Cardiac issues, particularly arrhythmias, are a major concern among patients with diabetes. They are also among the leading causes of death among these patients. However, researchers from the Simon Fraser University Department of Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology recently discovered that cannabidiol (commonly known as “CDB”) may help alleviate and mitigate some of the effects of diabetes-related arrhythmias.
How CBD May Help Mitigate Effects of Hyperglycemia
Hyperglycemia refers to the high blood sugar levels in diabetic patients, which can lead to cardiac complications such as arrhythmias. Arrhythmias disrupt the proteins in the heart, can cause irregular heartbeats, and are among the leading causes of death in diabetic patients.
However, researchers just published a study in the British Pharmacological Society Journals revealing that CBD may be an effective way to mitigate the effects of diabetes-related arrhythmias stemming from hyperglycemia. The research findings suggest that CBD possesses antioxidant and sodium channel inhibitory effects that can help prevent arrhythmia and cytotoxicity associated with high glucose levels.
“One of the proteins affected by hyperglycemia is the voltage-gated sodium channel, also called Nav1.5,” explained one of the SFU researchers, Professor Peter Ruben. “Nav1.5 is responsible for the electrical signal that leads to muscle contractions and the heartbeat.”
The researchers used lab-grown cells to test various glucose levels. They found the Nav.15 protein functioned abnormally with high glucose levels. However, it returned to normal function when they applied CBD.
Ruben also said that this discovery adds to previous findings that CBD can help abnormal sodium-channel functioning in the brain, which is why it is approved for treating some seizure disorders. “Since arrhythmias are like little seizures in the heart, we correctly hypothesized that CBD could potentially be used to treat the kind of cardiac arrhythmias that can arise from hyperglycemia,” he explained.
Clinical Testing Needed for CBD Treatment of Cardiac Arrhythmias
CBD is the primary component of the Cannabis sativa plant. CBD is a non-psychoactive component, meaning it does not produce the “high” often experienced with marijuana or other cannabis plants that contain other cannabinoids, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (also known as “THC”).
CBD shows evidence as being an effective form of treatment for a wide range of ailments, disorders, and health conditions. This latest research adds to ongoing bodies of research indicating the CBD may help treat or even lower the risk of both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, as well as common effects associated with them.
For example, one study published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine found that, by targeting certain types of glycine receptors, Cannabinoids can help suppress inflammatory and neuropathic pain. For diabetic patients, this could help with uncomfortable swollen hands and feet. Another study published in the American Journal of Pathology indicated that CBD may even help ward off diabetes.
Although the SFU researchers’ findings look promising, the research for using CBD treatment for cardiac arrhythmias is still limited. Clinical testing will need to be performed to learn more and understand how CBD affects diabetic patients and its effectiveness on arrhythmias in particular.