May 16, 2013

By Jane Brown

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You’ve heard of the benefits of medical marijuana.  But a new U.S. study says smoking pot reduces your chances of developing diabetes.  The findings are based on a group of adults who took part in the National Health and Nutrition Survey that was carried out between 2005 and 2010 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.  The study reveals that participants who used marijuana in the previous month, had on average, 16 percent lower fasting insulin levels than participants who never consumed cannabis.  Researchers say this essentially means that regular marijuana smokers use insulin more efficiently than non-smokers.

The study also showed that marijuana users had smaller waist circumferences and higher levels of good cholesterol than non  users.  A big belly is another major risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

Senior author Murray Mittleman at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston says its way too soon to jump to a conclusion that getting high on marijuana will significantly reduce your odds of getting diabetes.  But he says, “the metabolic changes that were observed are the sorts of things that are favourable with respect to indicating a lower risk of developing diabetes.”  The study is published in the American Journal of Medicine.

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