The following information is presented for educational purposes only.
Medical Marijuana Inc. provides this information to provide an understanding
of the potential applications of cannabidiol. Links to third party websites
do not constitute an endorsement of these organizations by Medical Marijuana
Inc. and none should be inferred.
Overview of Bone Health
Bones are continuously changing as the body breaks down old bone and makes
new bone. While in young years, the body makes bone faster than it breaks it
down and thus causes bone mass to increase, after the age of 30, the body
breaks down slightly bone at a slightly higher rate than it builds new bone.
This remodeling process occurs through bone cells, which are called
osteoblasts. Osteoplasts are responsible for the formation of bone and bone
While there are many kinds of bone diseases, the most common is
osteoporosis, which is when the bones become weaker as a result of breaking
down bone faster than it puts new bone in its place. When bones are weaker,
they’re more susceptible to breaking. Osteoporosis can make bones so brittle
and weak that even mild-intensity activities like coughing and bending over
can be stressful enough to cause a fracture.
Besides age, there are other risk factors than affect bone density.
According to Mayo Clinic, these other factors include the amount of calcium
in the diet, physical activity, tobacco and alcohol use, gender, body size,
race and family history, hormone levels, the presence of eating disorders
and the consumption of certain medications. Because of the hormonal changes
that occur during menopause, older women are overall more susceptible to
Findings: Effects of Cannabis on Bone Health
Research has shown that cannabis can help boost bone density, thus
strengthening bone tissue and lowering the risk of osteoporosis. Within
osteoblasts of bones are CB2 receptors, which are responsible for handling
the growing of bone tissue—both the stimulation of building new bone and the
inhibition of old bone breakdown. The cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol
(THC), found in marijuana, has been shown to be able to activate the CB2
receptor, in turn stimulating bone formation and inhibiting bone breakdown (Bab,
Zimmer & Melamed, 2009). Even low concentrates of cannabinoids have been
shown to be effective at activating human osteoclasts, thus boosting bone
density and offering therapeutic benefits to bone disease (Whyte, et al.,
2012). This suggests that those with higher risk factors of experiencing
bone weakness or those already diagnosed with osteoporosis could benefit
from regular cannabis treatment.
Researchers have also found that another cannabinoid found in cannabis,
cannabidiol (CBD), has the capability of significantly improving the healing
process of bones. In a 2015 study, the rats with broken leg bones that were
treated with CBD for eight weeks were found to have significantly stronger
healed legs than the rats that were not treated with CBD (Kogan, et al.,
2015). The CBD was able to enhance the maturation of collagen, the protein
in the bone’s connective tissue that holds the bone together. While research
is currently limited in this area, this recent discovery demonstrates that
cannabis could potentially offer additional bone health benefits.
States That Have Approved Medical Marijuana for Bone Health
While Washington DC and 23 states currently have adopted type of medical
marijuana legislation, no states have specifically approved medical
marijuana for bone health. However, some states do consider other conditions
and may approve cannabis for bone health treatments on a case-by-case basis.
These states include: California (any
debilitating disease where medical marijuana recommended by physician), Connecticut (other
medical conditions may be approved by the Department of Consumer
Protection), Massachusetts (other
conditions as determined in writing by physician), and Nevada, Oregon and Rhode
Island (other conditions
subject to approval). In addition, Washington DC allows medical marijuana to
be used for any debilitating condition as recommended by DC licensed doctor.
Recent Studies on Cannabis’ effect on Bone Health
Cannabidiol, a Major Non-Psychotropic Cannabis Constituent Enhances
Fracture Healing and Stimulates Lysyl Hydroxylase Activity in
The cannabidiol CBD, found in cannabis, led to a significant improvement
in fracture healing.
Cannabinoids and the skeleton: from marijuana to reversal of bone loss.
Tetrahydrocannabinol in marijuana helps stimulate bone formation and
protects against age-related bone loss.
Bab, I., Zimmer, A. and Melamed, E. (2009). Cannabinoids and the
skeleton: from marijuana to reversal of bone loss. Annals
of Medicine. 41(8),
Bone Health: Tips to Keep Your Bones Healthy. (February 9, 2013). Mayo
Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/bone-health/art-20045060.
Kogan, N. M., Melamed, E., Wasserman, E., Raphael, B., Breuer, A., Stok,
K. S., Sondergaard, R., Escudero, A. V., Baraghithy, S., Attar-Namdar,
M., Friedlander-Barenboim, S., Mathavan, N., Isaksson, H., Mechoulam,
R., Müller, R., Bajayo, A., Gabet, Y. and Bab, I. (2015), Cannabidiol, a
Major Non-Psychotropic Cannabis Constituent Enhances Fracture Healing
and Stimulates Lysyl Hydroxylase Activity in Osteoblasts. Journal
of Bone and Mineral Research.
Whyte, LS., Ford, L., Ridge, SA., Cameron, GA., Rogers, MJ. and Ross,
RA. (2012, April). Cannabinoids and bone: endocannabinoids modulate
human osteoclast function in vitro. British
Journal of Pharmacology.
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