Our bones are very strong parts of our body. They join to give us a framework, therefore any weakness is bound to be a major concern to us. Minerals and protein including collagen make up our bones. Collagen is the protein responsible for the strength and structure our bones give. From childhood to adolescence, our bones are continually being formed.
However, as we reach adulthood, bone formation slows, and as we age into our fifties and sixties, our bones begin to break down. This leads to loss of collagen and calcium and other nutrients, thereby causing bone weakness, fractures and Osteoporosis. This can in turn lead to pain, immobility, and problems with posture.
It is well known that there are drugs currently used for these symptoms, however, some of them are addictive. This is where CBD can be used as an alternative or supplemental therapy.
What is CBD?
CBD is the short form for Cannabidiol. Cannabidiol is among many naturally occurring compounds from the Hemp Plant. It is used for medicinal purposes and though it is derived from the cannabis family, it has no euphoric effect. Its related compound, Tetrahydrocannabinol, is the one fully responsible for that.
What should we know about Osteoporosis?
Simply, Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by porous bones and the symptoms include pain, stupped posture, increased frequency of fractures, loss of height, and reduced grip strength, etc. Now let’s see how this happens.
Throughout our lifetime, our bones undergo what is called bone remodelling. This involves a continuous cycle of bone cell breakdown and bone cell creation. Cells responsible for the breakdown (bone resorption) are called osteoclasts. Osteoblasts are the cells responsible for building (bone formation).
As we age, our osteoblasts build less bone cells leading to an imbalance. This imbalance leads to gradual loss of bone mass, bone frailty, and puts us at risk of fractures. The imbalance is referred to as abnormal remodelling.
Osteoporosis is common among women due to fluctuating oestrogen levels during menopause. This is supported by a study that showed that 50% of women, as against 20% of men over 50 years of age, have fractures related to Osteoporosis.
How does CBD help with Osteoporosis and other Bone Health Problems?
The Endocannabinoid system (ECS) has been shown in recent research to have direct involvement with bone formation. A realization that puts CBD as a possible means of healing fractures, repressing pain and inflammations, and restoring bone cells lost due to Osteoporosis.
CBD and Bone/Fracture Healing
In healing a fracture, our body produces callus to seal the ends together. Callus is made from collagen, and studies have shown that CBD aids the production of collagen and fracture healing.
CBD does this by aiding the expression of MRNA in bone cells. This expression aids the production of collagen and the crosslinking of its fibres from one broken end to another, thereby aiding fracture healing
Different studies on animals have shown the above process in several bones including the spinal cord. Besides, an animal experiment carried out on mice have helped to show the effect of CBD on fracture healing. It turns out that the CBD significantly increased bone strength and toughness by stimulating the production of Lysyl Hydroxylase—an important enzyme in bone healing.
CBD Calms Bone Pain & Muscle Inflammation
Aside from reducing pain during fracture healing, CBD is used to help people reduce chronic bone pains and muscle inflammation.
CBD has been shown to have pain-relieving properties and there have been testimonies by patients who replaced their pain relievers with CBD and saw positive changes.
CBD and Bone Loss/ Osteoporosis
As stated earlier, Osteoclasts are responsible for breaking down bone cells. Amazingly, researchers have found the solution to the problem right on these Osteoclasts.
Scientists believe that a cell receptor found on osteoclasts can be the solution. The name of the receptor is GPR55. It is also part of the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). Other cell receptors, including the CB1 and CB2, are involved in bone cell signalling and differentiation, although there has not been significant proof as regards bone loss.
However, GPR55, when activated, has been identified to be responsible for Osteoclasts' role in breaking down bone cells. Therefore it only makes sense to assume that once the receptors are blocked, and Osteoblasts continue to build new bone cells, Osteoporosis can be solved, and this has been done.
A recent experiment revealed that CBD has been successfully used to block the activation of GPR55, and the degeneration of bone cells did reduce.
How do we know the right CBD bone health products?
Because CBD is derived from the Hemp and Cannabis Plants, some US regions have regulations against it. Therefore, we should always be aware of CBD regulations where we live or travel. If we are in an area where CBD is illegal, we should visit our doctor before using any of the CBD products as an alternative or complementary medicine.
Having visited our doctor, we should thoroughly research the right product for us, and seek quality assurance.
It is vital to check the ingredients and ascertain the quantity and concentration (%) of CBD, and any other ingredients that may have been added. Also check that laboratory testing certificates are both freely available / displayed and up to date.
The presence of collagen and calcium in our bones is important for healthy bone cells. However, this can be altered as a result of aging, menopause, or accidents, etc. When any of these happens, we need to restore the health of our bones by ingesting drugs to aid bone cell building, reduce bone loss, repress pain, and calm inflammation.
However, some drugs that we take can be addictive and since we have the ECS wired into all our bodies, addiction is easier. To solve this, CBD has shown a strong promise, not necessarily as a total substitute but as a good complementary treatment in bone health restoration.