Marijuana May Increase Risk of Pre-Diabetes

Mike Bancks, MPH NHLBI Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology & Prevention Pre-doctoral Fellow University of Minnesota School of Public Interview with:
Mike Bancks, MPH

NHLBI Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology & Prevention Pre-doctoral Fellow
University of Minnesota School of Public Health
[email protected]

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We chose to research this topic because marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States and use can be expected to increase as the effort to legalize marijuana for recreational and medicinal use grows. We found that individuals who reported using marijuana in excess of 100 times during young adulthood had 40% greater risk for developing prediabetes by middle adulthood. However, we did not find an association between marijuana use and overt diabetes during this same period in adulthood, suggesting that marijuana use may be a risk factor for the early stage of diabetes.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: This is of public health interest as marijuana use is common and may be contributing to the development of prediabetes, a major risk factor for future diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Individuals who choose to use marijuana should be informed of the possibility that marijuana use may increase their risk for developing prediabetes, which may be reversible.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: There are many questions regarding the health effects of marijuana use that need to be addressed. In regard to metabolic health effects, this is the first prospective study of marijuana use and the development of prediabetes and diabetes and the results should be confirmed in other study populations and age groups. Future research should also look to objectively measure both the method in which marijuana is used (e.g., smoking or combustion, vaporizing, and eating or ingestion) and the quantity used.



Bancks MP, et al “Marijuana use and risk of prediabetes and diabetes by middle adulthood: the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study” Diabetologia 2015; DOI: 10.10.1007/s00125-015-3740-3.

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Last Updated on September 14, 2015 by Marie Benz MD FAAD