Diabetes ...
‘could be beaten by cannabis pill’

Nelson Star file photo  / By Staff Writer – Nelson Star
Published: March 19, 2013 12:00 PM  -  Updated: March 19, 2013 12:39 PM

CANNABIS could hold the key to a revolutionary new pill which could transform the lives of millions of diabetes patients. Scientists have discovered that cannabis can regulate blood glucose levels.

Scientists have discovered that a powerful chemical component of the illegal drug can regulate blood glucose levels.The pill’s makers say the potential new treatment has shown “promising results” and could become a major new weapon in the fight against Type-2 diabetes.

A simple pill to tackle the condition will be welcomed by the millions already struck down by the illness. Although the condition can be turned if people adopt simple lifestyle changes to help them lose weight, a revolutionary new treatment could help the thousands of patients who do not respond to the commonly used drug, metformin.

Type-2 diabetes patients suffer from lack of insulin, the hormone which helps to control blood sugar levels. A pill to tackle the condition will be welcomed by the millions already struck down by the illness

While some can treat the Type-2 illness by making changes to diet, others have to take metformin. However, this drug can become ineffective in the long term for many patients. Usually, patients who do not respond to metformin alone are offered other drugs as well.

But these can lead to low blood sugar levels and weight gain putting patients at increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Now, drug maker GW Pharmaceuticals has reported results from a phase two study which has shown its cannabis-based drug, known as GWP42004, has potential as a new treatment for Type-2 diabetes.

The study looked at a number of significant outcomes of the treatment in patients with the condition and showed consistent evidence of anti-diabetic effects. Dr Garry Tan, consultant physician at NIHR Biomedical Research Centre in the Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology & Metabolism, and the study’s principal investigator, said: “The positive findings from this early stage exploratory study are very encouraging.

“If larger studies confirm these findings, GWP42004 would have the potential to  offer a treatment option within one of the largest therapeutic areas where there still exist serious unmet medical needs.”

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