Oxidative stress and inflammation play a critical role in the development of diabetes and its complications. Recent studies provided compelling evidence that the newly discovered lipid signaling system (ie, the endocannabinoid system) may significantly influence reactive oxygen species production, inflammation, and subsequent tissue injury. This in addition to its well-known metabolic effects and functions. The modulation of the activity of this system holds immense therapeutic potential in a wide range of diseases, including diabetes.
This review focuses on the role of the endocannabinoid system in primary diabetes. It also looks at its effects on various diabetic complications. Those are diabetic cardiovascular dysfunction, nephropathy, retinopathy, and neuropathy. Thereby particularly highlighting the mechanisms beyond the metabolic consequences of the activation of the endocannabinoid system. The therapeutic potential of targeting the endocannabinoid system with certain plant-derived cannabinoids, such as Cannabidiol (CBD) and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabivarin. Those are devoid of psychotropic effects and possess potent anti-inflammatory, as well as antioxidant properties. Their use in diabetes and diabetic complications is also discussed.
Reference: The US National Library of Medicine 2012 – Authors: Béla Horváth, Partha Mukhopadhyay, György Haskó, and Pál Pacher