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May 2013

Marijuana Linked To Blood Sugar Control, Smaller Waist

The use of marijuana may be linked to lower levels of insulin resistance and a smaller waist, according to a study.

Marijuana, hemp, and cannabis are common names for plants of the genus Cannabis. The term "hemp" is used for Cannabis plants that are grown for nondrug use, such as Cannabis sativa. Cannabis indica has poor fiber quality and is used to make drugs for recreation and medicine. The major differences between the two are appearance and the amount of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient of marijuana. Cannabis sativa is widely used for recreation. It has been inhaled or taken by mouth to produce a feeling of relaxation or well-being. The plant has been studied as a potential treatment for many conditions, including chronic skin disorders, cancer-related weakness and weight loss, chronic pain, Huntington's disease, sleep disorders, eye disease, multiple sclerosis, and schizophrenia. The most significant benefits have been seen in the treatment of chronic pain and multiple sclerosis. Marijuana may help reduce eye pressure in people who have glaucoma.

Previous research suggests that there may be a lower prevalence of obesity and diabetes in marijuana users, compared to people who have never used marijuana. In the current study, scientists evaluated the possible benefits of marijuana in blood sugar control and waist circumference. They looked at information from 4,657 adult men and women who had participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination between 2005 and 2010. The subjects self-reported their marijuana use, and the researchers measured their insulin and blood sugar levels after nine hours of fasting.

Of the people included in the study, 579 were current marijuana users and 1,975 had used marijuana in the past. The results suggested that current marijuana use was associated with better insulin resistance and smaller waist circumferences.

The scientists concluded that marijuana use may be linked to better blood sugar control and a small waist. However, more research is needed before firm conclusions can be made.

High blood sugar may be a concern for many people who want to stay healthy and avoid developing chronic conditions such as diabetes. Numerous integrative therapies have been studied for possible benefits in diabetes. There is strong scientific evidence supporting the effectiveness of alpha lipoic acid and konjac glucommanan for this purpose.

For more information about marijuana, please visit Natural Standard's Foods, Herbs & Supplements Database.


  1. Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine. 
  2. Penner EA, Buettner H, Mittleman MA, et al. The Impact of Marijuana Use on Glucose, Insulin, and Insulin Resistance among US Adults. Am J Med. 2013 May 9. pii: S0002-9343(13)00200-3. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2013.03.002. [Epub ahead of print] 

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