Marijuana and T1D

Contributor
Anonymous CDN Student

Editor's note: Always know the laws of your state/jurisdiction before using marijuana. CDN does not condone the illegal use of any substance. This blog is not intended to replace, change, or modify anything your doctor tells you. Consult with your doctor with any questions you may have. This is the first blog in a series about marijuana and T1D, so check back for more blogs later!

There is little research about marijuana, let alone much research about marijuana and its impact on T1D. One study found that marijuana may be associated with lower fasting insulin levels and smaller waist circumferences (Penner, Buettner, & Mittleman, 2013). Though, with such little research done, we cannot be confident with the accuracy of the results we are shown. If you’re wondering how to handle diabetes and marijuana, I can offer some advice from my personal experience as a person with T1D. Remember, everyone is going to react to marijuana differently, with or without diabetes, and my advice is coming purely from my experiences.

Have supplies easily reachable. It’s easy to get lazy when high (from marijuana in this case, but also blood sugars), so having your meter, insulin, and low snacks in reach makes life easier.

Make sure pump/pump sites, CGM’s are in working order.  There’s nothing worse than being high and having to navigate a site change, I find it best to make sure my pump/CGM are OK before smoking.

Remember to bolus for the munchies AND edibles.  The munchies are unavoidable – so make sure to remember to bolus for all the snacks. Some ways of combating high blood sugars from munchies are having lower-carb snacks ready or at least snacking on foods that are easy to carb count for.  Lastly, don’t forget to bolus for edibles and be cautious around home-made ones, as they are usually hard to carb count for.

Be aware of altered perceptions. Being high may alter your ability to tell if your blood sugars are high or low, so be aware that your perception may be inaccurate.

If you’re with friends, it’s always a good idea to make sure they know you have diabetes in case something happens. Of course, we can take care of ourselves and our diabetes – but better safe than sorry.  All of my friends know I have T1D and for me it is a comforting safety net. 

Know what you’re consuming. Where did the marijuana come from? Was it a reputable dealer or dispensary? We’ve all heard the stories about people who have had horrible experiences with marijuana because they had something that was laced with another drug. While you may know the effect of marijuana on your blood sugars, you might not know the effects of other drugs on your blood sugars.  A good way to make sure you are getting a reliable product is to buy from someone a friend can refer you to.

Keep in mind that marijuana affects everyone differently, and while I find it does not impact my blood sugars alone (the munchies do, though) there have been other reports from T1Ds that marijuana does impact their blood sugars. The best thing to do is to experiment slowly, with people you trust and it’s not a bad idea to talk to your endo about it.

References

Penner, E. A., Buettner, H., & Mittleman, M. A. (2013). The Impact of Marijuana Use on Glucose, Insulin, and Insulin Resistance among US Adults.The American Journal of Medicine, 583-589.