Medical cannabis shows promise for treating a variety of conditions, and recent research shows that certain strains may also help heal broken bones more quickly. However, as is often the case with cannabis, other research appears to show that heavy marijuana smoking may have a different effect.
CBD May Promote Bone Growth
Researchers in Israel found that CBD strengthens bones during the healing process. Stronger bones prevent future fractures. Researchers believe that cannabidiol stimulates collagen, the protein in connective tissue. This tissue is what keeps our bones connected. CBD stimulates cannabidiol receptors in the body to turn on bone growth and inhibit bone loss. The 2015 study was performed on rats, so more human research needs to be performed to determine how much CBD could be helpful in strengthening bones.
The Israeli research also indicates that CBD might offer hope for sufferers of osteoporosis. This disease, common among post-menopausal white and Asian women, causes bones to become porous and more likely to break.
Heavy Marijuana Use May Weaken Bones
The scenario appears to be different for heavy marijuana smokers. In a 2016 study by the University of Edinburgh’s Center for Genomic and Experimental Medicine in Scotland, heavy cannabis smokers had more than twice the risk of bone loss as light marijuana smokers and cigarette smokers.
The 2016 research surveyed marijuana users who reported smoking five times a day for more than two decades, or between 5,000 to 47,000 times in their lives. Study participants who reported light or moderate use (1,000 times in their lives) did not experience more bone loss than non-users.
Should You Use Cannabis for Bone Health?
What we know about cannabis and bone health comes down to the results of two major studies. One indicates that specific doses of cannabis might support bone health, while the other suggests that heavy marijuana smokers might want to double up on calcium and take other precautions.
The studies did not make clear whether the different results were related to THC, which has a psychoactive effect, and CBD, which does not. It also factored in other health markers such as diet and weight-bearing exercise. Until more research on humans is done, it is best to rely on the advice of an expert.
For the latest information on medical cannabis and how it can benefit your health, talk to our 20882 medical cannabis doctor.