A Scottish study recently suggests people who are considered heavy cannabis smokers are twice as likely to suffer a broken bone compared to people who only smoke tobacco cigarettes.
Well, is that because people get so stoned they fall over their own feet and break their bones, or because the cannabis caused their bones to be less dense? CBS News reports on a Lenox Hill Hospital Center for Joint Preservation and Reconstruction in New York City study that concludes: “heavy marijuana use does not promote bone health”.
Ah! But last year’s science said cannabidiol is good for the bones, “No bones about it: Cannabis may be used to treat fractures”.
The study, published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research by Tel Aviv University and Hebrew University, showed that the administration of the non-psychotropic component cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) significantly helped heal bone fractures. The study was conducted on rats with mid-femoral fractures and found that CBD remarkably enhanced the healing process of the femora in just eight weeks.
The same team, led by Dr. Yankel Gabet of the Bone Research Laboratory at the Department of Anatomy and Anthropology and late Prof. Itai Bab of Hebrew University’s Bone Laboratory, discovered in an earlier study that cannabinoid receptors in the body stimulate bone formation, and inhibit bone loss. These studies paved the way for possible cannabinoid products to be used in preventing osteoporosis and other bone disease.
Clinical potential is undeniable
Dr. Gabet said the clinical potential is undeniable, although there is still a lot of work to be done to develop the specific appropriate therapies. He declared at the time that CBD is primarily an anti-inflammatory.
Back to the Scottish study, why would a study compare heavy marijuana smokers to heavy cigarette smokers and not non-smokers?
There have been studies proving toxins in tobacco smoke weaken bones by affecting the activity of osteoblasts. The study was done by Gary Guishan Xiao and published in ACS’ Journal of Proteome Research. It concluded that cigarette smoke makes people produce excessive amounts of two proteins that trigger a natural body process that breaks down bone.
It is almost as if the Scottish study wants to say “You think cigarettes are bad, wait until you see what pot does to your bones!”
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No prove of cause-and-effect
Our Scottish scientists did admit that, due to the study’s design, they could not prove a cause-and-effect relationship between pot smoking and bone density. An independent replication in another data set would be very important.
And as professor Mitch Earleywine commented, a sample like this termed ‘very heavy cannabis use across the lifetime’ might disguise other factors such as exercise or dietary issues, which could certainly contribute and explain low bone density.
Dr. Mone Zaidi, professor at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, said the study could urge heavy cannabis users to have a bone density test done to see if they’re at risk for osteoporosis or fractures.
It’s all up in smoke – not to mention cannabidiol
It seems a smoke screen is being created to take the attention from the medicinal value of cannabidiol or CBD in hemp as attention on marijuana smoking takes the negative spotlight yet again. After all, there is a big difference between medicinal use and recreational use.