According to a new study, cannabidiol, or CBD, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis, might boost the healing of bone fractures. It does this by stimulating the formation of new bone tissue. Given the spreading momentum of legalization across the United States, and widespread marijuana delivery, researchers are now discovering the many therapeutic uses of this decades-long prohibited plant.
What Prior Studies Say
Previous studies have some mixed findings. A review of 79 different clinical trials, all randomized, investigated the effectiveness of the plant’s active compounds, called cannabinoids. According to Medical News Today, it found little evidence to support the use of marijuana therapeutically. Despite this, new research teams continued to study its effects on various medical conditions.
Now, many studies prove the effectiveness of cannabinoid therapy. Support for its use is strong and growing. Other research finds success in isolating the psychoactive effects of cannabis from its intended medical purposes. It works by extracting specific cannabinoids, which work well with the body’s own endocannabinoid receptors. Turns out, cannabinoids activate our own receptors to function better.
Effect of Cannabis on Bone Growth
A team of researchers from Israel’s Tel Aviv University and Hebrew University found cannabinoids capable of regulating the skeleton. Furthermore, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, they proved endocannabinoid receptors stimulating bone formation within the body, ultimately inhibiting bone loss. This suggests cannabinoids might help treat bone-related conditions, such as osteoporosis.
Dr. Yankel Gabet of the Bone Research Laboratory at Tel Aviv University’s Department of Anatomy and Anthropology explains, “The clinical potential of cannabinoid-related compounds is simply undeniable at this point. While there is still a lot of work to be done to develop appropriate therapies, it is clear that it is possible to detach a clinical therapy objective from the psychoactivity of cannabis.”
CBD, the principal agent in our study, is primarily anti-inflammatory and has no psychoactivity” – Dr. Yankel Gabet
Bone-Healing Properties of Cannabis
How exactly does CBD help to heal bones? What did the study find? Anandamide, one of your body’s naturally occurring neurotransmitters, activates when cannabinoid receptors tell it to. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, acts much the same way that anandamide does, and it binds with cannabinoid receptors. In the brain, it affects coordination, short-term memory, problem solving, and learning.
However, cannabinoids have a different effect on the skeleton. According to the study, published in the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, Dr. Gabet and his team analyzed the effect of CBD on mid-femoral fractures in rats. One group received a CBD injection, while another received both THC and CBD. The team found CBD enhanced healing of the fractures on its own, and in just eight weeks.
Dr. Gabet explained the results this way, “We found that CBD alone makes bones stronger during healing, enhancing the maturation of the collagenous matrix, which provides the basis for new mineralization of bone tissue. After being treated with CBD, the healed bone will be harder to break in the future.” Not only does it seem to heal broken bones, but CBD appears to strengthen them too.
This study stands alone for now. More research is imperative, and urgent. Fortunately, with legalization comes fewer limits on using marijuana for study purposes, so further, more detailed analysis is underway. Since science already proves CBD safe, Dr. Gabet proposes that researchers “continue this line of study in clinical trials to assess its usefulness in improving human fracture healing.”
Despite worries that legalizing cannabis medically would encourage more people to use weed recreationally, this claim is proving both untrue anecdotally and in studies of adolescents. The ability of cannabis to stimulate bone formation and aid in the healing of fractures is extremely promising. Fortunately, marijuana delivery is available in Santa Barbara and worth trying if you ever break a bone.