I wasn’t going to post today but I ran across this article talking about a recent study published in The American Journal of Medicine that found marijuana users had lower insulin resistance, higher good cholesterol, and a smaller waist circumference. Funny that a group of us was just talking about the issue of legalizing marijuana yesterday. I am by no means an expert in this area, but I’ll just throw in my two cents.
The article opens with “Toking up may help marijuana users to stay slim and lower their risk of developing diabetes, according to the latest study, which suggests that cannabis compounds may help in controlling blood sugar.” I find this statement a bit misleading since the study itself makes no such claims and is unable to because of its study design (cross-sectional, which is just an observation of a particular sample at one point in time).
Based on their statistical analysis of the data, the authors of the study concluded that “current marijuana use is associated with lower levels of fasting insulin, lower HOMA-IR, and smaller waist circumference.” This simply means they observed that participants who used marijuana had lower levels of insulin resistance and a smaller waist without making any claims of causality.
The CNN article does point out at the end that it is much too early to make any claims of possible benefits of marijuana in the realm of diabetes, but I wonder how many people actually make it through the whole article (especially with all the statistics and science talk in the middle). The article also doesn’t mention any of the adverse effects of marijuana use, but I suppose that is outside the scope of what the author is trying to accomplish.
At the end of the day, though, even if it was shown that smoking marijuana lowers diabetes risk, I’m not sure it would change the way I practice. Just as I don’t counsel people who don’t drink to start drinking because of the heart benefits, or those with obesity to pick up smoking because it can help with weight loss, I wouldn’t endorse marijuana use to improve diabetes risk, especially when diet and exercise for sure can lower the risk of developing diabetes (and high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, high cholesterol, and many other diseases for that matter).
Anyway, a hotly debated topic. Just some initial thoughts, feel free to share yours.