According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF), an estimated 44 million people aged 50+ have either osteoporosis or are at risk of developing the condition. This figure represents 55% of the 50+ population, and the number of people at risk is increasing rapidly.
Prescription medication is one of the treatment options given to osteoporosis patients. However, CBD, especially topicals, may ease some of the symptoms of this condition and help to improve bone health.
In this article, we’ll cover recent medical research and whether or not CBD can be used to mitigate symptoms for osteoporosis and help to increase bone health.
What Causes Osteoporosis?
The word osteoporosis means porous bones, and it occurs when the bones weaken over time, increasing the risk of fractures. Worldwide, osteoporosis causes 8.9 million fractures annually.
Osteoporosis can be caused by a number of things, including nutritional and hormonal factors. It’s also related to the normal breakdown of bone, which happens in every person. Human bones are broken down and repeatedly replaced throughout life in a process called bone remodeling. The loss of bone mass occurs when the bones’ breakdown happens at a faster rate than the replacement.
Eventually, the bones lose calcium faster than they can replace it, so the bones become less dense. In women, bone mass loss accelerates after menopause.
Certain medical conditions increase the likelihood of a bone breakdown. Such conditions include Cushing’s syndrome, overactive thyroid, and kidney disease.
While it is impossible to reverse the osteoporosis process completely, there are ways to slow down bone density loss. A change in lifestyle may be necessary. Often, those at risk need to increase the amount of calcium and vitamin D in their diet. They should also avoid alcohol and caffeine as much as possible.
Helpful food and drink choices include
- fatty fish
- leafy green vegetables
In addition to eating well, exercise can help strengthen the bones. Sensible options include fast walking, climbing stairs, step aerobics, racquet sports, and dancing.
Living with Osteoporosis
As people age, falls become a real danger. If they have low bone mass, a fall could cause a severe injury such as a broken or fractured hip.
At-risk individuals should ensure their home is safe by removing clutter from stairs and walkways to prevent falls. They should also place non-slip mats in the bathroom and use an adhesive to ensure rugs stay firmly on the ground.
Conventional Osteoporosis Treatments & Their Side Effects (Not CBD)
There is also an array of prescription drugs that may slow down the breakdown of bone mass. The bisphosphonates family of drugs is popular and includes Boniva, Zometa, and Actonel.
However, bisphosphonates do not have a high level of efficacy. This type of medication can also cause serious side effects such as esophageal ulcers, atypical femur fractures, skin rash, and low calcium in the blood. It may also cause bone, joint, and muscle pain. CBD may help to counter some of these effects.
How Does CBD Help With Osteoporosis & Bone Health?
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a significant role in maintaining the health of the bones. While the stresses of daily life take their toll, the ECS facilitates the bone remodeling process.
According to a 2011 article published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, fatty acid amides (FAAs) interact with the body’s cannabinoid receptors and improve the bone remodeling process.
CBD & Osteoporosis Research
A 2015 study looked at the impact of CBD on the healing of fractures. It looked at rats, and over eight weeks, the study determined that CBD may markedly increase the maximal load and work-to-failure rates of the rats when the compound was injected into their femurs.
Why Choose CBD For Osteoporosis & Bone Health?
While there is no cure for osteoporosis, eating a healthy diet, and engaging in regular exercise can help to slow down the rate of bone loss. Prescription medicines are also a hallmark of therapy. However, they can come with a wide range of symptoms ranging from mild to severe.
There is increasing evidence that the endocannabinoid system may play a role in bone remodeling related to osteoporosis. Whether CBD use has any effects on bone health in humans, though, is to be determined.
Final Thoughts on CBD, Osteoporosis & Bone Health
Unfortunately, there is no way to defeat the aging process. Although experts are not yet able to reverse osteoporosis, CBD may be able to play a role. It is available in various forms, including oils, vape juice, edibles, and even balms, and doesn’t have intoxicating or mind-altering effects.
For those with osteoporosis choosing to opt for CBD, cannabidiol topicals may be the best choice as they can be applied to a targeted area that might be tender or painful. CBD tinctures, on the other hand, are consumed sublingually and provide less of a targeted impact.
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