Association between cannabis use and risk for diabetic ketoacidosis in adults with type 1 diabetes

While some evidence suggests that cannabis use may improve insulin sensitivity and pancreatic function in patients with type 1 diabetes, there also have been reports that it may be linked to diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).

While some evidence suggests that cannabis use may improve insulin sensitivity and pancreatic function in patients with type 1 diabetes, there also have been reports that it may be linked to diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). To investigate this possible association, researchers with the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and the Mayo Clinic queried 450 adults with type 1 diabetes about their demographic traits, diabetes history and complications, severe hypoglycemia requiring assistance, and cannabis use. Nearly 30%, or 134 patients, said they had used cannabis. A relationship was observed between cannabis use during the prior year and elevated DKA risk compared with nonusers, which investigators suspect may be explained by the fact that cannabinoids alter gut motility and cause hyperemesis. Hemoglobin A1c levels also trended higher among cannabis users, but severe hypoglycemia was comparable between the two sets of patients. Because of the study's small scale, self-reported data, and other limitations, further research is needed to confirm the findings.