A marijuana chemical known as cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) helps fractures heal faster and even make the bones stronger than they were before, according to a study conducted by researchers from Tel Aviv University and Hebrew University and published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.
CBD has no psychotropic effects.
“We found that CBD alone makes bones stronger during healing, enhancing the maturation of the collagenous matrix, which provides the basis for new mineralization of bone tissue,” researcher Yankel Gabet said. “After being treated with CBD, the healed bone will be harder to break in the future.”
Bones contain cannabinoid receptors
The researchers inflicted mild femoral fractures on rats, then injected some of them with CBD, and others with CBD plus tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, the ingredient that causes the marijuana high). They then evaluated the healing of the rats, comparing them with rats who had not received any marijuana chemicals.
The researchers found that rats injected with CBD had the same effect whether or not it was accompanied by THC.
“We found CBD alone to be sufficiently effective in enhancing fracture healing,” 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.”
The study supported the same team’s prior findings that the body contains receptors that respond to cannabinoid compounds, and that these receptors are not confined to the brain.
“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,” Gabet said.
The prior study found that the skeleton contains cannabinoid receptors that stimulate bone formation and inhibit bone loss. The new study seems to confirm these findings.
Medical marijuana benefits “undeniable”
The study is part of a growing body of research into the medical benefits of marijuana compounds, including CBD. The findings may lead to new research into ways that marijuana could be used to treat osteoporosis or other bone diseases.