A visitor looks at a skeleton at the Bodyworlds exhibition in the Menschen Museum (Human Museum) in Berlin, Germany, on Feb. 18, 2015. (Adam Berry, Getty Images)

Study finds cannabis compound CBD can help heal bones

There’s yet another use for marijuana: It may help to heal broken bones, according to a new study.

Researchers found that cannabidiol — an element of marijuana that does not get people high — improved the healing process in rats with broken leg bones after eight weeks, according to a study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research by Tel Aviv University and Hebrew University.

Yankel Gabet of Tel Aviv’s Bone Research Laboratory who led the study, said it found that the element “makes bones stronger during healing,” which could prevent future fractures. This process occurs as cannabidiol, or CBD, enhances the maturation of collagen, the protein in connective tissue that “holds the body together.”

“After being treated with CBD, the healed bone will be harder to break in the future,” Gabet said in a news release.

The results of the study provide another glimpse into the potential health benefits of marijuana. Medicinal marijuana is already used to reduce some of the effects associated with chemotherapy in cancer patients. It is also used as treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and nine states have PTSD on their list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana (Colorado’s board of health voted July 15 against adding PTSD to the state’s medical marijuana program).

In earlier research, Gabet’s team learned that the body’s cannabinoid receptors “stimulated bone formation and inhibited bone loss.” Those findings open doors to how marijuana could treat osteoporosis and other bone-related diseases, the researchers say.

Marijuana is still largely illegal across the world and in the United States. But marijuana prescribed for medical uses is legal in 23 states and the District of Columbia.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug “with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse” alongside heroin and LSD. Although that classification is unlikely to change this year, attempts and events that challenge marijuana’s status in the nation have not gone unnoticed.

According to Gabet, “there is still a lot of work to be done to develop appropriate therapies” in using marijuana medically, but “it is possible to detach a clinical therapy objective” from the mood-changing aspects of the stoner’s plant.

“The clinical potential of cannabinoid-related compounds is simply undeniable at this point.”