Osteoporosis is a common medical condition that is said to affect as many as 54 million people. In the United States, there are 3 million new cases each year. It’s a condition that causes bone to become brittle and weak. According to a NOF study, the number of Americans with either low bone mass (which can lead to osteoporosis) or existing osteoporosis will exceed 71 million by the year 2030.
The word osteoporosis means ‘porous bones’ which is exactly what happens with this condition. The bones weaken and can, therefore, break more easily. While it’s a condition that affects mostly older people, anyone at any age can be affected by osteoporosis. With the aging population of today, osteoporosis is a problem that is constantly on the rise, especially in the west, with more cases being reported each year.
While expensive pharmaceutical drugs have proven all but useless, research suggests that CBD could be one of the best treatment options for osteoporosis. This article takes a more in-depth look at what osteoporosis is, how CBD could work as a treatment, what medical research has found, and how to use CBD for osteoporosis.
Overview of Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a medical condition that weakens bone strength by making the bones more fragile and more likely to break. When osteoporosis takes place, the creation of new bone isn’t able to keep up with the removal of old bone.
Our bones are living tissue that is made of a hard, gritty material which is made of minerals and tough, elastic fibers known as collagen fibers. The cells are able to make, mold, and reabsorb bone. When we are still young and growing, the bones form faster than they reabsorb, but because of the aging process, this reverses. From about the age of 35 and onwards, we begin to lose our overall bone material, which leads to the bones becoming less strong and less dense. How much bone is lost will be different for each individual. If you have too much loss, you have osteoporosis.
Those who suffer from osteoporosis experience bone breakages more easily, especially when it comes to accidents like falling over. Osteoporosis typically develops over several years, and those who are affected are likely only to be diagnosed after a sudden impact or an accident leads to a bone fracture.
Indeed, the main concern that people have when discussing osteoporosis is the drastically increased risk of related bone fracture – fractures of the vertebrae are the most common. The most common injuries found in people who have osteoporosis are hip, spinal and wrist fractures. However, injuries can occur in most bones, including the arms or pelvis. Something as simple as a sneeze could cause a fractured rib or the partial collapse of a vertebra.
Osteoporosis isn’t usually a painful condition until you fracture something. But fractures, and particularly spinal fractures, could cause chronic pain. Another possible symptom of osteoporosis is the stooped over posture that is usually associated with older people. The reason for this is that vertebrae have fractured which makes it hard to support the body weight.
How and Why CBD Could Help in the Treatment of Osteoporosis
The reason that CBD has an effect on our body is that it works on our internal endocannabinoid system (ECS). There are two main receptors found in the ECS which you may have heard about: CB1 and CB2. CBD is known to work on both of these receptors.
It’s over the last few decades that researchers have discovered the presence of a few cannabinoid receptors, like CB1 and CB2 found in bone tissues. A recent medical breakthrough discovered that CB2 was present in bone tissue, mostly in the cells which reabsorb bone (osteoclasts) as well as the bone-forming cells (osteoblasts). The receptors play an important part in bone metabolism regulation, which helps to maintain the balance between osteoclasts and osteoblasts, and this ensures optimal bone health. Osteoporosis causes an impairment to this balance, which causes a loss of bone density.
CBD works on the CB2 receptors which increase the activity and the osteoblast count, whilst also inhibiting osteoclasts. This helps to prevent bone loss, and it stimulates bone formation, which helps the body to maintain its normal bone mass. As a result, it’s been suggested that CBD has the potential to be an effective treatment option in the case of osteoporosis.
So let’s break all of the above down into a simple explanation. The ECS plays an important role in osteoclast and osteoblast activities. This means that if any issues occur in this area, it could lead to a number of conditions, including osteoporosis. Evidence also suggests that your ECS may determine the development of low bone mass. Certainly, a lack of endocannabinoid receptors in the brain has been connected to a higher turnover of bone.
Ultimately, your body may keep “retiring” old bone cells and not produce enough new ones for replacement. But, if these receptors can be stimulated with the help of CBD, bones are more likely to keep their function over many the years.
Generally, the ECS consists of cannabinoid receptors that can be activated by multiple elements, like CBD. The endocannabinoids are essentially generated and regraded by some types of enzymes, and this gives the system a part in controlling some important activities. As a result, reduced numbers of these endocannabinoid receptors are connected to the development of osteoporosis.
Medical Findings: Effects of Cannabinoids and CBD on Osteoporosis
Various studies have been published reporting that CBD could be a positive treatment option in the case of osteoporosis. In 2015, a study published by Kogan et al. found that rats who were treated with CBD had a significant increase in the maximal load on the bones. Researchers also found that CBD could speed up the process involved in fracture healing. In 2007, a study was done by Bib and Zimmer also found that CBD excels when it comes to healing bones.
A recent study that was conducted by French medical scientists suggests that human bones contain a higher level of ligands and endocannabinoids than brain cells. In addition, a naturally generated endocannabinoid that is found in the body, known as anandamide could affect the bone tissues. Anandamide helps in binding to those CB2 receptors. They also reported that CBD can imitate anandamide, and therefore positively affect bone health in people who suffer from osteoporosis.
Lastly, a study that was done by Idris Al explored the important role of cannabinoid receptors in the treatment of osteoporosis. The results suggest that CBD could affect bone metabolism and ligands. Thus, products could be used for bone issues since they may be applied to exploit cannabinoid receptors for targeting anti-resorptive and anabolic therapy.
Medical Benefits of Using CBD to Treat Osteoporosis
At present, the approved medication for treating osteoporosis is bisphosphonates. Unfortunately, these drugs have serious side effects, including abnormal heartbeat, nausea, esophageal inflammation, or even bone damage to the jaw. Even if a person is up for dealing with these side effects, there are no apparent treatment benefits in the long-run. After a few years, patients run the risk of developing brittle bones or potentially, related bone fracture – even if they are on bisphosphonates.
However, CBD could be the treatment that everyone has been waiting for. CBD is a plant-based vitamin that comes with no risk of addiction or adverse side effects. CBD will not get you high, and a rising number of studies show that it has the potential to mitigate the onset, progression, and devastation that is caused by osteoporosis.
How to Take CBD for Osteoporosis
Taking CBD has the potential to counteract the degenerative effects associated with osteoporosis in the bones, while also reducing inflammation and pain throughout the body. It’s important that you take CBD regularly. Here are a few of the best ways to consume CBD for osteoporosis:
- CBD drops under the tongue: The best way to ingest CBD for this condition is said to be by dropping CBD oil under the tongue using the dropper lid that is provided. The saliva in the mouth works by breaking down the oil for digestion, and it then starts to absorb into the bloodstream. Generally, any substance that is absorbed in the mouth, specifically under the tongue, will work faster than swallowing it whole. But both methods work well.
- CBD capsules: Capsules are great for those who don’t like the taste of the oil or find it tedious to drop multiple drops under the tongue, and would prefer just to swallow a pill. Capsules are also the easiest way to maintain a consistent dosage.
- CBD gummies: Eating gummies makes the osteoporosis remedy a treat. Consuming medicine for any health condition should, in fact, be a positive experience in both the body and mind. This is a holistic approach.
When it comes to CBD dosing, the dosage of CBD needed to treat osteoporosis or any condition for that matter, can vary a lot since we are all different in terms of our medical condition and the level of intensity. Guidelines are just for reference. It’s typically advised that you start off small and increase the dosage gradually until you achieve the desired results.
You should always first try the standard dose that is given on the CBD products label. It’s typically a conservative estimate of how much the average person would need. On average, 25mg of CBD daily should be enough for most people.
Final Thoughts on CBD for Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a condition that can hugely impact your life. While conventional treatments are available to help with the condition, research now suggests that CBD-based treatments could be highly effective. The other typically used treatments all seem to have severe problems related to them, but CBD appears to be the future.
As related to humans, there isn’t a lot of clinical research yet that confirms the use of CBD in treating osteoporosis. However, the idea of using animal data certainly anything new in medical research. What’s more, these studies have shown some pretty promising results.