Study Summary: CBD & THCV for Type 2 Diabetes

Updated: Mar 20

A 2016 study entitled "Efficacy and Safety of Cannabidiol and Tetrahydrocannabivarin on Glycemic and Lipid Parameters in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Parallel Group Pilot Study" that was published in the journal Diabetes Care investigated the potential benefits of the cannabinoids CBD and THCV for Type 2 Diabetes.


Type 2 Diabetes Defined

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), diabetes is a disease that affects nearly 40 million Americans, 90-95 percent of whom have the Type 2 variety. The condition is most commonly diagnosed in those 45 or older, but is becoming more common in all age groups, including children and teens.


"If you have type 2 diabetes, cells don't respond normally to insulin; this is called insulin resistance. Your pancreas makes more insulin to try to get cells to respond. Eventually your pancreas can't keep up, and your blood sugar rises, setting the stage for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes."

According to the CDC: "If you have type 2 diabetes, cells don't respond normally to insulin; this is called insulin resistance. Your pancreas makes more insulin to try to get cells to respond. Eventually your pancreas can't keep up and your blood sugar rises, setting the stage for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. High blood sugar is damaging to the body and can cause other serious health problems, such as heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease."


As indicated by its title, this study involved human subjects in a double-blind placebo-controlled data gathering environment. This means that neither the test subjects nor the scientists coordinating the study were aware of which subjects were receiving the actual agents of action under investigation (CBD and THCV) and which were receiving a placebo.

The THCV molecule


The study involved 62 subjects with "noninsulin-treated type 2 diabetes" who were randomized to five treatment arms, or subgroups, as listed below. The study lasted for 13 weeks.

  • CBD (100 mg twice daily)

  • THCV (5 mg twice daily)

  • 1:1 ratio of CBD and THCV (5 mg/5 mg twice daily)

  • 20:1 ratio of CBD and THCV (100 mg/5 mg twice daily)

  • Matched placebo


As indicated by its title, this study involved human subjects in a double-blind placebo-controlled data gathering environment. This means that neither the test subjects nor the scientists coordinating the study were aware of which subjects were receiving the actual agents of action (CBD and THCV) and which were receiving a placebo.

The Results

The scientists reported that the patients receiving CBD and THCV, in the various ratios described above, experienced "a change in HDL-cholesterol concentrations from baseline."

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The study's authors described secondary benefits to the type 2 diabetes patients that included "changes in insulin sensitivity, body weight, liver triglyceride content, adipose [fat] tissue distribution, appetite, markers of inflammation, markers of vascular function, gut hormones, circulating endocannabinoids, and adipokine concentrations."


Of note is the fact that this study noted changes in endocannabinoids (primarily anandamide and 2-AG) resulting from the ongoing consumption of hemp- or cannabis-derived phytocannabinoids such as CBD and THCV.

Of note is the fact that this study noted changes in endocannabinoids (primarily anandamide and 2-AG) resulting from the ongoing consumption of hemp- or cannabis-derived phytocannabinoids such as CBD and THCV.


The study noted that, compared to the placebo, "THCV significantly decreased fasting plasma glucose and improved pancreatic β-cell function...although plasma HDL was unaffected." It also reported on the safety profile of CBD and THCV, summarizing that both cannabinoids were "well tolerated" by patients.

The study's authors concluded that THCV could represent "a new therapeutic agent in glycemic control in subjects with type 2 diabetes."


Visit the original study.


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