Osteoporosis is a bone disease that occurs when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or both. As a result, bones become weak and may break from a fall or, in serious cases, from sneezing or minor bumps.

Osteoporosis means “porous bone.” Viewed under a microscope, healthy bone looks like a honeycomb. When osteoporosis occurs, the holes and spaces in the honeycomb are much larger than in healthy bone. Osteoporotic bones have lost density or mass and contain abnormal tissue structure. As bones become less dense, they weaken and are more likely to break. If you’re 50 or older and have broken a bone, ask your doctor or healthcare provider about a bone density test.

Osteoporosis is often called a silent disease because one can’t feel bones weakening. Breaking a bone is often the first sign of osteoporosis or a patient may notice that he or she is getting shorter or their upper back is curving forward. If you are experiencing height loss or your spine is curving, be sure to consult your doctor or healthcare professional immediately.

There are many health problems and a few medical procedures that increase the likelihood of osteoporosis. If you have any of the following diseases or conditions, talk to your doctor or health care provider about what you can do to keep your bones healthy.

Autoimmune Disorders

⦁ Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
⦁ Lupus
⦁ Multiple sclerosis
⦁ Ankylosing spondylitis

Digestive and Gastrointestinal Disorders

⦁ Celiac disease
⦁ Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
⦁ Weight loss surgery

Medical Procedures

⦁ Gastrectomy
⦁ Gastrointestinal bypass procedures

Cancer

⦁ Breast cancer
⦁ Prostate cancer

Hematologic/Blood Disorders

⦁ Leukemia and lymphoma
⦁ Multiple myeloma
⦁ Sickle cell disease

Neurological/Nervous System Disorders

⦁ Stroke
⦁ Parkinson’s disease
⦁ multiple sclerosis (MS)
⦁ Spinal cord injuries

Blood and bone marrow disorders

⦁ Thalassemia
Mental Illness
⦁ Depression
⦁ Eating disorders

Endocrine/Hormonal Disorders

⦁ Diabetes
⦁ Hyperparathyroidism
⦁ Hyperthyroidism
⦁ Cushing’s syndrome
⦁ Thyrotoxicosis
⦁ Irregular periods
⦁ Premature menopause
⦁ Low levels of testosterone and estrogen in men

Other Diseases and Conditions

⦁ AIDS/HIV
⦁ Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including emphysema
⦁ Female athlete triad (includes loss of menstrual periods, an eating disorder and excessive exercise)
⦁ Chronic kidney disease
⦁ Liver disease, including biliary cirrhosis
⦁ Organ transplants
⦁ Polio and post-polio syndrome
⦁ Poor diet, including malnutrition
⦁ Scoliosis
⦁ Weight loss

Note: This list may not include all of the diseases and conditions that may cause bone loss. Talk to your doctor and ask if any of the conditions you have may be causing bone loss.

Can have no symptoms, but people may experience:

⦁ Back pain, caused by a fractured or collapsed vertebra
⦁ Loss of height over time
⦁ A stooped posture
⦁ A bone fracture that occurs much more easily than expected

Medical Marijuana Efficacy

In 2009, a group of researchers from the University of Edinburgh (UK) published a study in the journal Cell Metabolism that sheds light on the mechanism underlying treatment. It suggests that activation of the CB1 receptor is primarily responsible for the benefits of cannabis in the case of osteoporosis.

The University of Edinburgh research team investigated whether the endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a role in the condition. They used two groups of mice as models, one of which included rodents with no CB1 receptors.

According to their results, mice that were absent of CB1 receptors suffered from age-related osteoporosis, despite an increase in bone mass. The same group experienced a reduction in bone formation as well as increased fat accumulation in the “bone marrow space.”

Offering his take is the lead author of the study: Ayman Idris, Ph. D, “the CB1 receptor is therefore unique in that it regulates peak bone mass through an effect on osteoclast activity, but protects against age-related bone loss by regulating adipocyte and osteoblast differentiation of bone marrow stromal cells.”

THCV appears to stimulate bone growth, making it the primary cannabinoid in the research of osteoperosis and other degenerative bone diseases.

Official Research Reports

Cannabinoids and the skeleton: from marijuana to reversal of bone loss (Bab I, Zimmer A, Melamed E, 2009)