Cannabidiol, a nonpsychotropic component of marijuana, may enhance the healing process of bone fissures, according to a new study. The Journal of Bone and Mineral Research published a study showing that the cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) strengthens bones and accelerates the healing of fractures. Researchers administered CBD on rats with mid-femoral fractures and found that cannabinoid ligands regulate bone mass. This phenomenon was measured with CBD, but not with THC alone, however, a down-regulation was not seen with the addition of THC. THC does potentiate the CBD stimulated work-to-failure 6 weeks post fracture. With the use of micro-computed tomography, the fracture callus size was reduced by CBD or THC four weeks after fracture but plateaued after six and eight weeks where control levels were seen. CBD stimulated mRNA expression of Plod 1 in primary osteoblast cultures, encoding an enzyme that catalyzes lysine hydroxylation, which is in turn involved in collagen crosslinking and stabilization. The researcher Yankel Gabet also noted that after being treated with CBD the healed bone will be harder to break in the future.
The most recent study to date was released in the European Journal of Pharmacology in August 2017. Scientists investigated the therapeutic effects of CBD on a sublesional bone loss in a rat model with spinal cord injury. It was shown that CBD enhanced bone volume, trabecular thickness, trabecular number, and reduced trabecular separation in proximal tibiae. It also increased ultimate compressive load, stiffness, and energy to max force of femoral diaphysis. With these results the author concludes that CBD administration reduces the severity of spinal cord injury induced sublesional cancellous bone loss.
Studies conducted throughout the years show how useful cannabinoid therapy can be to help in bone fragment healing by increasing the volume and thickness of trabecular bone and the presence of unabsorbed cartilage. It has also been seen that CBD increases the strength of healed femurs, and may be of therapeutic value to spinal cord injuries as it lessens the loss of bone mineral that occurs in these injuries.
CBD selectively increased mRNA levels of the lysyl hydroxylase (involved in fracture cross bridge formation) gene. This data is probably the most significant finding in cannabis research to date because it gave scientists insight into the genetic impact of cannabis on the body. Everything starts with genetics and this concrete data gives us a deeper insight into how cannabis influences the body’s physiology. The data proves that the marijuana research of the past hasn’t been in vain and we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg.
The efforts of multiple scientists in the past have built a collection of data that inspires continual interest in the field of marijuana research. On a broader, physiological level, the effects of cannabis on multiple health conditions (epilepsy, pain, digestive motility) are undeniable. But the recent findings on bone fracture healing have given the medical world the biochemical proof that it’s been looking for. CBD stimulates bone-building cells to express the genes involved in producing the primary enzyme involved in bone healing. Genetics don’t lie!