Marijuana has been used as a natural remedy for hundreds of years, and has been shown to ease the symptoms of a number of ailments. New research suggests the plant could also be used to heal bone fractures.
A recent study demonstrated the non-psychotropic component cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) helped heal mid-femoral fractures in rats, Tel Aviv University reported. Past research from the same team has shown cannabinoid receptors within our bodies stimulate bone formation and help stop bone loss.
"The clinical potential of cannabinoid-related compounds is simply undeniable at this point," said Yankel Gabet of the Bone Research Laboratory at the Department of Anatomy and Anthropology at TAU's Sackler Faculty of Medicine. "While there is still a lot of work to be done to develop appropriate therapies, it is clear that it is possible to detach a clinical therapy objective from the psychoactivity of cannabis. CBD, the principal agent in our study, is primarily anti-inflammatory and has no psychoactivity."
Gabet pointed out that the human body is equipped with a cannabinoid system, which is responsible for the regulation of other important systems.
"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 researchers found that the skeleton itself is regulated by cannabinoids. Even the addition of a non-psychogenic compound acting outside of the brain can affect the skeleton."
The team discovered CBD alone can make bones stronger, and boosts the maturation of the collagenous matrix, allowing for the mineralization of new bone tissue.
To make their findings the researchers injected gray rats with either CBD alone or a combination of CBD and THC. They determined CBD alone was enough to help heal the bone.
"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 findings were published in a recent edition of the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.