Cannabis drug shows promising results for patients with type 2 diabetes

Cannabis diabetes research: photo of person conducting at-home glucose test.

A sublingual distribution of THC and CBD has been shown to lower cholesterol and control blood sugar in type 2 diabetics, according to a recently published study from the Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research.

The randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled study sought to investigate the efficacy and safety of CBDEX1®, a medication containing plant-derived CBD and THC developed by Yas Daru pharmaceutical company in Tehran, Iran. The goal was to understand the drug’s efficacy on the glycemic state and lipid profile of patients with type 2 diabetes compared to the placebo group, and to evaluate patients’ safety and quality of life.

The first phase of the clinical trial began with 78 patients who met the inclusion criteria. However, in the briefing session, 28 patients declined to continue leaving 25 patients in each arm of the study. No significant differences were observed in the proportions and measurements, clinical, and demographic data of participants.

Study volunteers were recruited from a pool of care-seeking diabetes patients who attended the endocrinology department of the Imam Hossein hospital between January and April 2021. The study was registered in the Iranian Clinical Trial Registry and approved by the Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences ethics committee. No conflict of interest or funding was involved.

Patients were administered a 10:1 CBD and delta-9-THC sublingual spray twice per day, two puffs at a time over eight weeks, delivering 100 micrograms (µg) CBD and ten µg Δ9-THC per puff. Following allocation, one patient from the group receiving the cannabinoid drug dropped out due to vertigo and dizziness, and one placebo patient discontinued due to sublingual mouth ulcers leaving 24 patients in each arm of the study.

This research concluded that two puffs of 10:1 CBD to THC CBDEX1® could improve a patient’s lipid profile and glucose tolerance. When reading HOMA2 values, researchers also noted that the regimen improved insulin sensitivity. The study determined, however, that the cannabinoids and their ratios were essential to these optimistic results. A 2016 study on CBD and cannabidivarin (CBV) at 1:1 and 20:1 ratios showed these ratios and cannabinoids had an antagonizing effect on one another.

Though further studies are needed, these promising results from the Middle East further bolster the idea that with more research, medical cannabis could effectively improve the quality of life for patients with a variety of conditions.

Cara Wietstock  is Senior Content Producer of and has been working in the cannabis space since 2011. She has covered the cannabis business beat for Ganjapreneur and The Spokesman Review. You can find her living in Bellingham, Washington with her husband, son, and a small zoo of pets.