New research suggests that people who use marijuana may be more likely to develop prediabetes than those who have never smoked the substance.
A paper published in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes) assesses a sample of 3,000 people across the United States.
And the findings of the study were that adults currently using marijuana work 65 per cent more likely to suffer from the form of poor sugar control that can lead to Type II diabetes.
Those involved in the study who no longer smoked cannabis, but had used it 100 times or more in their lifetime, also have a significantly higher chance of developing their condition.
This was found to be around 50 per cent greater than those who have never consumed marijuana in any form.
The study ultimately found that “marijuana use was associated with the development and prevalence of prediabetes after adjustment. Specifically, occurrence of prediabetes in middle adulthood was significantly elevated for individuals who reported using marijuana in excess of 100 times by young adulthood.”
However, although there was a high incidence of prediabetes indicated by the study, the research failed to establish a direct link between Type 2 diabetes and marijuana usage.
The authors, led by the University of Minnesota School of Public Health’s Mike Bancks, said: “It is unclear how marijuana use could place an individual at increased risk for prediabetes yet not diabetes.”
Thus, some confusion still reigns over the result of the study.
Data was gleaned from a group of more than 3,000 US citizens, all of whom are collectively participating in a study called the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults.
Each of these individuals were aged between 18 and 30 when they were recruited in 1985-86, and have now been participating for 30 years straight.
The percentage of those reporting use of marijuana among the group has declined significantly over the decades in which they have been involved in this huge piece of research.
Although there seems to be little understanding regarding how marijuana could be linked with prediabetes and not tied to diabetes, authors of the paper did at least suggest some possible reasons for this.
The paper proposes that the lack of a link to type 2 diabetes could be because individuals excluded from the study had higher levels of marijuana use and greater potential for development of diabetes.
Additionally, it is possible that marijuana usage may have a larger affect on blood-sugar control in the prediabetic range than for full, type 2 diabetes.
3.2 million UK adults have been diagnosed as being diabetic, with this figure expected to increase to 5 million by 2025.
But Europe’s EMCDDA drug agency suggested in its annual report on drug use in the continent, published in June 2015, that cannabis use among 15 to 34 year olds has halved in the UK over the last 15 years.
It is thought that this could be due to smoking-related legislation.