People with diabetes are three times as likely to die of cardiovascular diseases. Smoking and diabetes together make you 11 times more likely to die of a heart attack or stroke.
Smoking raises your blood sugar levels AND cuts your body's ability to use insulin, making it hard to control your diabetes. Smoking ONE cigarette reduces the body's ability to use insulin by 15%.
Smoking increases your cholesterol levels and the levels of other fats in your blood. This increases your risk of having a heart attack.
Smoking cuts the amount of oxygen reaching tissues. This can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
People with diabetes who smoke are twice as likely to have circulation and wound healing problems. These can lead to leg and foot infections, sometimes requiring amputation.
Smokers with diabetes are more likely to develop nerve damage (neuropathy) and kidney disease (nephropathy).
Smoking increases your chances of permanent vision loss or blindness.
Smoking increases muscle and joint pain.
Smoking can cause impotence.
Smokers with diabetes have more problems with dental disease, bleeding gums and ulcers.
Myths and truths about diabetes and smoking[/u
MYTH: Diabetes is already going to 'get me', so it doesn't matter if I smoke.
TRUTH: Most people who control their diabetes can prevent or delay complications for many, many years. Smoking wipes out all of your hard work to keep complications away. It is smoking that will 'get you' in the end.
MYTH: Smoking makes me feel better. There are so many things about diabetes that make me feel bad (e.g., injections, fingersticks, high and low blood sugars)
TRUTH: Smoking - like any drug - gives you that good feeling for a short time. Every time you smoke, you do more damage to your body. Find other ways to relieve stress (exercise, pets, etc.) and make a healthy change!
Many cannabinoids act primarily to inhibit prostaglandins and COX-2, while providing powerful anti-oxidant properties to salvage free radicals, and inhibit macrophage and TNF. All of this means that cannabis is an excellent anti-inflammatory that lacks the side effects of steroids (which diabetics have to avoid), the NSAIDS, and the COX-2 inhibitors like Vioxx. This anti-inflammatory action may help quell some of the arterial inflammation common in diabetes.
Cannabis is also neuroprotective. It is believed that much of neuropathy comes from the inflammation of nerves caused by glycoproteins in the blood that deposit in peripheral tissues and trigger an immune response. Cannabis helps protect the nerve covering (myelin sheath) from inflammatory attack. Cannabis also lessens the pain of neuropathy by activating receptors in the body and brain. Some components of cannabis (perhaps cannibidiol) act as anti-spasmodic agents similar to the far more toxic anti-convulsants like Neurontin. This action of cannabis helps relieve diabetic muscle cramps and GI upset.
Two other major actions of cannabis can benefit the diabetic. The first is helping to keep blood vessels open and improving circulation. Cannabis is a vasodilator and works well to improve blood flow. The second action is how cannabis can reduce blood pressure over time. While cannabis is not generally thought to be an anti-hypertensive and is no replacement for ACE inhibitors, it does contribute to lower blood pressure which is vital in diabetes management.
Finally, cannabis used in food products not only provides long lasting blood levels of key cannabinoids but, in addition, cannabis butter and oil substitute triple bonded fatty acids for the saturated fats normally contained in these essential cooking products. This substitution will benefit cardiac and arterial health in general.
Most diabetics learn very early that maintenance of good blood sugar is most easily achieved when patients or their caregivers cook as opposed to eating fast food or prepared foods. Cooking not only provides superior nutrition necessary to treat diabetes but also is a form of physical therapy for diabetic hands that suffer from neuropathy. Of course, diabetics should take caution with any flames or hot objects.
Cannabis may also be used to make topical creams (mixed with aloe vera and/or emu oil) that can be applied directly to hands and feet affected by neuropathic pain and tingling.
Night time can be particularly difficult for diabetics. A syndrome known as "restless leg syndrome" (RLS) is common. Cannabis helps still RLS which is otherwise treated with quinine and/or muscle relaxants like Flexaril. For night time it is recommended that patients use a vaporizer or smoked cannabis to aid in falling asleep. If night time hypoglycemia is a problem then a cannabis cookie can be very helpful. Cannabis cookies are great treatment so long as portion control is exercised.
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The "method of delivery" of Cannabis is a point to consider. Cannabis can be ingested without a lot of fancy preparation: stuff an empty gelatin capsule (the large 'double zero' can be purchased at most health food shops in the US) and swallow. I advise eating a meal or drinking a glass of milk prior to swallowing, as this method can give you a bit of 'heartburn' ~ you'll experience non entirely unpleasant THC belches intermittently for about half a day. The effects "peak" much more slowly (can take a few hours) but are felt more strongly and are prolonged in a way most people who have a day to themselves and don't have to operate heavy equipment or drive a car quite optimal: you will feel the effects for a full 24-hour day, as opposed to the few hours after one smokes. The gradual onset via the GI tract is less harsh ~ the greater intensity and prolonged "high" needs to be studied, regarding the impact on blood sugar levels. I will say this: if you are one who gets "the munchies", you must practice a lot more restraint in the sort of foods you put into your body. If you crave chocolate, stick with the 70% cacao ~ and if it contains almonds or similar, so much the better. Brown rice cakes with natural peanut butter and (if you must) sugar-free jam or high-fiber cereal with minimal sugar and sparkling water may not be have as much appeal as a bag of barbecue potato chips or bag of M&M's chased with diet soda, but the fact is you can't eat junk food and expect good results, in the short and long-term. This is true for everyone ~ and if more people didn't chow down on empty calories and got good exercise every day, there would not be an epidemic of obesity and adult-onset diabetes in this and many other "developed" countries.
I will argue that use of Cannabis far outweighs use of alcohol as a means of "relaxation" in a Type 1 diabetic. I can tell you from unfortunate experiences with an ex-boyfriend who, after we'd been together for a few months, got into his old habits and drank on a regular basis. At first, I tried to dissuade him but then (to my own detriment) tried to "keep up" with him, so he wouldn't consume an entire bottle of wine or hard liquor on his own. I had to stop ~ I've never been able to handle alcohol gracefully and, as someone who knew this man far longer than I did told me: "It's no use. Don't try keeping up with him. You'll get sick and it will make no difference."
A local Pharmacist used to put labels on his insulin bottles warning him against alcohol consumption. One day, he sarcastically told the Pharmacist these labels were unnecessary, as he would drink as he pleased. The Pharmacist spoke about another man, a good friend who'd had childhood onset Type 1 diabetes, who'd had much the same cavalier attitude. "He lasted eleven years before he died." This story was in no way a deterrent. And I take responsibility for having allowed myself to become a "designated driver" on average of one night per week, which permitted my ex to down pint after pint of ale while I drank non-alcoholic wine or soda ~ fortunately, these places also served food and he would eat a meal ~ although this became a justification: "It's okay to imbibe as long as you're having a meal along with the drinks." No, it wasn't okay. I watched this man wasting away, although he ate and drank a healthy high-calorie diet. And his moods would swing like mad, until I became extremely frightened of him and eventually so depressed I'd sit for days and accomplish nothing, which sometimes sent him into rages. He thought I was ungrateful and uncaring and often told me so, when neither of these emotions were what I felt.
I finally saw a Doctor who gave me an antidepressant which effectively numbed my emotions, both positive and negative, so I could avoid the exhaustion of getting into daily arguments by reacting over what often seemed pointless ~ and then I left in search of work and time away to piece my sanity back together. I think he believed I'd abandoned him, as he very quickly and efficiently found someone to replace me. No, I take that back: someone he thought "superior" to me (and if there is a woman who can keep him from the bottle, she is indeed superior to the person I'd become in this man's world). So, if anyone should ask about alcohol and Type 1 diabetes, I can only say very loudly: NO! I'm happy that the ex is still alive and hope he's in better health these days. The one thing this man did was "get his heart rate up" at least once a day for a period of 20 to 30 minutes, by bicycling and hiking when he lived in cities and suburbs and doing a lot of hard, physical work on forest land out in the country.
From a medical standpoint, should a person suffer from chronic pain, the use of Cannabis to alleviate pain is a better choice than Codeine, particular when mixed as it often is with some amount of acetaminophen (a/k/a Tylenol in the US). Turns out, acetaminophen is the greater evil than Codeine when taken on a regular basis for some amount of relief from chronic pain -- even when the levels are relatively low and nowhere near toxic. Also, one would think the circulation would benefit from the effects of ingesting Cannabis. Again, I believe the method of delivery needs to be personally and scientifically studied in all diabetics. The more evidence which suggests the benefits of Cannabis outweigh the risks for diabetics, the greater the probability that Cannabis will be made legal throughout America (at least for certain medical conditions) and people who avoid the herb because they fear running afoul of the law will give it a fair chance, rather than relying on alcohol which, along with tobacco, is one of the most destructive drugs in existence.
Smoking pot gives you "the munchies' because the blood sugars are lowered. If you already have a problem getting glucose into the cells for food (diabetes), when you smoke pot this makes this problem worse, and can make you real sick (praying to the porcelin gods). Very dangerous.