The Stigma Surrounding Medical Cannabis

Diabetes (T2D) is an insulin resistant progressive metabolic illness caused by several contributing lifestyle factors such as unhealthy eating behaviors, lack of physical activity level, and obesity. Costly and preventable, diabetes remains the seventh leading cause of death despite numerous interventions to control its growing rate among the younger demographics. Safe and cost-effective methods to lower an individual’s risk of developing T2D are eating healthier foods, exercising daily, and losing excess body fat. However, when diet and exercise failed, pharmacotherapy in the form of medical cannabis becomes a viable option for the treatment of T2D. Multiple evidence reveals that the endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a significant role in contributing to the development of diabetes because of its ability to regulate appetite and increase energy storage.

Furthermore, diabetic neuropathy, retinopathy, and nephropathy complications are amplified from an overactive ECS that induces stress and inflammation to surrounding organs. The constituents in medical cannabis, THC and CBD, are found to be capable of modulating the activities of our body’s ECS through their interactions with two of ECS’s main receptors, CB1 and CB2. Unfortunately, strict laws and government regulations restricted the option of using medical cannabis for its therapeutic effects due to the state of marijuana as a Schedule I drug and its main psychoactive component, ?”9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Other commercial drugs were produced for control of diabetes and weight loss management by targeting receptors on ECS, one of which was Rimonabant, an inverse agonist of the CB1 receptor.

However, Rimonabant proved ineffective when users reported of negative psychiatric effects and it was quickly taken off the market in 2008. The review attempts to assess the risks and benefits of medical cannabis to prove its therapeutic potential for T2D in comparison to the previously approved commercial drug, Rimonabant. Hopefully, the overview will positively rebrand the stigma surrounding medical cannabis and convince policymakers to deschedulize or reschedulize the drug so that patients are not denied possible medical treatments with therapeutic potential.

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