Fracture a joint? Smoke a joint. Or at least that's what researchers from Tel Aviv University have suggested after studying the effects of marijuana on broken bones.
A new study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research last week says that a component of marijuana known as cannabidiol (CBD) "significantly helps heal bone fractures" by speeding up the process. It also strengthens bones, protecting them against future injuries.
This research could lead to new treatment options for people suffering from certain bone-related diseases, including osteoporosis, which causes 8.9 million fractures annually across the world, according to the International Osteoporosis Foundation.
The team of researchers at Tel Aviv University tested the effect of THC and CBD separately on rat subjects, discovering a connection between our bodies' cannabinoid receptors and bone growth stimulation.
"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," one researched commented in a press release from Tel Aviv University.
"The clinical potential of cannabinoid-related compounds is simply undeniable at this point," Dr. Yankel Gabet of Tel Aviv's Bone Research Laboratory told the Times of Israel. "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 clinic therapy objective from the psychoactivity of cannabis."
That is, marijuana rich in CBD can treat certain ailments such as bone disease, but it does not necessarily have to get you high to serve that medical function. Unlike THC—the component of cannabis with the most distinct psychoactive properties—CBD is associated with reduced psychoactivity, which makes it an ideal option for those who require daily treatment regimens.
“After being treated with CBD, the healed bone will be harder to break in the future,” Gabet continued. "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."
Other accepted medical uses of CBD include the treatment of chronic pain, epilepsy, and neuropathic pain caused by Multiple Sclerosis.