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Marijuana may significantly increase users’ risk of becoming borderline diabetics or be diagnosed with prediabetes, a medical condition in which blood sugar levels are not within the normal range but are too low to be considered a clear symptom of diabetes.
According to a recent research, young people who routinely use large amounts of the drug may see their risk of developing prediabetes in their middle age jump by 40 percent.
On the other hand, marijuana was not found responsible for type 2 diabetes in the middle-aged that smoked marijuana during their young adult years.
A past research looking for a link between marijuana use and risk of diabetes had found that cannabis users had lower rates of diabetes than non-users.
But Dr. Michael Bancks, senior author of the recent study and researcher at the University of Minnesota, explained that the past research was biased because the research team didn’t monitor marijuana users over the course of several years to see whether they had a risk of diabetes. Marijuana use and diabetes risk were assessed simultaneously, so it remained unclear whether users had diabetes before or after they took up pot smoking.
As a result, the recent study, which was published Sunday in the journal Diabetologia, focused on finding whether the past research showing that diabetes occurred less often in marijuana users than in non-users had a solid scientific basis.
And, the findings showed that the past research was incorrect since study authors found a significant link between marijuana use and high risk of prediabetes. On the other hand, the research team couldn’t find an explanation to why marijuana didn’t seem to lead to a full-fledged diabetes diagnosis.
Researchers believe that that may have something to do with the way the study was conducted. For the study, only healthy, non-diabetic participants were admitted. So, those who already had prediabetes or a condition that made them more prone to develop the disease were left out of the study.
Another explanation may be tied to marijuana having an influence on blood sugar levels only within the prediabetes range. Study authors concluded that more studies need to be conducted and more marijuana users should be involved in those studies including those with higher overall risk of diabetes.
Nevertheless, researchers suggest doctors should put prediabetes on the list with health hazards marijuana use may trigger. Moreover, health care providers should actively monitor blood sugar levels of the people coming in their offices with “an extensive history of marijuana use.”
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