Metabolic syndrome is a collection of several conditions that occur together and can substantially increase one’s risk for heart disease and other serious health issues. There are five conditions which are considered ‘metabolic risk factors’; if one is experiencing three or more of those factors concurrently, they’re considered to have metabolic syndrome. With one of those factors being abdominal obesity, the commonality of this syndrome has seen an increase along with the obesity epidemic.


But, a recent revelation may offer aid for those suffering from the syndrome. A study by Australian researchers has concluded “data suggests that [cannabis] may have a cardiometabolic protective effect.” This could be an essential addition to the collection of already-known lifestyle changes that have proved to slow the progression of risk factors.


Metabolic Syndrome occurs if you have been diagnosed with at least three of the following: high blood sugar, increased blood pressure, low HDL cholesterol, high triglycerides, or abdominal obesity. There are few symptoms—the only visible indication is the pear- or apple-shaped mid section that’s common in obese persons.  Sufferers are at an increased risk of suffering heart disease, stroke, or diabetes if diagnosed with metabolic syndrome. According to different national health surveys, 25 to 30 percent of the total U.S. population is currently dealing with the syndrome.


Though scientists are still trying to identify all the factors that can increase one’s chances of acquiring metabolic syndrome, it’s currently thought that it’s genetically driven—but is also influenced by diet and lifestyle. “Heart-healthy eating” is one lifestyle modification that includes limiting bad fat and dairy from your diet while increasing consumption of omega-3 and whole grains, among many other things. Elimination of tobacco and alcohol has also been linked to slowing the progression of the syndrome.


So where does cannabis fit in to all this?


It’s still not completely clear, due to limited funds and research, but there’s clearly much to investigate in regard to the plant’s mitigation of effects.  The study from the Aussie researchers showed that 63 percent of non-cannabis users in their sample had metabolic syndrome, compared to only 43.5 percent of “frequent smokers.”


This gives further credence to a 2015 study from the University of Miami that found cannabis consumers were 50 percent less likely to be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome as compared to those who do not. That study found that blood sugar levels in particular were much lower among current cannabis users compared to those who hadn’t used before. This could be a result of cannabidol (CBD) which has been thought to “neutralize the body’s overreaction to blood sugar imbalances.”

 

Also, high-THCV cannabis could serve as a potential aid to sufferers—the cannabinoid has been found to possess appetite-suppressing properties that could help manage obesity. According to medicaljane.com, it’s believed THCV “blocks the rewarding sensation we experience when eating, often unhealthy, comfort foods.” This is in stark contrast to the oft-associated concept of “the munchies” which has crept its way into pop culture over the years.

 

With the possible descheduling of cannabis on the horizon, our understanding of cannabis’ effects on metabolic syndrome should continue to improve. Many growers have already begun focusing their efforts on producing high-CBD and/or high-THCV cannabis; the prevalence of these so-called specialty strains continue to grow every day.


Be sure to schedule a private consultation with any of our knowledgeable consultants to further discuss how THCV- or CBD-rich medicine can be of benefit!

 

Be well!