Whether or not cannabis can help manage symptoms of diabetes is unclear. While some studies support cannabis as a potential way to manage symptoms of the condition, other studies show it may have little benefit.
Now, a new preliminary study has shown that cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, may be able to reduce glucose absorption from foods, thus decreasing blood glucose levels.
Until now, the effects of cannabidiol on alpha-glucosidase have been largely unknown. Alpha-glucosidase is an enzyme that aids the digestion of dietary carbohydrates and starches to produce glucose that can be absorbed by the intestines. This process leads to an increase in blood sugar levels.
Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors are widely used for patients with type 2 diabetes. These include acarbose and miglitol. They work by delaying the absorption of carbohydrates from the small intestine. In turn, they lower after-meal blood sugar levels and insulin levels.
For the present study, the researchers examined various concentrations of CBD ranging from 10 to 1216 μM. They assessed the compound’s inhibitory effects in a yeast enzymatic assay and molecular docking. They also examined its stability in gastric and intestinal fluids via high-performance liquid chromatography analyses.
In the end, the researchers found that CBD has a moderate inhibitory effect against alpha-glucosidase activity and that it is stable in both gastric and intestinal fluids. They found a positive correlation between higher quantities of CBD and inhibition of alpha-glucosidase activity. Their results indicated that CBD at 10, 304 and 1216 μM delivered inhibition of 17.1%, 63.7% and 95.4%.
While promising results, the researchers say that their findings are not without limitations. For example, in their study, they obtained alpha-glucosidase from yeast. Some studies have shown that animal-derived alpha-glucosidase is less responsive than yeast-derived alpha-glucosidase to alpha-glucosidase inhibitors.
As such, further studies are needed to confirm CBD’s anti-alpha glucosidase effects via both cellular and in-vivo models before it could be considered to help manage type 2 diabetes.
Sources: Journal of Cannabis Research