cannabinoids bone growth

CBD for Bone Growth: Helpful in Prevention & Treatment of Osteoporosis?

Now that many states are legalizing their use, cannabinoid products are the new hot medicinal tools. Many of my patients, myself included, are already utilizing these products or are curious about adding them into their routine to help them with a variety of issues:

  • Improving sleep

  • Decreasing anxiety

  • Reducing pain

And the fact that people are finding resolution or improved management of symptoms, makes sense. Humans are equipped with our own endocannabinoid system. It has been shown that we have receptors in the brain stem, the brain, bone and nerve cells. It is thought to be the system that creates homeostasis in the body with its interplay within the neuroendocrine system.1

Cannabinoid CB1 receptors (found mostly in the central nervous system) are associated with the psychoactive effects. The psychoactive responses of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are partially due to the agonist (a substance that initiates a physiological response when combined with a receptor) activity at the CB1 receptor site.

Cannabinoid CB2 (mostly found in the immune system, bone, brain, gastrointestinal system and peripheral nerves) agonists are not associated with the psychotropic effects. Thus selective CB2 agonists could be useful and safe opportunities to effect diseases that affect bone, nerves and the immune system, while also avoiding the psychotropic results.

There is strong support that the endocannabinoid system is a major regulator of bone turnover.  “Expression analysis shows that all components of the endocannabinoid system (receptors and biosynthetic and metabolic enzymes) are present in bone, and endocannabinoid measurements show that the levels in bone and brain tissues are similar.”3

CB2 receptors are mostly present on osteoblasts (bone building cells) and osteoclasts (bone resorbing cells). Activation of CB2 receptors enhances the proliferation of osteoblasts –thus increasing bone building and restrains osteoclastogenesis—thus reduces formation of osteoclasts. Osteoblasts and Osteoclasts synthesize the endocannabinoids anandamide (Ananda means Bliss in Sanskrit) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG).

cannabinoids for osteoporosis
Zimmer, A. 2016

Reduced CB2 activation noted in both mice and humans, results in lower bone density and may lead to osteoporosis. Activation of CB2 agonists, stimulates bone formation in animal models of osteoporosis.3

In one study, a CB2 agonist, HU-308, was used reduce bone loss induced by estrogen depletion in ovariectomised (ovaries removed, thus a hysterectomy type situation in humans) animals. They assessed whether it affected reversal of bone loss or helped to prevent bone loss. In either protocol, the attenuation of bone mass reflected both inhibition of bone resorption and stimulation of bone formation.2

 However, CB1 activation has been shown to also be important in bone turnover. While CB1 receptors are not present on bone cells (osteoblasts and osteoclasts), they are present on the sympathetic nerve fibers that innervate bones. “These fibres release norepinephrine, which restrains bone formation and stimulates bone resorption, through a mechanism involving the activation of β2-adrenergic receptors on osteoblasts. CB1 activation on sympathetic nerve endings by 2-AG, which is produced from closely apposed osteoblasts, inhibited norepinephrine release, thus alleviating the inhibitory sympathetic tone and stimulating bone formation.”3

“Cannabinoid signaling is thus involved in the central nervous systems regulation of bone remodeling via antagonistic sympathetic and parasympathetic nerve innervation.”3 This may be relevant in brain disorders with associated bone pathology such as major depression, which is often accompanied by a reduced bone mass.

Important information for young women, given the fact that up to age 20 are crucial years for bone growth:

They noted that human and animal studies have demonstrated low fetal growth during pregnancy with use of THC. So, they studied the effect of THC on young mice. They observed substantial decrease in femoral and vertebral length in the animals receiving THC. And this effect was linked to CB1, but not CB2 activation.3

So, there is evidence that bone health is attenuated by the endocannabinoid system. Most studies at this point have been done in animals, but there is evidence to demonstrate the effects in humans. More studies are bound to come out as regulations are lifted from studying the effects of CBD agonists on our own endocannabinoid systems. For now, I feel it’s safe enough to suggest as supplement for the possibility, but I would never make promises of improved bone health–but that goes for any supplement that I would recommend.

**Added 1/3/17 after hearing from responses asking for dosage and if it can really help osteoporosis in humans. My response: “I don’t know if it’s marketing, or just that we’re finally coming to understand the extent of the endocannabinoid system, as regulations are eased in terms of both use and research. I would love to have more human studies, both research and anecdotal. I don’t think we’re there yet, as these products are only recently (I mean last 10 years) being studied and made readily available to the consumer. Also, we have to remember that bone health is complex and multi factorial. We need a combination of the right formulas to have success (nutrients, exercise, stress reduction, digestion, and apparently the endocannabinoid system). There are other ways to activate the endocannabinoid system, such as exercise, which is now thought to be the source of the ‘runners high’.”


I welcome your feedback and if you find this information helpful, please share with your colleagues, friends and family. I would be interested in knowing if you have tried cannabinoid products, for what, and how they are helping.   Contact Tianna if you are searching for how you obtain a good quality Nano-Enhanced Hemp Oil to assist in your wellness plans going forward.

CBD for bone health

My preferred choice. Click the image for ordering info

better bones challenge


  1. Dr Jeff Chen, UCLA interview, (2017, November 06). Medical Cannabis #FFin30
    [Functional Forum]. Retrieved December 27, 2017, from
  2. Idris, A. I., Sophocleous, A., Landao-Bassonga, E., Hof, R. J., & Ralston, S. H. (2008). Regulation of Bone Mass, Osteoclast Function, and Ovariectomy-Induced Bone Loss by the Type 2 Cannabinoid Receptor.  Endocrinology, 149(11), 5619-5626. doi:10.1210/en.2008-0150
  3. Zimmer, A. (2016). A collaboration investigating endocannabinoid signalling in brain and bone. Journal of Basic and Clinical Physiology and Pharmacology, 27(3). doi:10.1515/jbcpp-2015-0125
  4. Bab, I., Ofek, O., Tam, J., Rehnelt, J., & Zimmer, A. (2008). Endocannabinoids and the Regulation of Bone Metabolism. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 20(S1), 69-74. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2826.2008.01675.x
  5. Also, find more information about research being done at UCLA for more scientific information vs general information found on cannabis business sites. Click HERE and FREE access videos from MD researchers at UCLA

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