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Groundbreaking Penn State Study Reveals Cannabinoids’ Potential in Fracture Healing

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HERSHEY, Pa. — A recent study conducted at Penn State suggests that Cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabigerol (CBG) may hold promise for bone fracture patients, not only in managing pain but also in promoting the healing process. Published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, the study unveils unexpected findings that could revolutionize pain management and fracture recovery.

Researchers, led by corresponding author Reyad Elbarbary, Associate Professor of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation at Penn State College of Medicine, aimed to evaluate the pain-alleviating properties of CBD and CBG in mice. Surprisingly, they discovered that these cannabinoids not only compared favorably to traditional pain management drugs but also played a significant role in enhancing fracture healing.

With over 178 million people worldwide suffering from bone fractures annually, Elbarbary highlighted the limitations of current pain management methods, particularly nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin. While NSAIDs help manage pain, they also impede the inflammation crucial for fracture healing, necessitating an alternative approach.

The research team employed immunofluorescence microscopy, microcomputer tomography imaging, and biomechanical testing to dissect the entire fracture healing process. The early phase of treatment with cannabinoids showcased an increase in periosteal bone progenitors, which later developed into specialized bone cells crucial for tissue formation. Additionally, CBD and CBG accelerated the absorption of minerals during the later healing phase, reinforcing newly formed bone.

Elbarbary emphasized that both CBD and CBG treatments surpassed NSAID treatments in terms of bone volume fraction and mineral density, resulting in functional and healthy newly formed bone. While acknowledging the need for further research into the biological mechanisms behind these observations, Elbarbary expressed optimism about the future.

Future research will delve into defining the cellular and molecular processes guiding cannabinoids' roles in both early and late-stage fracture healing. The team aims to develop a clinical formulation suitable for use in adult fracture patients. While CBD is already FDA-approved for treating seizures in children, finding the right formulation for adults in the context of bone fractures remains a crucial next step.

“There is already robust safety information gathered on CBD,” explained Elbarbary. “CBG is more investigational at this stage. It's more likely that CBD would be repurposed for treating fractures once a formulation is found and its efficacy for treatment in the context of bone fractures is determined.” This groundbreaking study opens new avenues for cannabis-derived compounds in fracture management, offering hope for improved pain relief and accelerated healing.


Lydia K. (Bsc. RN) is a cannabis writer, which, considering where you’re reading this, makes perfect sense. Currently, she is a regular writer for Mace Media. In the past, she has written for MyBud, RX Leaf & Dine Magazine (Canada), CBDShopy (UK) and Cannavalate & Pharmadiol (Australia). She is best known for writing epic news articles and medical pieces. Occasionally, she deviates from news and science and creates humorous articles. And boy doesn't she love that! She equally enjoys ice cream, as should all right-thinking people.