Thursday, August 13, 2009
Marijuana May Prevent Bone Loss According to BBC
Cannabis may prevent osteoporosis
Published: 2009/08/13 10:00:09 GMT
Researchers looking at the effects of cannabis on bones have found its
impact varies dramatically with age.
The study found that while the drug may reduce bone strength in the
young, it could protect against osteoporosis, a weakening of the bones,
in later life.
The results were uncovered by a team at the University of Edinburgh who
compared the drug's effects on mice.
Osteoporosis affects up to 30% of women and about 12% of men at some
point in their lives.
The group found that cannabis can activate a molecule found naturally in
the body that is key to the development of osteoporosis.
When the type 1 cannabinoid receptor (CB1) comes into contact with
cannabis, it has an impact on bone regeneration.
However, until now, it was not clear whether the drug had a positive or
Researchers, funded by the Arthritis Research Campaign, investigated
this using mice which lacked the CB1 receptor.
The scientists then used compounds - similar to those in cannabis - that
activated the CB1 receptor.
They found that compounds increased the rate at which bone tissue was
destroyed in the young.
Despite this, the study also showed that the same compounds decreased
bone loss in older mice and prevented the accumulation of fat in the
bones, which is known to occur in humans with osteoporosis.
Stuart Ralston, the Arthritis Research Campaign Professor of
Rheumatology at the University of Edinburgh, who led the study, said:
"This is an exciting step forward, but we must recognise that these are
early results and more tests are needed on the effects of cannabis in
humans to determine how the effects differ with age in people.
"We plan to conduct further trials soon and hope the results will help
to deliver new treatments that will be of value in the fight against
The results are published in Cell Metabolism.
http://news. bbc.co.uk/ 2/hi/uk_news/ scotland/ edinburgh_ and_east/ 8199007.s\