In vivo effects of Cannabis sativa L. extract on blood coagulation, fat and glucose metabolism in normal and streptozocin-induced diabetic rats

  • Ruby-Ann Levendal Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, PO Box 77000, Port Elizabeth, 6031, RSA
  • CL Frost


Cannabis sativa is used in indigenous medicine as a treatment for various ailments, including diabetes, and also as an early treatment for snake-bite. In diabetic patients, approximately eighty percent die from a thrombotic death and the development of atherosclerosis is accelerated. This study investigated the effects of Cannabis sativa on normal and streptozocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rats, with the aim of determining its effects on glucose and fat metabolism. The following metabolic changes were observed in Cannabis -treated rats: decreased growth rates (normal only), increased liver weights (diabetic only), decreased left rectus femorus muscle mass (normal only), increased total plasma cholesterol levels, increased plasma triglyceride levels (diabetic only), reduced hepatic and skeletal muscle glycogen content (only significant in diabetic hepatic tissue), reduced blood glucose levels (normal group, but not significant). Furthermore, there was a three-fold prolongation in the blood clotting time in the diabetic experimental group relative to the diabetic control group. A similar trend was observed between the control and experimental normal rats. The results indicate that Cannabis sativa increased energy utilization due to a reduction in energy reserves, and has an anticoagulatory effect. However, the mechanisms associated with these effects need to be further investigated.

Keywords: Cannabis sativa, streptozocin, diabetes mellitus, coagulation

African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines Vol. 3(4) 2006: 1-12

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eISSN: 0189-6016