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Can CBD Make Your Skeleton Stronger?

Emily Robertson

Study shows that CBD enhances bone regeneration and improves the strength of the skeleton.

If you are a young consumer of cannabis, bone strength and density may be the last thing on your mind.  People in their 20s and 30s rarely think about how their bones could one day be the target of a disease. But, once you begin to creep toward middle age, your bones and the health of your skeleton becomes a very relevant topic.

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The endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays an important role in the maintenance of homeostasis, immune functioning, hormone regulation, AND bone strength. The ECS is a system of receptors and endogenous cannabinoids that can be found in tissues throughout the body. Cannabis cannabinoids also fit into these receptors, which explains the incredible versatility of this medicine.

One of the most researched cannabinoids, Canabidiol (CBD), has been found to trigger bone formation to allow for more quick healing of fractures and improvement in overall bone strength.

Bone Health and Age

As your body matures, things start to deteriorate, as a natural part of the aging process.  This includes your bones.  The most common disease of bone degeneration is osteoporosis, which occurs when there is an imbalance in bone formation and bone resorption. As a result, the bones become porous and weak, and easily fractured or broken.

Bone health also refers to the strength and wholeness of your bones. Almost everyone has broken or fractured a bone at some point. We all remember it as a lesson in the fragility of the human body. But the frequency of broken bones among humans can make us forget how long lasting the effects can be. In fact, the point of fracture may be a weak or sensitive spot for life.

Causes of poor bone health include: minimal load-bearing exercise, nutrient-deficient diets, sedentary lifestyle, vitamin D or C deficiency, lack of adequate phosphate, and hormonal changes at menopause.

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Heavy lifting and medium impact exercise contribute to the development of bone strength. 

Cannabinoids, such as CBD and THC, trigger the endocannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) that encourage bone formation and healing.  When activated, CB1 regulates the factors of bone health (formation, resorption, fat content, mineral deposition) and, therefore, contributes to the development or prevention of osteoporosis.

In addition, the triggering of CB2 receptors assists with skeleton (bone) metabolism (bone remodeling). This is the life long process of getting rid of old bone tissue and regenerating new.

A 2015 study published in The Journal of Bone and Mineral Research demonstrated that CBD greatly enhanced the biochemical process of healing in rats with femur fractures. Scientists accomplished this by triggering bone formation and strengthening the tissues connecting bones.

The research is significant as the experiment employed statistically relevant controls and was overseen by 18 scientists from all over the world.

Skeleton fractures heal by a process called “callous formation.” This involves the creation of cross-bridges from new bone cell formation. Scientists administered CBD and THC. The rats who had it experienced increased callous formation (size). The control rats did not experience this increase.

We need more research into cannabis and skeleton health. Still, those at high risk of bone deterioration or patients already diagnosed with osteoporosis may benefit from regular cannabis use.

Emily Robertson

Emily Robertson has been writing freelance and contract work since 2011. She has written on a variety of topics, including travel writing of North America and the growing legalized cannabis industry across the globe. Robertson has a master’s degree in literature and gender studies, and brings this through in her writing by always trying to explore different perspectives. Born and raised in southwestern Ontario, Robertson moved to Glasgow, Scotland in 2016 to undergo her doctorate in Scottish Literature. She lives in the West End with her dog, Henley.

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