Could CBD be a potential diabetes treatment for dogs?

Could CBD be a potential medicine for diabetes in dogs?

The future of CBD – could it be a potential diabetes treatment for dogs? We look at the clinical research to date and why it could be considered.

When it comes to CBD oil, we know that it is a natural, alternative therapy that helps treat epilepsy, chronic pain, osteoarthritis, anxiety and mood disorders, and in palliative care in our pets. 

But the potential of CBD oil doesn’t stop here.

Veterinarians and owners alike are observing other secondary conditions that medicinal cannabis may be able to help improve. 

Researchers have been keen to explore the use of medicinal cannabis in this space for two main reasons: the connection between the endocannabinoid system and diabetes, and the inflammatory nature of diabetes.

It’s important to note that studies to date have been scarce and have not specifically explored the use of CBD in diabetic dogs. However, new research is currently underway to ensure that we can unlock the full potential of CBD oil as a diabetes treatment in both pets and humans.

The endocannabinoid system and diabetes

CBD oil works by interacting with the activity of the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), a neurochemical network that is responsible for promoting and maintaining internal balance throughout the body’s many processes.

Since the ECS is involved in regulating so many different biological functions — from memory to mood to pain perception, sleep cycles, fertility, appetite, immune response, and neuroprotection — it has become a target for how many new therapies work to treat various diseases.

And diabetes is one of these conditions.

In fact, there’s a growing body of evidence suggesting that imbalances of the endocannabinoid system can be a cause of diabetes.

Hence, a substance like CBD that has the power to balance out the ECS could, in theory, be of therapeutic benefit for dogs with diabetes. 

Potential of CBD oil and diabetes

Diabetes is a condition where the body has difficulty converting glucose (a type of sugar) into energy.

Chronic inflammation is the root cause of many of the serious complications of diabetes, including cardiovascular and kidney problems. 

Along with interacting with the ECS, we also know that CBD has anti-inflammatory properties – so it makes sense that medicinal cannabis may help with the inflammatory nature of diabetes

Reports by the American Alliance for Medical Cannabis (AAMC) has suggested that cannabis may 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

However, as we’ve highlighted in this article, the AAMC also cautions that research into medicinal cannabis is still ongoing, and further studies are necessary to help both medical professionals and diabetic patients understand the therapeutic and adverse effects more clearly.

Research on CBD oil and diabetes

One study found that both CBD and THCV (tetrahydrocannabivarin – another compound derived from the marijuana plant) decreased blood glucose levels and increased insulin production in people with type 2 diabetes, indicating a “new therapeutic agent for glycemic control” humans.

Meanwhile, another study from 2017 found that cannabis use was linked with lower insulin resistance in a cohort of people with and without diabetes.

This is in line with other research that CBD shows promise in reducing insulin resistance and moderating blood sugars for people with type 2 diabetes who are not currently taking insulin. 

Research on CBD and inflammation

We’ve long known that CBD has anti-inflammatory properties. And research has started to narrow in on how CBD can help with the chronic inflammation that underscores diabetes. 

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

In 2015, a team of 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.

Can I use CBD oil to treat diabetes in my dog?

There are still many questions we need to answer about the use of CBD oil for diabetes.

Exciting clinical research into the potential benefits of CBD as a therapy for dogs is still in its infancy.

We need more clinical trials to determine its efficacy and the best cannabinoid ratios – in both humans and in animals. 

Given the lack of evidence, it is essential to talk to a veterinarian before you try treating your diabetic dog with CBD oil.

Chat to our friendly team today at CBD Vets Australia  about whether CBD oil is right for your pet and how we can help you access this treatment safely.  Give us a call on 02 8294 9303. 

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