From Healing Bones to Reducing Prescription Painkiller Deaths; New Medical Cannabis Research

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It wasn’t that long ago that you wouldn’t have found many news articles about medical cannabis research. Of, course that doesn’t mean that research wasn’t being done. If you’re an Oaksterdam University alum, you’ve learned about the significant research already conducted on the health benefits of cannabis–in fact, anyone can view the some of the existing results from research conducted around the world on the NORML website.

But as more people become open to legalizing medical marijuana, the relevant research results are making their way to news media outlets. This is exciting for those of us who advocate for wider use of medical cannabis. It seems fitting, then, to share recent research findings on Cannabis Industry Today as well as reintroduce existing research that may not have been shared with the general public.

Some of the most exciting research to be published this month comes from Dr. Yankel Gabet at the Tel Aviv University. A dentist and scientist, Dr. Gabet has been researching bone metabolism and implants for more than a decade. The Journal of Bone and Mineral Research recently published his results showing that cannabis can help heal broken bones and speed up the healing of broken bones. More specifically, he learned that cannabidiol or CBD, the non-psychotropic element in the cannabis plant, significantly sped up the healing process for fractured bones in rats after eight weeks.

Dr. Gabet studied two sets of rats; one set was injected with CBD and the other was injected with CBD and THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, the psycho-active element in cannabis. In the group of rats being treated with CBD alone, the CBD acted as an anti-inflammatory compound. It actually strengthened the fractured bones by promoting the maturation of collagen, which forms a key structural component in bones, tendons and ligaments. The combination of CBD and THC did not provide any additional advantages.

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Osteoporosis and other degenerative bone diseases could be treated with medical cannabis.

According to Dr. Gabet, being treated with CBD also makes the bone harder to break in the future. The human body has receptors that are sensitive to cannabis and boost bone formation and limit bone loss. In medical doses, cannabis is capable of treating osteoporosis and other degenerative bone diseases.

Managing chronic pain with cannabis has already been studied and shown to be effective. Yet, prescription opioids used to help “kill pain” are now considered an “epidemic” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the CDC, not only are painkillers addictive, they are also deadly with 16,000 people killed in 2013 alone.

In a new working paper published in the National Bureau of Economic Research has found that access to medical dispensaries decreased the number of painkiller substance abuse admissions by 15% to 35%.

In conducting their research, scientists used two measures of problematic use: treatment admissions for opioid painreliever addiction from the Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) and state-level opioid overdose deaths in the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS). They found that states permitting medical marijuana dispensaries experience a relative decrease in both opioid addictions and opioid overdose deaths compared to states that do not and suggest that providing broader access to medical marijuana may have the potential benefit of reducing abuse of highly addictive painkillers.

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