Cannabis (CBD) Cannabidiol Helps bone health and heals fractures… Research suggests.
Cannabis (CBD) Cannabidiol Helps bone health and heals fractures… Research suggests.
Marijuana has been a controversial treatment among medical professionals. Recently, a study published by The Journal of Bone and Mineral Research suggests that cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD), the chemical in marijuana, could strengthen the bone and help heal fractures. According to an online interview Yankel Gabet, the researcher of the study, CBD is effective in developing more mineralization in the bone tissue in the animal model. “CBD alone is sufficiently effective in enhancing fracture healing.” Another gradient in marijuana is tetrahydrocannabionol (THC), which causes the marijuana high. Adding THC does not affect the healing of the bones.
However, marijuana is still not widely accepted for medical use due to its concerning psychoactive effect. CBD extracts alone, on the other hand, is used as an experimental treatment for the Dravet syndrome, a rare form of child epilepsy. There has been encouraging literature on CBD in suppressing seizures, inhibiting cancer metastasis, and soothing chronic pain. However more robust clinical human trials are needed. We look forward to following more research into potential beneficial effects of CBD including bone related diseases like osteoarthritis and fractures.
Get on the path to comprehensive healing and long-term pain relief today.
Cannabidiol, a Major Non-Psychotropic Cannabis Constituent Enhances Fracture Healing and Stimulates Lysyl Hydroxylase Activity in Osteoblasts
Cannabinoid ligands regulate bone mass, but skeletal effects of cannabis (marijuana and hashish) have not been reported. Bone fractures are highly prevalent, involving prolonged immobilization and discomfort. Here we report that the major non-psychoactive cannabis constituent, cannabidiol (CBD), enhances the biomechanical properties of healing rat mid-femoral fractures. The maximal load and work-to-failure, but not the stiffness, of femurs from rats given a mixture of CBD and Δ(9) -tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) for 8 weeks were markedly increased by CBD. This effect is not shared by THC (the psychoactive component of cannabis), but THC potentiates the CBD stimulated work-to-failure at 6 weeks postfracture followed by attenuation of the CBD effect at 8 weeks. Using micro-computed tomography (μCT), the fracture callus size was transiently reduced by either CBD or THC 4 weeks after fracture but reached control level after 6 and 8 weeks. The callus material density was unaffected by CBD and/or THC. By contrast, CBD stimulated mRNA expression of Plod1 in primary osteoblast cultures, encoding an enzyme that catalyzes lysine hydroxylation, which is in turn involved in collagen crosslinking and stabilization. Using Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy we confirmed the increase in collagen crosslink ratio by CBD, which is likely to contribute to the improved biomechanical properties of the fracture callus. Taken together, these data show that CBD leads to improvement in fracture healing and demonstrate the critical mechanical role of collagen crosslinking enzymes.
Keywords: CANNABIDIOL; COLLAGEN CROSSLINKING; FRACTURE HEALING; FTIR; LYSYL HYDROXYLASE; μCT.
© 2015 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.
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Cannabis For Broken Bones?
I heard about a study showing that cannabis can help heal broken bones. is this true? Where might this treatment be available?
An Israeli study published in 2015 did find that a component of cannabis might help heal broken bones, but the treatment is not yet available. I discussed your question with Donald Abrams, M.D., an oncologist at the University of California, San Francisco Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, and an expert on medical cannabis.
Dr. Abrams says that cannabis might help decrease pain associated with a fracture, but at present, its role in accelerating bone healing is theoretical. He notes that the Israeli study was performed in rats with broken thighbones, not in people. We don’t yet know if the compound tested would be effective in treating human fractures.
Bone cells express receptors for cannabinoids, the active components of cannabis. The brain also has a high concentration of cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors. When these receptors bind with the main psychoactive cannabinoid in the plant (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol or THC), we experience the “high” associated with cannabis. Dr. Abrams adds that humans – and all animal species down to sponges – have cannabinoid receptors, not because we were meant to use cannabis, but because we make our own endogenous cannabinoids (endocannabinoids). These substances are involved in many physiologic functions, with modulation of pain being one of the most important. Another plant cannabinoid that has been getting a lot of scientific attention is cannabidiol (CBD). CBD is not psychoactive but has pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory activity. At this point, the only conditions for which CBD has been proved effective are two forms of childhood epilepsy. A CBD pharmaceutical product, Epidiolex, has been approved by the FDA for treating these disorders.
Dr. Abrams notes that researchers in Israel have been at the forefront of investigating the physiologic role of cannabinoid receptors and endocannabinoids in bone health. In their study, the Israeli investigators found that induced fractures of thigh bones in rats healed better when treated with CBD. The healed bone in the CBD-treated rats also appeared stiffer, meaning that it was likely stronger. Fractures treated with THC alone didn’t appear to be as strong as those in animals receiving CBD, and a mixture of CBD and THC proved no better than CBD alone. The investigators concluded that human trials of CBD for fracture healing should be conducted.
However, since CBD is derived from cannabis, the U.S. and many other governments regard it as off limits for clinical trials. In the U.S., cannabis is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance, meaning it has no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.
Based on animal studies and some preliminary human data, it appears that cannabinoids may boost the effectiveness of opioid painkillers, making it possible to reduce dosages of those drugs. Dr. Abrams suggests that if you break a bone and live in a state with legal access to medical cannabis, you could consider using a CBD-rich strain for pain relief. (Of course, you should also follow conventional treatment recommendations.)
Yankel Gabet et al, “Canabidiol, a Major Non-Psychotropic Cannabis Constituent Enhances Fracture Healing and Stimulates Lysl Hydroxylase Activity in Osteoblasts.” Journal of Bone Mineral Research, March 19, 2015 doi: 10.1002/jbmr.2513