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November 7, 2000

Research: Causes and Prevention

Question from Phoenix Arizona, USA:

A recent incident has gotten my attention. Basically, two healthy young men with no family history of diabetes and no other discernable risk factors (such as obesity or being overly sedentary) have been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in their twenties. One of them is an Olympic swimmer who requires eight shots of insulin a day. The other is a friend of mine who was also diagnosed in his twenties. I know both of the families and can attest to the fact that there is no family history. In fact, the two men have only one thing in common: both were moderate users of marijuana. Could there be a link between marijuana usage and damage to the pancreas? Has anyone studied this?

Answer:

Marijuana raises blood sugars in some earlier studies, but not to large extent. However, no information that I am aware of that shows any association of marijuana use/abuse with type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.

SB