Medical marijuana has been popping up in the news a lot lately, as new studies continue to find evidence that cannabis has a wide variety of medical applications. The latest discovery: Cannabis can be used to heal fractures and rebuild bones. Researchers at Tel Aviv University and Hebrew University, publishing their findings in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, have conducted a study to discover how the non-psychotropic components of cannabis can be applied outside of cancer, Parkinson’s, and MS treatment. Despite the surmounting evidence in favor of medical marijuana, the drug still remains Schedule 1, on par with drugs like heroine and LSD, constituting that it has no known medical application.
How it works
Researchers under Dr. Yankel Gabet of TAU’s Slacker Faculty of Medicine and the late Professor Itai Bab of Hebrew University’s Bone Laboratory, isolated the component cannabidiol (CBD) to see its effect on bone fractures. They found that when giving CBD to rats with mid-femoral fractures, the healing process of the bone was significantly sped up to about an eight-week recovery. The effects were still seen when tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the molecule within cannabis that produces a “high” effect, was removed from CBD, making the potential for bone healing treatment without psychoactive effects a possibility.
Gabet and Bab’s team are building off of studies they have conducted in the past, where they discovered that the cannabinoid receptors within our bodies both stimulate bone formation and prevent bone loss.
“We found that CBD alone makes bones stronger during healing, enhancing maturation of the collagenous matrix, which provides the basis for new mineralization of bone tissue,” Gabet said. “After being treated with CBD, the healed bone will be harder to break in the future.”
Gabet also noted that CBD, without THC, proves to be an effective therapeutic method for bone healing, without unnecessary side effects. “We found CBD alone to be sufficiently effective in enhancing fracture healing,” he 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 team of researchers are hopeful that their new discovery may translate to cannabis treatments for diseases like osteoporosis and other bone-related diseases.