- 1 What is Osteoporosis?
- 2 Symptoms & Causes
- 3 Why can CBD work for Treating Osteoporosis?
- 4 What are the Benefits of Using CBD to Treat Osteoporosis?
- 5 The Endocannabinoid System & Osteoporosis
- 6 How can I use CBD to Treat Osteoporosis?
- 7 What are Studies Saying About Using CBD for Osteoporosis?
- 8 References
According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation1, Osteoporosis affects an estimated 75 million people in Europe, USA, and Japan. This condition is estimated to affect 200 million women worldwide – approximately one-tenth of women aged 60.
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis, or “porous bones”, is a medical condition which causes the body to lose too much bone mass. It’s the loss of tissues, thus resulting in fragile and brittle bones. This means that patients with Osteoporosis have poor bone health as these parts have a lowered density. This makes them especially prone to fractures or other injuries. In worse cases, this disease might deform the normal physical structures. Osteoporosis can trigger issues such as spine deformities.
Symptoms & Causes
There are typically not many symptoms in the early stages of Osteoporosis. Once your bones have been weakened by the bone loss, you may have signs and symptoms that include:
- Back pain, caused by a fractured or collapsed vertebra
- Loss of height over time
- A stooped posture
- A bone fracture that occurs much more easily than expected
Women are more likely to develop Osteoporosis. This is because they can quickly lose bone mass in the first couple of years after menopause.
Other risk factors could include:
- Overactive adrenal glands
- Overactive thyroid
- Low level of sex hormones
- Using corticosteroids for a long time
- Medical issues like inflammatory or hormone-related conditions
- A lower BMI than average
- Heavy drinking and smoking
- Frequent use of medications which affect bone strength or hormone levels negatively
Why can CBD work for Treating Osteoporosis?
Over the past few decades, researchers have found out the presence of some cannabinoid receptors such as CB1 and CB2 in bone tissues. Indeed, these elements play an essential role in your bone health.
CB2 is expressed predominantly in osteoclasts (bone-resorbing cells) and osteoblasts (bone-forming cells). This kind of cannabinoid receptor is necessary for the regulation of your bone metabolism. Physiologically, it is important to keep a balance between osteoclasts and osteoblasts as it would maintain optimum bone health. As people age, this balance would be impaired, and result in a loss of bone density and Osteoporosis.
CB2 agonists like CBD could be used to modulate the functions of these receptors2. They can improve the activity and count of osteoblasts while inhibiting the expression of osteoblasts and the proliferation of osteoclasts. These elements can also stimulate the formation of Endocortical bones, suppress bone losses and maintain a normal mass of bone. CB1 receptors, on the other hand, can be activated to inhibit a chemical known as norepinephrine3. This element might delay the formation of your bones, adjust the rate of reabsorption and lead to some bone issues.
Recent studies have proven that the use of CBD oils can have positive effects on these receptors, thus alleviating symptoms as well as slowing the progression of Osteoporosis.
What are the Benefits of Using CBD to Treat Osteoporosis?
Over the years, studies have shown that CBD products have 2 distinct benefits in osteoporosis treatments. Firstly, it would negatively modulate CB2 and CB1 receptors, thus reducing their capability of binding to agonists, a compound which activates them4. This is often called the entourage effect, meaning that CBD helps to reduce the effects of other compounds that serve as the same cannabinoid receptors.
What’s more, CBD can inhibit several enzymes such as FAAH and increase the effects that they would exert on these cannabinoid receptors. As a result of these effects, researchers have suggested that CBD is effective and helpful in lowering the risks of osteoporosis and enhancing the health of your endocannabinoid system within the bones.
The Endocannabinoid System & Osteoporosis
The Endocannabinoid System plays an essential role in the regulation of osteoclast and osteoblast activities5. This means if any problem happens in this area, it might lead to a number of conditions, including osteoporosis. There is also evidence to show your endocannabinoid system might determine the development of a low bone mass6. Indeed, a lack of the endocannabinoid receptors in your brain has been linked to a higher turnover of bone.
Essentially, your body might keep “retiring” old bone cells without producing enough new ones for replacement. However, if these receptors could be stimulated with the help of CBD, the bones are more likely to maintain its function even after many years.
In general, the Endocannabinoid System consists of cannabinoid receptors that are activated by several elements like CBD. The endocannabinoids are basically generated and degraded by a few types of enzymes, this giving this system a role in controlling some essential activities. Consequently, reduced numbers of endocannabinoid receptors are linked to the development of osteoporosis.
How can I use CBD to Treat Osteoporosis?
CBD oils are available in various forms and concentrations, including liquid or thick paste, oil, capsules, gum or candy, salves, sprays or drops, and vapor.
As a rule of thumb, the dosage of CBD products for osteoporosis treatments can vary a lot as we are not the same in terms of medical conditions and level of intensity. The following of any guide is just for your reference. In general, it is advisable to start small and increase gradually until you get the desired results.
A good example of how to dose your CBD has been given in the book CBD: A Patient’s Guide to Medicinal Cannabis by Leinow and Birnbaum7. The authors have introduced thier Step-Up Method, where they recommend different types of dosage according to weight and condition. To find out how to follow Leinow and Birnbaum’s guide, read our post on CBD dosage.
What are Studies Saying About Using CBD for Osteoporosis?
A study by French scientists has suggested that human bones come with a higher level of endocannabinoids and ligands than brain cells8. Also, a naturally generated cannabinoid in our body named Anandamide could have an effect on the bone tissues. Anandamide helps to bind to those CB2 receptors. They also pointed out that CBD can imitate Anandamide, thus positively affecting bone health in those people who suffer from osteoporosis.
Another study by Idris Al focused on the important part of cannabinoid receptors in treating osteoporosis9. The results suggested that CBD is likely to affect bone metabolism and ligands. Therefore, these products can be used for bone issues as they may be applied to exploit the cannabinoid receptors for targeting anabolic therapy and anti-resorptive.
A published study in 2015 by researcher Kogan Niemand10 has found that when mice were treated with CBD oil, the maximal loads on their bones significantly increased. Also, he discovered that CBD could speed up the process of healing fractures or broken bones.
- International Osteoporosis Foundation (2019). FACTS AND STATISTICS. [online] Available at: https://www.iofbonehealth.org/facts-statistics
- Dhopeshwarkar, A. and Mackie, K. (2014). CB2 Cannabinoid Receptors as a Therapeutic Target—What Does the Future Hold?. Molecular Pharmacology, 86(4), pp.430-437.
- Reggio, P. (2010). Endocannabinoid Binding to the Cannabinoid Receptors: What Is Known and What Remains Unknown. Current Medicinal Chemistry, 17(14), pp.1468-1486.
- Hammell, D., Zhang, L., Ma, F., Abshire, S., McIlwrath, S., Stinchcomb, A. and Westlund, K. (2015). Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviours in a rat model of arthritis. European Journal of Pain, 20(6), pp.936-948.
- Idris, A. and Ralston, S. (2012). Role of cannabinoids in the regulation of bone remodeling. Frontiers in Endocrinology, 3.
- Bab, I. and Zimmer, A. (2008). Cannabinoid receptors and the regulation of bone mass. British Journal of Pharmacology, 153(2), pp.182-188.
- Leinow,, L. and Birnbaum, J. (2017). CBD: A Patient’s Guide to Medicinal Cannabis. North Atlantic Books.
- Whyte, L., Ford, L., Ridge, S., Cameron, G., Rogers, M. and Ross, R. (2012). Cannabinoids and bone: endocannabinoids modulate human osteoclast function in vitro. British Journal of Pharmacology, 165(8), pp.2584-2597.
- I. Idris, A. (2010). Cannabinoid Receptors as Target for Treatment of Osteoporosis: A Tale of Two Therapies. Current Neuropharmacology, 8(3), pp.243-253.
- Kogan, N., et. al (2015). Cannabidiol, a Major Non-Psychotropic Cannabis Constituent Enhances Fracture Healing and Stimulates Lysyl Hydroxylase Activity in Osteoblasts. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 30(10), pp.1905-1913.