Cannabis tied to serious complications in type 1 diabetes

(Reuters Health) – People with type 1 diabetes may be more than twice as likely to develop potentially fatal complications when they use cannabis somewhat regularly than when they avoid the drug or rarely indulge, a study suggests.

Researchers surveyed 932 adults with type 1 diabetes about alcohol, smoking and substance use. They assigned each person a cannabis use score ranging from 0 for no use at all to 33 for the highest exposure to the drug.

Most participants – 871 – had little or no risk from cannabis exposure, with cannabis use scores of 0 to 3. Another 61 people were considered to have moderate risk from cannabis exposure, with cannabis use scores of 4 to 26.

Compared to low-risk individuals, people with moderate risk were 2.5 times more likely to experience ketoacidosis, a serious complication of diabetes that develops when blood sugar is elevated for too long and the body produces high levels of acids known as ketones. Left untreated, ketoacidosis can lead to severe dehydration, swelling in the brain, coma and death.

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