Medical marijuana does many, many things, most of them good. It fights cancer. It reduces nausea. It saves the lives of patients with severe seizure disorders. Now it turns out marijuana could be useful in repairing broken bones.
Scientists at Tel Aviv University in Israel studied cannabis and its effects on fractured bones. Their research, published in the Journal of Bone and Medical Research in September, suggests that CBD, a chemical commonly found in marijuana, “significantly helps heal bone fractures” by speeding the repair process.
CBD makes bones heal stronger
CBD also makes bones stronger, the study found, which prevents damage from future injuries. Among other things, the findings mean CBD marijuana could help many patients who suffer from broken bones, osteoporosis, and other bone-related disorders. Osteoporosis is responsible for nearly 9 million fractures each year.
Researchers separately tested the cannabinoids CBD and THC on broken bones in rats. THC is the chemical that gets pot smokers high, while CBD has a wide range of non-intoxicating medical uses. The scientists said they discovered a link between cannabinoid receptors in the brain and stimulation of bone growth.
Cannabinoid receptors are a type of nerve cell found in the brain. These cells bind to cannabinoid chemicals produced by the body (endocannabinoids) as well as cannabinoids found in the marijuana plant. When these substances trigger cannabinoid receptors, the brain sends messages that produce the physical and mental effects of cannabis.
“We only respond to cannabis because we are built with intrinsic compounds and receptors that can also be activated by compounds in the cannabis plant,” the researchers said.
“The clinical potential of cannabinoid-related compounds is simply undeniable at this point,” said Dr. Yankel Gabet of Tel Aviv’s Bone Research Laboratory. “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 clinic therapy objective from the psychoactivity of cannabis.”
Correlation between CBD and bone healing
The correlation between CBD and bone healing is important not only because of its medical implications but because the chemical doesn’t get users high. This could make it more appealing to many potential patients, especially children with bone fractures.
CBD is known as an effective medicine for a number of other disorders, especially severe pediatric epilepsy. THC also has many medical applications, but patients in many places are barred from using it. The new Israeli study also offers hope for the future – both for scientists and for patients at risk of further fractures.
“After being treated with CBD, the healed bone will be harder to break in the future,” Gabet said. “Other studies have also shown CBD to be a safe agent, which leads us to believe we should continue this line of study in clinical trials to assess its usefulness in improving human fracture healing.”
Tell us: Have you ever used non-intoxicating medical marijuana, or medical pot otherwise high in CBD? Did it help you? Leave a comment below.