Bone density loss that comes with osteoporosis can spell disaster for many, but CBD oil is giving people a new reason to hope. Here’s what you should know. Research suggests CBD may help slow bone loss from osteoporosis. View the best CBD oils for bone health & what dose to take.
Osteoporosis & CBD Oil: Best Products & Research on Building Bone Density
Osteoporosis is a medical condition in which bone loss exceeds the creation of new bone. Literally translated as, “porous bones,” the bones of people with osteoporosis become increasingly brittle and fragile as density decreases. All of this puts osteoporosis suffers at an increased risk of bone fractures, but CBD oil may be able to help.
Bone is not a static system, but is continually undergoing change. Under the influence of hormones and stressors, new bone is continually laid down while old bone is lost, or resorbed.
In a healthy individual, the rate of bone turnover is equal, meaning that there is not a net gain or loss of bone tissue. In osteoporosis, there is a net loss of bone tissue, leaving bones brittle and susceptible to fracturing.
There is plenty of research that is ongoing but the information that we have so far points to a number of ways in which using CBD oil for osteoporosis could be beneficial.
Benefits of Using CBD Oil for Osteoporosis
Bisphosphonates is the class of medication most commonly prescribed for people with osteoporosis. Bisphosphonates do an excellent job of slowing or even preventing bone loss, though unfortunately, these results come with some less than pleasant side effects. Many who are prescribed bisphosphonates complain of nausea, abnormal heartbeat, dizziness, and pain. Although bisphosphonates are generally thought of as the gold standard in the treatment of osteoporosis, they are not always very effective and sometimes bone loss does still occur after a few years of taking them.
If you’re taking bisphosphonates and are considering adding CBD oil to your wellness regimen, first speak to your doctor, and keep this chart handy.
|Common Osteoporosis Medication||Potential Side Effects||Potential Side Effects of combining CBD Oil w/ Osteoporosis Medication||Potential Benefits of Using CBD Oil|
|Alendronate (Fosamax)||Chest pain; new or worsening heartburn; difficulty swallowing; new pain in thigh or hip; burning sensation under the ribs.||There are no known interactions between CBD oil and Alendronate but that does not mean they don’t exist. Always talk to your doctor before using CBD oil.||CBD oil has been shown to decrease bone loss.|
|Risedronate (Actonel)||Chest pain; new or worsening heartburn; difficulty swallowing; new pain in thigh or hip; burning sensation under the ribs.||There are no known interactions between CBD oil and Risedronate but that does not mean they don’t exist. Always talk to your doctor before using CBD oil.||CBD oil has been shown to reduce bone loss.|
|Ibandronate (Boniva)||Back pain; headache; redness or swelling in eyes; diarrhea; nausea; upset stomach; pain in arms and legs.||Reduction in nausea is a positive interaction between Boniva and CBD. Always talk to your doctor before using CBD oil.||CBD oil has been shown to reduce pain; inflammation; bone loss; and nausea.|
|Zoledronic acid (Reclast)||Nausea; fever; fatigue; anemia; vomiting; constipation; flu-like symptoms.||There are no known interactions between CBD oil and Zoledronic acid but that does not mean they don’t exist. Always talk to your doctor before using CBD oil.||CBD oil has been shown to reduce bone loss.|
|Raloxifene (Evista)||Potential for blood clots (pulmonary embolism and DVT) and stroke||There are no known interactions between CBD oil and Raloxifene but that does not mean they don’t exist. Always talk to your doctor before using CBD oil.||CBD oil has been shown to reduce bone loss.|
|Denosumab (Prolia; Xgeva)||Low calcium levels; weakness; constipation; back pain; anemia; diarrhea; pain in arms and legs.||There are no known interactions between CBD oil and Denosumab but that does not mean they don’t exist. Always talk to your doctor before using CBD oil.||CBD oil has been shown to reduce bone loss.|
|Teriparatide (Forteo)||Constipation; diarrhea; weakness; joint pain; muscle spasm. Maximum usage is 2 years.||There are no known interactions between CBD oil and Teriparatide but that does not mean they don’t exist. Always talk to your doctor before using CBD oil.||CBD oil has been shown to reduce bone loss.|
|Abaloparatide (Tymlos)||Dizziness; nausea; headache; fatigue; palpitations; vertigo; upper abdominal pain. Maximum usage is 2 years.||There are no known interactions between CBD oil and Abaloparatide but that does not mean they don’t exist. Always talk to your doctor before using CBD oil.||CBD oil has been shown to reduce bone loss.|
For those looking for a relatively worry-free alternative to bisphosphonates, and some of the other prescribed medications, cannabidiol (CBD) is an excellent option. CBD has very few side effects and is non-habit-forming. Additionally, research exists that supports using CBD oil as a way to slow, or even stop, the bone loss associated with osteoporosis.
Effectiveness of Using CBD Oil for Osteoporosis
To get an idea for how CBD may benefit those dealing with osteoporosis, it is helpful to understand what plays a part in bone density. Two different types of cells affect bone density: osteoclasts, which degrade bone, and osteoblasts, which help produce bone. It is the balance between these two cell types that maintains homeostasis in bone density.
Research has identified a cell receptor on osteoclasts that, when stimulated, speeds up bone degeneration. This receptor, called GPR55, was found to increase the rate of bone loss when artificially stimulated in studies.
Researchers then went on to attempt to find a chemical or compound which could block the GRP55 receptor, and one such compound that proved effective was CBD. Researchers found that CBD effectively blocked the GPR55 receptor, resulting in a significant reduction in bone degradation.
Further research confirms CBD’s role in affecting the balance between osteoclasts and osteoblasts in the bones. Supplementing with CBD appears to tip the balance towards osteoblast, or bone-building, activity, resulting in increased bone density!
In another study, CBD was found to increase the rate of bone healing in rats with fractured femurs. CBD did so by encoding enzymes that increased collagen cross-linking, which is associated with overall bone strength. The study concludes with, “Taken together, these data show that CBD leads to improvement in fracture healing and demonstrate the critical mechanical role of collagen crosslinking enzymes.”
As the research into CBD oil for osteoporosis continues, we will reach a greater understanding of all the ways CBD oil may be able to help. With the evidence available now, CBD oil appears to be a safe and natural way to prevent or reverse osteoporosis without the side effects of traditional treatments.
How to Take CBD Oil for Osteoporosis
The first step to using CBD oil for osteoporosis is speaking with your doctor. While CBD oil is generally considered safe, it can interact with certain prescription medications, yielding unwanted effects.
Once your doctor has cleared you for safe use, you’ll need to choose how you’d like to take your CBD. If you’re interested in trying CBD oil for osteoporosis, there are plenty of great options available. CBD is available in a variety of different preparations such as:
For osteoporosis, any of the above options should be effective. CBD topicals, like lotions or salves, will provide targeted, external relief for hours at a time. However, because they do not penetrate past the skin, you may want to supplement with a CBD inhalant, edible, or drops to up your bone density by targeting osteoclasts and osteoblasts in your bones. It will take some experimenting to find which CBD delivery method(s) are most comfortable and effective for your needs.
Note from the Medical Editor: As mentioned before, unless there are fractures present, osteoporosis doesn’t really cause pain on its own. I think the best method would be edibles or drops to ensure consistent levels of CBD acting on osteoblasts/clasts.
While you’re trying out different CBD products, it is important to understand that different delivery formats will have different onsets and each will have a different duration.
For example, CBD vape oils and CBD flower can go to work in a matter of minutes but their effects are often gone within an hour. Whereas a CBD edible or CBD oil capsule can be slow to take effect, typically about an hour to start feeling effects, but can last for up to 6 hours.
CBD oil tinctures and drops are a good middle-of-the-road option, typically taking about 30 minutes to show effects and lasting for 2 to 4 hours. CBD oil drops and tinctures offer the best dosage control, making it easier to increase or decrease your dose as needed.
You may find that it takes more than one product to achieve desired effect. It may be best to supplement daily with a CBD oil capsule or tincture and apply CBD cream to areas with constant osteoporosis pain. You can use a CBD vape to address sudden aches when they pop up.
Given CBD oil’s safety profile, you can experiment without too much fear that something will go wrong.
CBD Oil Dosage for Osteoporosis
When it comes to selecting a proper CBD oil dosage, unless your doctor has advised otherwise, it is recommended that you start slowly with the lowest recommended dose listed on your CBD oil product.
If you’re having trouble finding a good starting dose, at CBD Oil Review, we have analyzed hundreds of products and come up with the following:
The CBD Oil Review Serving Standard is 25 mg of CBD taken twice daily.
This dose should be effective for most people, though individual results may vary. If you’re not seeing the effects you desire, increase your dosage by 25 mg every 3-4 weeks until you’re seeing results.
For more information on CBD dosing, consider reading through our dosing guide here, or speak with a naturopathic doctor for the most personalized action plan for using CBD oil to manage osteoporosis.
- Matthew T. Drake et al. (2009) Bisphosphonates: Mechanism of Action and Role in Clinical Practice – National Center for Biotechnology Information https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2667901/
- Side Effects of Bisphosphonates (Alendronate, Ibandronate, Risedronate and Zoledronic Acid) – NOF https://www.nof.org/patients/treatment/medicationadherence/side-effects-of-bisphosphonates-alendronate-ibandronate-risedronate-and-zoledronic-acid/
- Beom-Jun Kim et al. (2018) Coupling factors involved in preserving bone balance – National Library of Medicine https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30515522/
- Lauren S Whyte et al. (2009) The putative cannabinoid receptor GPR55 affects osteoclast function in vitro and bone mass in vivo – National Library of Medicine https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19805329/
- Aymen I Idris Cannabinoid receptors as target for treatment of osteoporosis: a tale of two therapies – National Library of Medicine https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21358974/
- Natalya M Kogan et al. (2015) Cannabidiol, a Major Non-Psychotropic Cannabis Constituent Enhances Fracture Healing and Stimulates Lysyl Hydroxylase Activity in Osteoblasts – National Library of Medicine https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25801536/
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Estimates suggest more than 200 million people have osteoporosis around the world .
According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, osteoporosis is responsible for a staggering 8.9 million bone fractures annually — meaning there’s an osteoporotic fracture roughly every three seconds .
Often referred to as a “silent disease,” many people don’t realize they have the condition until a fracture occurs.
Here, we will discuss osteoporosis, current treatment options, and scientific research on how CBD can help.
MEDICALLY REVIEWED BY
Updated on June 05, 2021
Table of Contents
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How Does CBD Help With Osteoporosis?
CBD (cannabidiol) is the primary non-psychoactive compound in cannabis. It’s been shown to support bone metabolism indirectly through its effects on the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
The ECS is a complex network of receptors that work to regulate various aspects of our health — including the formation and degeneration of bone . Through this system, CBD is thought to help reduce bone loss and promote the regeneration of lost bone tissue.
CBD should always be used in combination with other therapies for maximum benefit. CBD is not a cure for osteoporosis, but can offer a powerful supportive role when used alongside other medications, supplements, and exercises.
The benefits of CBD oil for osteoporosis may include:
- May improve the density of bones
- Alleviates pain & inflammation
- Supports hormone balance
- Relieves pain from bone fractures
1. CBD May Improve Bone Density
Research has discovered that CBD appears to enhance the growth and strengthening of bones through accelerated osteoblast formation.
Researchers believe that osteoclasts — the cells that breakdown bone — have a cell receptor that, when activated, speeds up bone loss and degeneration. This receptor is known as GPR55. CBD has been shown to specifically block the activation of this receptor, reducing osteoclast activity .
Further, in a recent study in Israel, mice were given CBD or a combination of THC and CBD. The study found that the administration of CBD alone has significant effects on fracture healing with increased bone strength and toughness by stimulating Lysyl Hydroxylase — an enzyme involved in bone healing .
This research has given us a deeper insight into how CBD influences the body and opens up some exciting potential for further research.
2. CBD Alleviates Pain & Inflammation
CBD may have a therapeutic role in inflammation and healing. It has long been used by people with chronic pain and offers a non-habit-forming alternative to pain medications.
Many patients have reported replacing their prescription pain medications with CBD, with evidence that its use can help in the treatment of headaches, mental health disorders, insomnia, arthritis, and other chronic pain syndromes .
What’s The Dose of CBD Oil For Osteoporosis?
The key is to start low and go slow.
As yet, there are no standardized dosing guidelines for CBD use. CBD oil can come in many different strengths. As products vary greatly, it’s important to read the label of the specific product you are using.
When it comes to managing osteoporosis, the benefits will take several months before any change is noticed. We recommend starting with a moderate dosage (based on your weight using our CBD oil calculator below).
If you experience side-effects (more on this later), reduce the dose until they disappear.
CBD Oil Dosage Calculator
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Is CBD Oil Safe?
CBD is safe, even at high doses — but there are a few exceptions to be aware of.
According to the WHO, CBD oil, in its pure state, does not cause harm or have the potential for abuse — even at high doses .
If you’re using any prescription medications, or have underlying health issues, you should always speak with your doctor before taking CBD. Certain medications may interact with CBD and lead to side-effects.
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis means “porous bones.” It results in fragile bones. The weakness of the bones puts those affected at a higher risk of fractures.
As the bones become thinner, even a minor fall or bump can cause a serious injury.
Middle-aged women are at the highest risk — however, men are also affected.
The main concern most people have when talking about osteoporosis is the high risk of bone fracture. A fracture is a complete or partial break in a bone.
It’s estimated that 50% of women and 20% of men over the age of 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime .
With osteoporosis, the most common bones affected are the hip, wrists, and spine. Fractures and breaks can lead to chronic pain and mobility issues.
Understanding the Definitions
- Cortical bone — the hard outside layer of all bones and makes up most of your skull and ribs.
- Spongy bone — occurs inside the vertebrae and the ends of the long bones, such as the thigh bones.
- Osteoblasts — specialized cells involved in producing new bones.
- Osteoclasts — specialized cells involved in breaking down bones.
- Bone density — the amount of mineral content in a bone.
Symptoms of Osteoporosis
There are no specific symptoms of osteoporosis — the first sign is usually a bone fracture. There are other symptoms, but these can be difficult to identify.
Other signs and symptoms may include:
- Back pain
- Collapsed or fractured vertebra
- Loss of height
- Stooped posture
- Lowered grip strength
Menopause & Osteoporosis
In osteoporosis, there is a thinning of the cortical bone and reduced bone density and structure in the spongy bone. Menopause is one of the main causes of the condition.
Bone tissue is continuously broken down and replenished. It’s a regular cycle, fluctuating on both a daily and monthly basis — affected by things such as time of day, diet, and season.
Specialist cells within the bones called osteoblasts and osteoclasts are essential for these fluctuations in healthy bones. From birth to adolescence, more bone is formed than broken down.
By the end of adolescence, bone growth has completed. By your mid to late 20s, peak bone mass has been achieved.
The sex hormones estrogen and testosterone have a major role in maintaining healthy bones in both men and women.
In menopause, as estrogen levels drop, the balance of hormones that were working to control bone density begins to fall apart. The result is an acceleration in bone loss. Women can lose up to 10% of their total bone mass within the first five years of menopause.
Risk Factors for Osteoporosis
- A family history of osteoporosis
- Previous bone fractures
- Age — people over 50 are at the highest risk
- Early menopause — before the age of 45
- Weight — being overweight is a major risk factor
- Vitamin D — important in the maintenance of bone tissue
- Calcium intake — calcium is a key mineral in bone architecture
- Lack of exercise — weight-bearing exercises directly lower the risk of osteoporosis
- Smoking (linked with osteoporosis)
- Alcohol intake — over three standard drinks per day increases the risk of osteoporosis 
- Medications — such as corticosteroid use
- Medical conditions — such as thyroid problems, celiac disease, chronic liver disease, kidney disease, or rheumatoid arthritis
- Conditions that affect the absorption of nutrients — such as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, and other inflammatory bowel conditions
If osteoporosis is suspected, your doctor will most likely send you for a bone density scan.
This scan is used to measure bone mineral density (BMD). It is usually performed using a dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA). This is a non-invasive process where, for 10 to 15 minutes, a machine passes over your body while you lie flat on a table.
The bone density scan will give you a T-Score and Z-Score, used to determine your risk of developing a fracture and whether further tests are needed.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), your T-Score is classed as follows:
- -1.0 or above is normal bone density.
- Between -1.0 and -2.5 means you have low bone density or osteopenia.
- -2.5 or below is a diagnosis of osteoporosis.
The following procedures can also be performed to determine bone injury or fractures as a result of osteoporosis:
1. Bone X-Ray
Bone x-rays produce images of bones that aid in the diagnosis of fractured bones, which are sometimes a result of osteoporosis.
2. CT Scan
CT scans of the spine are used to assess alignment and fractures. They can be used to measure bone density and determine whether vertebral fractures are likely to occur.
3. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
An MRI of the spine is used to evaluate vertebral fractures for evidence of underlying diseases, such as cancer, and to assess the newness of the fracture.
How is Osteoporosis Treated?
Depending on how severe your osteoporosis is and your risk of bone fracture, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes to strengthen your bones.
Lifestyle changes can help to ensure both men and women take steps to prevent the risk of developing osteoporosis.
1. Lifestyle & Diet Changes
- Incorporate a varied diet with plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, and whole grains
- Avoid smoking
- Reducing alcohol intake
- Limit caffeine
- Do regular weight-bearing and strength-training activities
- Ensure adequate vitamin D and calcium intake
However, if your osteoporosis is more advanced, lifestyle changes alone may not be enough to help you strengthen your bones.
Prescription medications are standard care in the treatment of established osteoporosis. Their purpose is to either increase the formation of new bone or slow down the breakdown process.
However, they each come with their own set of side-effects and risks.
2. Bisphosphonate Medications
Bisphosphonates encourage bone density by slowing the breakdown of cells. You can take them with a combination of vitamin D and calcium supplements.
Side-Effects of Bisphosphonates:
3. Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators (SERMs)
SERMs mimic estrogen in the body, reducing bone loss and increasing bone formation.
Side-Effects of SERMs:
This is given via an injection under the skin twice a year. It slows down the breakdown of bone, resulting in higher bone mineral density and reduced fractures. It is often used as an alternative to bisphosphonates.
Side-Effects of Denosumab:
5. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
Doctors prescribe HRT for women during menopause when there is a drop in estrogen levels, increasing the risk of osteoporosis. However, HRT is no longer routinely recommended due to the increased risks with long-term use.
Side-Effects of HRT:
6. Testosterone Therapy
When testosterone levels are low in men, doses of testosterone are given by injection to improve bone density.
Side-Effects of Testosterone Therapy:
- Acne and oily skin
- Worsening of sleep apnea
- Increased risk of blood clots
- Increased risk of prostate abnormalities
- Enlarged breasts in men
- Decreased testicular tissue
- Increased aggression, mood swings
- Increased risk of heart disease and stroke (maybe)
Final Verdict: Using CBD for Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis can be a debilitating disease, and the fear of bone fracture can have a significant effect on one’s lifestyle and mobility.
While there is no cure, there is good evidence that CBD may be an effective treatment for osteoporosis by slowing down the progression of the disease and relieving pain.
These are very exciting times, especially as we look at CBD and the clinical research that’s still in its infancy regarding verifying its use in reducing bone loss and fracture.
Based on this information, CBD is seen as a safe, effective, all-natural therapeutic treatment for osteoporosis.