marijuana-for-the-bones

Cannabis and Bone Health

According to a new study, Cannabidiol, a nonpsychotropic component of marijuana, may enhance the healing process of bone fissures and bone health.

As reported by Yankel Gabet, CBD makes bones stronger during the healing process, while enhancing the maturation of the collagenous matrix . This provides the basis for new mineralization of bone tissue. Treatment with CBD causes healed bones to be more difficult to break in the future.

A team of researchers produced mild femoral fractures on rats. They then gave and injection of CBD to some of the rats, while others received CBD plus tetrahydrocannabinol or THC – the ingredient that causes the high. The researchers studied the healing between the two groups as well as rats who had not received any marijuana chemicals. The groups of rats that received the marijuana displayed the same rates of healing regardless of whether THC had been added or not.

It was determined that CBD alone was sufficient for healing fractures and that it should be assessed further for its potential use in healing human fractures.

Bone Density

Bone density is the measure of how much mineral is in your bone and can be used to assess your bone strength and bone health. People with a low bone density have a higher chance of sustaining bone fractures, injuries that have potentially serious consequences including possible surgery and possible declines in overall health and function.

There are many reasons why people may be at risk of having a low bone density. Some of these risk factors for low bone density are things we cannot control–for example female gender, Caucasian, or advanced age. However, there are some other risk factors that can be controlled–such as tobacco use, medications, and weight-bearing exercise. There is concern that marijuana use may also contribute to problems with bone density.

Cannabis Use

While marijuana use may have potential benefits for patients, there can also be consequences. One of these risks of heavy marijuana use seems to be an impact on bone density. Researchers have found that in patients who smoke marijuana regularly, bone density is on average about 5% lower than a similar group of non-marijuana smokers.

The precise reason why smoking marijuana may lower bone density is not entirely clear and needs further investigation. However, there has been previous research that has shown that smoking marijuana can affect blood flow, an issue that can lead to problems with bone health and bone density. Furthermore, people who regularly smoke marijuana tend to have a lower BMI, also a risk that can lead to lower bone density. 

Again, it’s too soon to know exactly how and why marijuana may lower bone density, but it does seem that people who are heavy marijuana users may be at risk for a lower bone density and therefore have a higher risk of fractures

Bottom Line

Like any drug, recreational or medicinal, marijuana has possible risks associated with its use. These risks seem to be magnified by heavy use. One of the risks of using high doses of marijuana is the lowering of bone density and an increased risk of fractures. With over half of all states legalizing the use of marijuana (either for recreational or medicinal purposes), this may become a more common concern. If you are using marijuana, you should discuss with your doctor your bone density and if you need assessment or treatment to ensure your bones remain healthy and not prone to fracture.

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