Is There a Link Between Pot and Diabetes?
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Is There a Link Between Pot and Diabetes?


This post was originally published on October 7, 2015.

There are many different kids of pot smokers—experimental teenagers, curious college students, quarter-lifers continuing the party, yuppies who smoke to balance stress, middle-agers who toke to unwind, ex-hippies and baby-boomers who never stopped. In 2015, the demographic of people who engage in ganja is probably as diverse in age, ethnicity, education and financial status as the Unites States itself. Gone are the days of our parents being right when they say our stoner friends are bad apples. Fact is; some of the most brilliant and accomplished people probably like to blaze up every now and then.

Is there a connection between success and getting high? That is like asking if there is a connection between being homeless and drinking. The majority of people in this country drink, which happens to include people who live on the street—it doesn’t necessarily mean that if you drink you are going to end up sleeping on a sidewalk.

Here’s a Link

But a recent study did show a link between people who smoke pot and prediabetes, a pre-cursor to type 2 where blood sugar levels are abnormally high but not high enough to warrant a diabetes diagnosis. Those who admitted to being current pot smokers or using marijuana regularly in young adulthood showed to be 40% more likely to develop this condition in their middle age than those who said they never used.

What does this mean? As far as I can tell, nothing. Except maybe that people who smoked a lot of weed in their twenties probably developed poor eating habits that have left them with a serious sweet tooth at 40. It’s unclear to whether the actual ingestion of marijuana had anything to do with it.

Should We Be Concerned?

Not that I am minimizing prediabetes—with pot smoking being so en vogue I am grateful studies are being done around the long-term effects—but according to the study posted in journal Diabetologia, there doesn’t seem to be any connection between smoking pot and diabetes. In fact, previous studies have concluded the opposite—that marijuana use might actually lower the risk of diabetes.

Confusing, right? How can getting high contribute to the pre condition while simultaneously lowering the risk of developing the condition itself? Apparently there are some reasonable explanations for this, mostly related to the parameters of the study and the people who were included in it. But at the end of the day, people who smoke marijuana should know there are some risks and to be cautious about their eating habits.

Which Brings Me to My next Point

The article reporting on the recent study urges physicians to discuss the risk factors of marijuana use with their patients, because as we all know, everyone discusses their love of getting high with their doctor. Duh.

But really, what are the risk factors? I mean, one study says pot smokers have high blood sugar, another says the fun part of pot, the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), might actually positively affect insulin levels—who are we to believe?

In Conclusion

If you ask me, we need to forget all this and keep it simple: too much sugar isn’t good for anybody and obesity is a direct pathway to diabetes. If you aren’t obese, then just be conscious of how much sugar you are consuming (hint: alcohol has a lot of sugar). And I hope you know I am not talking about cutting back on apples and oranges.

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About Author

Danielle Stewart is a Los Angeles-based writer and recovering comedian. She has written for Showtime, E!, and MTV, as well as print publications such as Us Weekly and Life & Style Magazine. She returned to school and is currently working her way towards a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. She loves coffee, Law & Order SVU, and her emotional support dog, Benson.