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Impact of cannabis on bones changes with age

We always hear about the dangers of cannabis, but new research has shown that it may have unforeseen benefits for your bones. Research, funded by the Arthritis Research Campaign, has found that cannabis can activate a molecule that may determine the development of osteoporosis.Osteoporosis is a potentially debilitating disease affecting almost 3 million people in the UK and can be caused by the decreased rate of bone regeneration in older people. It has previously been recognised that when the cannabinoid receptor type 1 comes into contact with cannabis, bone development can be affected. Whether this impact is beneficial or not was yet to be elucidated. Now, a team at the University of Edinburgh, led by Stuart Ralston, has discovered that this depends upon the age of the user.Mice deficient in the cannabinoid receptor type 1, were exposed to compounds similar to those found in cannabis, and it was found that in young mice, the compounds increased the rate at which bone tissue was destroyed. In the older mice however, their bone loss decreased.Stuart Ralston 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 osteoporosis."
Katherine Staines


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