Can Cannabis Strengthen Broken Bones?
Written by: Liz Perkins
Can Cannabis Strengthen Broken Bones?
You may have heard that there is a potential new use for cannabis, but is it really true? Can cannabidiol (CBD), help with bone fractures in humans?
A study in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research stated that CBD actually DID help bones from broken rat femurs heal stronger, although less quickly. The bones were able to withstand stress and were more flexible than the bones of the rats in the control group.
In this study of rats, with a small sample size, the bones were stronger in the CBD group after 6 weeks and the authors showed that the CBD helps enzymes to “crosslink collagen” to the bone.
The authors were motivated to study CBD for two reasons; first, CBD has been shown to be effective for bone loss associated with loss of ovaries, ovariectomies and second, the possibility that people with broken bones might engage in CBD and THC use.
Is it helpful or harmful to engage in this activity when your bones are broken?
The question was asked on the popular site Ask the Doctor, “Does smoking THC affect the bone healing process?” The doctor replied that it may slow down the healing process. People with broken bones stuck in a cast might be interested in pain relief as well. Since smoking marijuana is 1) illegal in most states and 2) could inhibit the healing process, advice from posts on discussion forums say to eat it.
Eating marijuana has safety issues associated with it as well, however. See this post, where a young man ate 6 times the recommended dose of a pot cookie and jumped off a balcony to his death.
The rat study had the objective to determine if the cannabinoid receptors in mammalian cells could positively affect bone healing. Previous research demonstrated that endogenous cannabinoids helped with bone healing, which are cannabinoids produced naturally within the bodies of mice. We have receptors for these molecules on the cells that produce bone, osteoclasts and osteoblasts. See the following references for more information: fasebj.org, pubmed, cell.com.
The study had three groups, control, CBD and CBD and THC. In the study, the control group actually healed more quickly for the first four weeks and then the CBD and THC group caught up. The bones had greater biomechanical integrity than the control group as well.
So, does this mean you should take CBD if you have broken bones and you want to reduce pain?
There is not any proven efficacy in the literature that it will help your bones heal more quickly, though it worked in the study on rats and showed promise for further studies.
According to Gabet, the lead author, our bodies have receptors for endocannabinoids and so the potential for clinical applications for cannabis are huge.
However, it is still classified as a Schedule 1 drug, due to the Controlled Substances Act. This is making progress in research slow.
What do other sources say about herb and bone healing?
This article written by a medical marijuana proponent, claims that cannabis does help bone healing. This second article also espouses cannabis as a great medical tool for healing.
If you can’t locate any legal CBD, there are always, well, less controversial, very effective whole food options to try that can help the bones heal very quickly. Sea vegetables, such as dulse flakes for instance, help increase the minerals needed to build bone.
Lots of dark leafy greens add vitamin K2 and bioavailable calcium. A strong nettle and oatstraw tea infusion several times a day would help as well. We used these combinations to keep my son’s bone density up during his long chemotherapy treatment for leukemia.
If you are wondering if CBD is right for you and healing broken bones and if you do not live in a state where it is legal, luckily there are lots of other herbs that help heal broken bones quickly, such as comfrey, nettle tea and oat straw tea. Eating a nutritious diet, full of dark leafy green vegetables and sea vegetables and juicing as well can help your body return to its full functional skeleton potential quickly.
Liz Perkins, MS. is an Integrative Nutrition Cancer Advocate.She is the mom of a leukemia survivor and leads clients through cancer with whole foods, meditations and humor.
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