled, the less pain they felt

Negative effects of cannabis

Studies that have investigated this subject suggest that cannabis can have a number of effects on blood glucose control, depending on dosage. These include:

  • Memory and concentration-related problems which may affect glycemic control.
  • Raised appetite, or ‘munchies’ – a craving for sweet/fatty food, which can subsequently lead to hyperglycemia (abnormally high blood sugar levels)
  • Impaired glucose tolerance and hyperglycemia when heavily used.

Experts from Diabetes New Zealand, a national non-profit organization, also claim that cannabis indirectly affects blood glucose levels due to the drugs’ effect on the brain, which they say can lead to users not recognizing symptoms of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or confusing such symptoms with the effects of the drug.

People who use Low Carb Program have achieved weight loss, improved HbA1c, reduced medications and type 2 diabetes remission.