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More and more people are using cannabidiol (CBD) to help with different conditions, like anxiety, chronic pain, and insomnia. There’s even a Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved CBD product available for people with a rare form of epilepsy.

Some people also use CBD to relieve diabetes symptoms. While CBD shows promise in this area, the research is still limited.

Below, we’ll look at how CBD oil may help with diabetes and how to choose an oil for your needs.

CBD is a cannabinoid, or chemical from the cannabis plant. By binding with receptors in the brain, cannabinoids can produce certain effects.

Don’t expect to feel “high” when taking CBD, though. Broad-spectrum and CBD isolate products do not contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), or the chemical found in cannabis that’s responsible for the “high” sensation. Full-spectrum CBD products may contain trace amounts of THC, but it’s likely not enough to produce a “high.”

Types of CBD

There are three main types of CBD:

Entourage effect

Some research suggests that full-spectrum CBD may be the most effective because of the entourage effect. But not everyone wants to ingest THC — even in minute amounts.

You may wish to avoid THC-containing products, including full-spectrum CBD, if you undergo drug testing, as even trace amounts in a CBD product may cause a positive drug test.

Ongoing research is currently attempting to answer whether CBD can be beneficial for people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Research into CBD for diabetes prevention and symptom relief has netted mixed results.

Prevention

No clinical trials have tested whether taking CBD can prevent diabetes in humans. But a 2006 study conducted on mice found that consuming CBD lowered the incidence of diabetes in non-obese diabetic mice, compared with a control group.

Inflammation

There’s been a lot of research into CBD’s anti-inflammatory effects. One 2007 study on inflammation caused by high glucose levels suggests that CBD may positively affect markers of inflammation and may help limit diabetes-related damage to blood vessel walls.

Neuropathy

Many people also take CBD oil for pain relief. But does it work for diabetes-related pain like neuropathy? According to a 2017 animal study, CBD effectively reduced nerve pain and inflammation in rats with osteoarthritis.

Other uses

While some of these findings are promising, research into CBD for diabetes is still in the early stages. There’s still no conclusive evidence that taking CBD can positively affect HDL cholesterol levels or insulin sensitivity, in people with type 2 diabetes.

Additionally, no studies point to CBD use as an effective method for reducing blood sugar levels.

Currently, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) is adamant that people should not use CBD to treat diabetes. The ADA cautions that not enough research has been done to look at the potential side effects of CBD in people with diabetes.

That said, if you have diabetes and want to try CBD oil, be sure to talk with your doctor first. It’s also important to be sure the oil you take is high quality.

We chose these products based on criteria we think are good indicators of safety, quality, and transparency. Each product in this article:

  • is made by a company that provides proof of third-party testing by an ISO 17025-compliant lab
  • is made with U.S.-grown hemp
  • contains no more than 0.3 percent THC, according to the certificate of analysis (COA)
  • passes tests for pesticides, heavy metals, and molds, according to the COA

We also considered:

  • company certifications and manufacturing processes
  • product potency
  • overall ingredients
  • indicators of user trust and brand reputation, such as:
    • customer reviews
    • whether the company has been subject to an FDA warning letter
    • whether the company makes any unsupported health claims

Bear in mind that nothing makes one CBD oil better than another for diabetes. Instead, we focused on choosing high quality oils. We also made sure to select products with no added sugar.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $35
  • $$ = $35–$75
  • $$$ = over $75

Brown Girl Jane Balance Drops

  • Price: $$
  • CBD type: broad-spectrum
  • CBD potency: 750 milligrams (mg) CBD per 30-milliliter (mL) bottle
  • COA: available online
  • Best for: people who want to avoid THC but still get some benefits of the entourage effect

Brown Girl Jane is a Black- and female-owned and -founded company that sells THC-free CBD products. The broad-spectrum CBD tincture gets its scent and flavor from organic orange essential oil. It’s also vegan and cruelty-free.

Use code “healthline10” for $10 off

CBDistillery CBD Sleep + CBN Oil

  • Price: $$
  • CBD type: full-spectrum
  • CBD potency: 450 mg CBD per 30-mL bottle
  • COA: available on the product page and by scanning QR code on the product label
  • Best for: people who want to use CBD for sleep

This oil from CBDistillery is a good choice if you’re also experiencing sleep issues, as it contains 150 mg of cannabinol (CBN) oil per 30-mL bottle. CBN is another extract from the cannabis plant that doesn’t make you feel “high.”

There’s little research on CBN’s ability to lull people to sleep, but anecdotally, people say it helps them sleep. In addition to using non-GMO industrial hemp, CBDistillery is also U.S. Hemp Authority certified.

Use code “healthline” for 15% off

PlusCBD Drops, Peppermint

  • Price: $–$$
  • CBD type: full-spectrum
  • CBD potency: 250 mg per 1-ounce (oz.) or 750 mg per 1.86-oz. bottle
  • COA: available online
  • Best for: people who want a sweetened, sugar-free oil

These peppermint-flavored CBD oil drops are great for people looking to limit their sugar intake. Instead of being sweetened with sugar, the oil is sweetened using monk fruit.

PlusCBD also offers discounts for people who sign up for autoship.

Use code “healthline25” for 25% off

Joy Organics CBD Oil, Summer Lemon

  • Price: $$–$$$
  • CBD type: broad-spectrum
  • CBD potency: 450 mg, 900 mg, or 1,350 mg per 30-mL bottle
  • COA: available on product page
  • Best for: people looking for an organic CBD oil or a flavored but unsweetened oil

This Joy Organics CBD Oil is flavored with organic lemon essential oil but contains no sweeteners, making it suitable for people looking to avoid sugar.

Joy Organics offers free carbon-neutral shipping and a 30-day money-back guarantee on their products. Additionally, the company uses certified organic U.S.-grown hemp to make their products.

Use code “healthcbd” for 15% off

Medterra CBD Oil

  • Price: $–$$
  • CBD type: isolate
  • CBD potency: 500, 1,000, or 3,000 mg per 30-mL bottle
  • COA: available on product page
  • Best for: people who want CBD only with no other cannabinoids

Because Medterra’s CBD tincture contains CBD isolate, it’s ideal for those who want to avoid THC, and other cannabis plant extracts altogether. The unflavored CBD tincture is one of Medterra’s most popular products.

Medterra sources hemp from U.S. farms that are part of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture Industrial Hemp Pilot Program. The company is also certified by the U.S. Hemp Authority.

Papa & Barkley Hemp Releaf Drops, Lemongrass Ginger

  • Price: $–$$
  • CBD type: full-spectrum
  • CBD potency: 450 mg per 15-mL bottle or 900 mg per 30-mL bottle
  • COA: available on product page
  • Best for: people new to CBD

Curious about CBD, but not sure it’s for you? These Hemp Releaf Drops from Papa & Barkley come in a small 15-mL option so you can try them out without worrying about waste.

The lemongrass ginger flavor also contains lemongrass. According to a 2007 study in rats, lemongrass may help reduce blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes.

Lazarus Naturals Flavorless High Potency CBD Tincture

  • Price: $–$$
  • CBD type: isolate
  • CBD potency: 750 mg per 15-mL bottle or 3,000 mg per 60-mL bottle
  • COA: available on product page
  • Best for: people who want an unflavored oil or a high potency oil

If you’re picky about flavors, this unflavored oil from Lazarus Naturals is a solid option.

Although the company uses an ethanol-based extraction method to produce their CBD isolate product, which can leave behind solvents, they also use third-party testing to check for residual solvents and other potential contaminants.

Lord Jones Royal Oil

  • Price: $$$
  • CBD type: broad-spectrum
  • CBD potency: 1,000 mg per 30-mL bottle
  • COA: available online with batch number
  • Best for: people who want an oil they can use both topically and orally

The Lord Jones Royal Oil is one of the only CBD oil products that you can apply both directly to the skin and under the tongue.

Besides broad-spectrum CBD, the only other ingredient is grapeseed oil. Of note is that it has a distinct cannabis smell because it contains no added flavorings.

Bluebird Botanicals Signature CBD Oil

  • Price: $–$$
  • CBD type: full-spectrum
  • CBD potency: 250 mg per 30-mL bottle or 500 mg per 60-mL bottle
  • COA: available online
  • Best for: people who want a low dose oil

This low dose oil is perfect for people who prefer a less potent CBD product.

Unlike the other products on our list, Bluebird Botanicals’ signature oil is made using Canadian hemp.

The product also contains black cumin seed oil, which has shown promising results as a potential treatment for diabetes.

Additionally, Bluebird Botanicals also has an assistance program for people with low incomes, veterans, and people on long-term disability.

Vena Full Spectrum CBD Drops

  • Price: $$–$$$
  • CBD type: full-spectrum
  • CBD potency: 1,500 mg or 3,000 mg per 30-mL bottle
  • COA: available on product page
  • Best for: people who want all the benefits of the entourage effect

Because this CBD product contains full-spectrum CBD, you’ll get all the benefits of the entourage effect. The potent CBD oil is mint flavored and offers up 100 mg of CBD per dropper serving.

Vena offers a 30-day money-back guarantee when you buy their products.

Here’s what to consider when shopping for CBD oil and how to pick a quality product.

Third-party testing

A reputable company will provide easy-to-find third-party testing results in the form of a COA. Third-party testing should reveal the product’s potency and any contaminants. Basically, this testing lets you know if product contains anything nasty and ensures that its contents match what’s on the label.

Labels and terminology

A quality product will have clear labeling. Be wary of products that claim to contain CBD but don’t. Products labeled as hempseed oil or containing hemp seed aren’t the same as CBD.

Additionally, stay away from companies that include sweeping promises on their product labeling.

What should you look for to identify a genuine CBD product? Look for terms like CBD, cannabidiol, or hemp extract.

Ingredients

If you have diabetes, it’s essential to carefully read CBD product labels and check for ingredients that may signal they contain sugar or other sweeteners. If in doubt, contact the company and ask questions.

The majority of CBD oils are to be taken sublingually, meaning under the tongue. You can also add CBD oil to drinks or food.

Like the Lord Jones oil listed above, some CBD oils can also be used directly on the skin. However, don’t use CBD oil topically unless the directions say to do so.

Start low and slow with CBD. Even though most people don’t experience major side effects, you never know how it will affect you. Read our CBD dosing guide for more information on how to dose CBD.

CBD taken sublingually or orally takes about 15 to 45 minutes to kick in. However, the time it takes to feel the effects depends greatly on the individual.

While CBD is generally considered safe, some side effects may occur. According to the ADA, some side effects may be more likely to affect people with diabetes, including:

  • suppression of an immune system response
  • increased eye pressure, which can worsen glaucoma
  • increase blood levels of some medications, including blood thinners

Other potential side effects may include:

  • fatigue
  • diarrhea
  • changes in appetite
  • weight gain or loss

Be sure to talk with your doctor before taking CBD, as CBD can interact with some medications.

CBD is not and should not be used as a substitute for any diabetes treatment recommended by your doctor.

If you’re curious about CBD and its potential to prevent diabetes, there’s likely little harm in trying it out.

However, if you currently have type 1 or type 2 diabetes and want to try CBD, talk with your doctor first.

While CBD shows some promise in helping with certain diabetes symptoms, there’s not enough research to say for sure how CBD affects people with diabetes.

Is CBD Legal? Hemp-derived CBD products (with less than 0.3 percent THC) are legal on the federal level, but are still illegal under some state laws. Marijuana-derived CBD products are illegal on the federal level, but are legal under some state laws. Check your state’s laws and those of anywhere you travel. Keep in mind that nonprescription CBD products are not FDA-approved, and may be inaccurately labeled.

Steph Coelho is a freelance writer with chronic migraine who has a particular interest in health and wellness. When she’s not click-clacking away on her keyboard, she’s probably nose-deep in a good book.