Marijuana users are more likely to have prediabetes – the state of poor blood sugar control that can progress to Type-2 diabetes – than those who have never used the drug, new research has found.
The findings suggest that marijuana use may adversely affect a person’s metabolic health in the long term.
“Marijuana use was associated with the development and prevalence of prediabetes,” said the study led by Mike Bancks from University of Minnesota School of Public Health in Minneapolis, US.
To determine marijuana use and presence of prediabetes and diabetes, the researchers used data from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study that began in 1985-1986 with over 5,000 individuals aged 18-30 years.
The participants are now in their 30th year of observation.
The percentage of individuals who self-reported current use of marijuana declined over follow-up, from 28 percent in 1985-1986 to 12 percent in 2010-2011.
After adjustment for behavioural/lifestyle and physiological characteristics, there was a 65 percent increased odds of currently having prediabetes in individuals who reported current use of marijuana than those who reported never using marijuana.
“It is unclear how marijuana use could place an individual at increased risk for prediabetes yet not diabetes,” the authors said.
But they suggest that it could be because individuals excluded from the study generally had higher levels of marijuana use and greater potential for development of diabetes.
Another explanation could be that marijuana may have a greater effect on blood sugar control in the prediabetic range than for full blown Type-2 diabetes, when other traditional diabetes risk factor levels are exceedingly less favourable, the study said.
The research was published in the journal Diabetologia.
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