Marijuana may lower insulin resistance, blood sugar levels, and improve cholesterol profile

24 May 2013, 07:33
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People that smoke marijuana have better levels of sugar in blood, are slimmer and have lower resistance to insulin, says a new study published in the American Journal of Medicine on Thursday.


"These are preliminary findings," said Dr. Murray Mittleman, who worked on the study at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.


The study titled “The impact of Marijuana Use on Glucose, Insulin, and Insulin Resistance among U.S. Adults” examined the effects of occasional cannabis usage on blood sugar levels.


It reviewed the participants of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2005 to 2010.


Scientists from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre in Boston have found that people who use marijuana have slightly lower levels of resistance to insulin. Such resistance is usually considered by doctors a precursor condition to diabetes.


Comparison of glucose and insulin levels in blood showed that people who had used cannabis in the previous month had substantially lower levels of fasting insulin and higher levels of HDL-C cholesterol, often also called “good” cholesterol.


The study also looked at participants waist sizes and determined that pot smokers had smaller waists: 36.9 inches versus 38.3 inches on average, than those who had never smoked marijuana. The first group also showed lower body mass index, ratio of weight to height.


"It looks like there may be some favorable effects on blood sugar control, however a lot more needs to be done to have definitive answers on the risks and potential benefits of marijuana usage.", said Dr. Mittleman.


"It's possible that people who choose to smoke marijuana have other characteristics that differ (from non-marijuana smokers)," and those characteristics are what ultimately affect blood sugar and waist size, he told Reuters Health.

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