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WIRE: Study suggests cannabis can protect against diabetes in overweight patients

Quebec, Canada — A history of cannabis use is associated with lower fasting insulin levels in obese subjects, according to data published in The Journal of Diabetes.

Canadian researchers assessed the relationship between cannabis consumption and fasting insulin levels and insulin resistance in a nationally representative sample of over 129,000 adults. They reported that both current and past cannabis use was associated with significant and persistent changes in insulin levels in obese subjects compared to non-users. However, these changes were only evident in overweight subjects.

“[W]e found that lifetime marijuana use is significantly associated with lower fasting insulin and HOMA-IR (a measure of insulin resistance) in obese individuals,” authors concluded. “We also found that, a long time (> 10 years) after cessation, former users showed significant lower levels of fasting insulin and HOMA-IR scores than did never users, independent of their frequency of use in the past.”

The data is consistent with prior observational studies finding that those with history of marijuana use possess more favorable indices related to diabetic control than do non-users.

For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director. Full text of the study, “Lifetime use of marijuana use in relation to insulin resistance in lean, overweight, and obese US adults,” appears in The Journal of Diabetes. Additional information specific to cannabis and diabetes is available from NORML.

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