Posted on Oct 27, 2023, 5 p.m.
Global estimates are that more than 178 million people suffer from bone fracture injuries annually. According to Reyad Elbarbary, the corresponding author of this study, and associate professor of orthopedics and rehabilitation at Penn State College of Medicine, current methods for managing pain, which are most often nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, are not optimal.
“NSAIDS may help patients manage pain, but they also reduce inflammation, which is a crucial first step in fracture healing,” Elbarbary said. “An alternative for pain management is needed that does not prevent inflammation from occurring.”
This study in mice unexpectedly found that two cannabinoids also promoted fracture healing: Cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabigerol (CBG). The primary goal was to measure the cannabinoids' separate abilities to alleviate pain. The first study was to analyze the cannabinoids in the context of fracture healing and pain management. This study revealed that both cannabinoids were comparable to NSAIDs in pain management, and it also revealed that both CBD and CBG helped with the fracture healing process.
The researchers studied the fracture healing process using immunofluorescence microscopy, biomechanical testing, and microcomputer tomography imaging technologies, looking at everything from bone density and bone strength to the expression of genes required for fracture healing. During early phases of treatment, the cannabinoids were associated with an increase in the presence of periosteal bone progenitors which later develop into specialized bone cells that help to form bone tissue. While during the later phase of healing the cannabinoids accelerated the process in which the body absorbs minerals to strengthen newly formed bones.
“Both treatments led to higher bone volume fraction and mineral density than with NSAID treatments, which leads to a functional and healthy newly formed bone,” Elbarbary said. “We still have a lot to learn about the biological mechanisms behind what we observed.”
“There is already robust safety information gathered on CBD,” Elbarbary explained. “CBG is more investigational at this stage. It’s more likely that CBD would be repurposed for treating fractures once a formulation is found and its efficacy for treatment in the context of bone fractures is determined.”
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement.
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