Cannabis compound might mend broken bones faster

 
By Tom Nordlie • Published: October 5th, 2015
Category: Health in a Heartbeat
Play

Cannabis plants are infamously known as the source of the recreational drugs marijuana and hashish.

In recent years, some scientists have conducted serious research on chemicals produced by cannabis plants in hopes of developing health care applications.

For example, a study recently published by the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research reports that a compound known as cannabidiol [CAN-uh-buh-DIE-awl] could help fractured bones heal more quickly.

Cannabidiol has no psychoactive properties, meaning it can’t be used to get high.

Instead, it’s known as an anti-inflammatory substance.

In the study, researchers examined the effects of cannabidiol on fractured leg bones in rats.

Each rat had one broken femur and was given a daily injection of cannabidiol for eight weeks. Rats in two other treatment groups each had a broken femur and received a daily injection of a different compound.

At the end of eight weeks, the scientists analyzed the fractured bones.

One group of tests looked at the strength of the healing leg bones, and showed that the rats treated with cannabidiol had femurs that were up to 50 percent stronger than those of the other groups.

Further testing showed that this strength increase was not the result of greater bone volume or density in the healing fracture.

Instead, it appeared that cannabidiol prompted collagen protein molecules within the bone to link together more extensively than they would have otherwise.

Whatever the mechanism is, this phenomenon needs further investigation from researchers. Bone fractures affect millions of people each year worldwide. Perhaps one day, a treatment with cannabidiol will help some of those bones heal faster. Only time and additional research will tell.