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Cannabis Heals Bone Fractures, Making New Bones Stronger
Cannabis, was used as a go-to medical remedy by societies around the world
for centuries. But the therapeutic use of marijuana was banned in most countries in the
1930s and ’40s due to a growing awareness of the dangers of addiction. The significant
medical benefits of marijuana in alleviating symptoms of such diseases as Parkinson’s,
cancer, and multiple sclerosis have only recently been reinvestigated.
A new study by Tel Aviv and Hebrew University researchers explores another promising new
medical application for marijuana.
According to the research, the administration of the nonpsychotropic
component cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) significantly helps heal bone
fractures, possibly even preventing them in the future.
The study, conducted on rats with mid-femoral fractures, a serious fracture in the thigh bone,
found that CBD — even when isolated from tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the major
psychoactive component of cannabis — markedly enhanced the healing process of the bone
fractures after just eight weeks.
Undeniable clinical potential
In earlier research, the same research team discovered that cannabinoid receptors within
our bodies stimulated bone formation and inhibited bone loss. This paves the way for the
future use of cannabinoid drugs to combat osteoporosis and other bone-related diseases.
“The clinical potential of cannabinoid-related compounds is simply undeniable at this point,”
said Dr. Yankel Gabet of TAU’s Bone Research Laboratory. “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,” meaning they do not results in
alterations in perception, mood, or consciousness.
According to Dr. Gabet, our bodies are equipped with a cannabinoid system, which
regulates both vital and non-vital 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,” he 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.
“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,”
said Dr. Gabet. “After being treated with CBD, the healed bone will be harder to break in the
The researchers injected one group of rats with CBD alone and another with a combination
of CBD and THC. After evaluating the administration of THC and CBD together in the rats,
they found CBD alone provided the necessary therapeutic stimulus.
“We found CBD alone to be sufficiently effective in enhancing fracture healing,” said Dr.
Gabet. “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 research, published in the “Journal of Bone and Mineral Research,” was led jointly
by Dr. Yankel Gabet of the Bone Research Laboratory at the Department of Anatomy and
Anthropology at TAU’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine and the late Prof. Itai Bab of Hebrew
University’s Bone Laboratory