Open a PDF version to print this topic

HealthInfo Canterbury

Recreational drugs & diabetes

If you have diabetes and take drugs, you face extra health risks.

If you know about the risks, you can make the right choices and avoid dangerous situations.

Recreational drugs change how your body and brain work. They affect your body's ability to use glucose and insulin.

Recreational drugs also affect your ability to make good decisions, recognise low blood glucose levels and remember to take insulin and eat.

This means you're at a higher risk of high blood glucose levels, diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and hypos (low blood glucose levels).

Cannabis (marijuana)

Cannabis can cause long-term problems with your brain and can cause mental illnesses such as schizophrenia.

High doses can make you hallucinate, which means you can see things that aren't there or are distorted from reality. This can lead to you not managing your diabetes.

Cannabis can make you very hungry and you may eat more than normal, leading to high blood glucose levels.

Ecstasy, cocaine, BZP party pills, amphetamines, morphine and codeine

Use of these drugs can lead to high blood glucose levels, DKA, seizures and death.

Ecstasy can also make you anxious, paranoid, depressed, have problems sleeping and have memory problems.

Keeping safe when taking drugs

Getting help for drug problems

If you think you have a drug problem, contact one of the following services for help:

Written by Christchurch Diabetes Centre. Adapted by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Page created October 2021.

Page reference: 933005

Review key: HIDIA-21832