Dr. Nisha Cooch PhD, PMP
Can CBD oil help with osteoporosis?
In this article, we cover a few helpful topics:
- What osteoporosis is
- How the endocannabinoid system plays a role in bone health
- How CBD oil may help with osteoporosis relief and prevention
What Is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is the most common bone disease in humans, characterized by a decrease in bone density, which leads to weaker, more fragile bones. The weakening of the bones results in a higher likelihood of fractures, often in the hips and wrists, or collapsing of the spine.
The body actively makes and breaks down bone through a remodeling process that supports bone integrity.
As we age, the speed of your bone breakdown often outpaces the speed with which you produce new bone, so your overall bone mass decreases. In the case of osteoporosis, there is abnormal destruction to the bones, and the bones become brittle and porous — resembling a sponge rather than solid bone. The result is often increased fractures, pain, stooped posture, and loss of height.
Who Is Most At Risk of Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis affects an enormous number of people, of both sexes and all races, and its prevalence will increase as the population ages. Although osteoporosis is seen across all age groups, genders, and races, it is more common in Caucasians, seniors, and women.
Risk factors for osteoporosis include genetics, lack of exercise, lack of calcium and vitamin D, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, history of rheumatoid arthritis, low body weight, and a family history of osteoporosis.
For women, bone loss often becomes a problem due to decreases in estrogen, which plays a role in bone production. When estrogen levels drop, typically during menopause, your body’s ability to make new bone drops as well, eventually causing a loss of bone mass or density.
What Are Symptoms or Signs of Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is often called a silent disease, as there are no symptoms until a fracture occurs. A diagnosis can be confirmed with bone density tests.
How CBD Oil May Help With Osteoporosis
There is an data on how CBD oil can help with pain and how CBD can help with common ailments of aging, but evidence is also emerging to suggest CBD may help with other aspects of osteoporosis. For instance, in pre-clinical models, CBD was shown to enhance bone volume following spinal cord injury.
Researchers have observed that increasing the expression CB2 inhibits activity of the cells that break down bone. As a result, drugs that enhance the activity of this receptor have been shown in pre-clinical trials to reverse bone loss that occurs in post-menopausal osteoporosis. Given these findings, researchers suggest that currently available synthetic molecules that act on CB2 receptors could provide a basis for osteoporosis therapy.
Research into the specific effects of CBD on processes of osteoporosis has shown that CBD reduces the bone resorption that the cause of bone mass loss. On the other hand, when the effects of CBD are blocked, there is more bone breakdown activity. These findings highlight the potential for CBD to prevent bone loss such as that observed in osteoporosis.
The Endocannabinoid System and Bone Health
Alterations in the endocannabioid system have been specifically observed in osteoporosis. Thus, strategically intervening in this system may offer therapeutic potential for those with the disease. The cannabinoid receptor CB2 receptor, for instance, appears to be a promising therapeutic target for osteoporosis.
>> Related Reading: What Is The Endocannabinoid System?
The endocannabinoid system plays an essential role in the regulation of osteoclast and osteoblast activities. Osteoclasts are bone-resorbing cells and osteoblasts are bone-forming cells; keeping a balance between these helps to maintain bone health. This balance is impaired as you age, resulting in lower bone density.
Takeaways On Using CBD for Osteoporosis
CBD oil may be able to help people with osteoporosis through its known pain relieving effects. There is also growing evidence that CBD activities more specifically target aspects of osteoporosis, like bone mass loss. More research is needed to determine how people with osteoporosis can get the most out of CBD, but the research to date looks promising.