Before he died, the Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe, wanted to try CBD. He suffered from diabetes. People went “Oh! Didn’t the silly sod know CBD doesn’t treat diabetes?” There is, however, some evidence of this.

The Yoskhire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe, suffered from diabetes and wanted to try CBD. Photo: Dewsbury Police Station

The Yoskhire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe, suffered from diabetes and wanted to try CBD. Photo: Dewsbury Police Station

What is diabetes?

About a tenth of people have diabetes. This is a condition where there’s too much glucose, ie sugar, in the blood. Our bodies regulate blood glucose with the hormone insulin. When you eat, your pancreas produces insulin, which unlocks certain cells that allow glucose from whatever you’ve consumed to enter cells and be used for energy later on.

Around 5% of people have type 1 diabetes, where their bodies produce little or no insulin, so glucose stays in the bloodstream, depriving cells of fuel and injuring blood vessels. The other 95% have type 2 diabetes, once known as adult-onset diabetes because it’s more prevalent in older adults, although it’s now increasingly seen in children and adolescents as poor diets and physical inactivity become more widespread. This form of diabetes arises when cells cease to respond to insulin – what’s called “insulin resistance” – so there’s too much glucose in circulation, which, among other things, boosts inflammation levels throughout the body. This is closely associated with being overweight.

Does CBD treat diabetes?

CBD has no discernable effect on blood sugar or insulin levels in people with type 2 diabetes. One example was a small study in 2016 that was published in the journal Diabetes Care, finding that CBD had minimal impact on good cholesterol levels and some other markers, including insulin sensitivity and appetite, on people with type 2 diabetes.

Just what CBD does to mice and rats

Most studies of the effects of CBD on diabetes used mice or rats. As usual, this is problematic because laboratory conditions, the differences between humans and other animals and other factors can influence the results of studies: just because CBD works on rodents is no guarantee it could treat diabetes in people.

In one study, CBD was tested on mice that had less blood flow to the brain, which is a symptom of diabetes in some people. It was discovered that CBD reduced hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and cholesterol while increasing insulin production.

There have been other studies of CBD with mice and rats that found it:

– lessens the chance of acquiring diabetes
– eases swelling and pain from nerve damage; these tend to affect the hands and feet of people struck by diabetes
– promotes “good fat” – it transforms white fat into brown fat, which can increase the ability of the body to make use of glucose and so lead to slimming

How else might CBD help?

– It’s well known that CBD reduces stress, which can worsen the symptoms of diabetes. This is because the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline cause the body to produce glucagon, raising blood sugar levels.
– CBD has been proven to treat insomnia, which as many as half of folk with type 2 diabetes suffer from.
– CBD reduces blood pressure, which people with diabetes are at higher risk of and can cause cardiovascular disease.

So using CBD to treat diabetes is a possibility. People who are overweight or have type 2 diabetes often have an excessively active endocannabinoid system, which regulates food intake and energy use. At the root of CBD’s multitude of therapeutic applications is the fact that it works on receptors in the endocannabinoid system.

So he might have murdered at least 13 wimmen, but the Yorkshire Ripper might have been right, on this occasion.

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