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CBD (cannabidiol) is a natural remedy that’s becoming more and more popular.

People take it to help ease symptoms from a variety of health conditions, like:

With research around possible CBD benefits growing, you may wonder how it could help with a condition like osteoporosis. However, there’s limited research in this area for the time being. It likely won’t hurt to try CBD, but it’s important that you still follow your doctor’s treatment plan as well. And do not expect a “miracle cure” after taking CBD.

Keep reading to learn more about the research and about taking CBD.

Osteoporosis is a condition that affects bone health. It causes bones to weaken, thin, and become more brittle.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says around 20 percent of women and 5 percent of men 50 years and older have osteoporosis.

Usually, it’s hard to tell if you have weak or brittle bones until after an injury. You might only become aware that you have osteoporosis after breaking a bone, commonly a hip or wrist.

However, if you do experience symptoms, some early signs of bone loss could be:

  • Weakened nail strength. One mark of bone health is how strong or brittle your nails are. Of course, other things can affect your fingernails, like frequently exposing them to chemicals and tools like polish remover and acrylic nails. Even keeping your nails in water for extended periods and exposing them to extreme temperatures can affect their strength.
  • Lower grip strength. One 2018 study on postmenopausal women saw a link between weak handgrip strength and low bone mineral density. It’s important to point out that weaker grip strength can boost the risk of falling.
  • Receding gum line. If your jaw loses bone, it’s possible for your gums to recede as a result. Your dentist can screen for bone loss in the jaw.

After bone mass has lowered, there may be clearer signs or symptoms of osteoporosis.

These later symptoms can include:

Visiting your doctor is the first step to finding out if you have osteoporosis.

Your doctor will likely do a physical exam, run blood tests, check your urine, and review your medical history.

From there, your doctor may decide to test for osteoporosis by performing a bone density test called bone densitometry. This pain-free test is also known as dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA). It takes about 10 to 30 minutes.

Osteoporosis has a number of causes and risk factors.

Osteoporosis may be caused by using injected or long-term oral medications. These include corticosteroids like prednisone and cortisone. Certain medical conditions, like hyperthyroidism, may also cause osteoporosis.

Age is the largest risk factor for osteoporosis. Other major risk factors include:

There is only limited research on CBD’s effectiveness for osteoporosis right now.

The first thing to know about research in this area is that CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system. This is a complicated cell-signaling system that has a hand in regulating a number of bodily functions, including:

  • sleep
  • mood
  • memory

Some 2012 research suggests the skeletal endocannabinoid system plays a role in bone mass regulation.

Although evidence comes from preclinical studies, animal research from 2020 has shown that CBD may boost bone healing by activating cannabinoid receptors.

A 2020 review also found that CBD treatment improved bone healing, but this research needs to be validated in clinical trials.

As we wait for clinical trials, it’s still important to take any supplements or medications prescribed by your doctor. Do not rely on CBD alone as a treatment for improving bone health. It’s especially important that CBD isn’t viewed as a “cure-all” for any medical condition, including osteoporosis.

If you have osteoporosis, your doctor may prescribe medication for you or suggest you take certain supplements.

If that’s the case, be sure to talk with your doctor before adding CBD to your routine. CBD may interact with some medications or supplements.

Additionally, do not stop taking anything your doctor prescribes without talking with them first.

Some users may experience side effects from CBD. These are usually mild and may include:

  • fatigue
  • diarrhea
  • changes in appetite
  • changes in weight

CBD is everywhere, from your local grocery store to even your pet store (CBD for dogs is a thing). While finding CBD products is easy, finding the safest, best quality CBD products requires a little elbow grease.

There are a few rules of thumb to follow to make sure your product is high quality. These are especially important since over-the-counter CBD products aren’t tested or approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

If you’re looking to take CBD oil as an an add-on to your osteoporosis treatment plan, here are the best ways to shop for it:

  • Shop from transparent companies. The most trustworthy brands are transparent about their products, offering straightforward information about where and how their products are made. You shouldn’t have to dig for this information. This also means it’s best to buy from the brands directly, not from online marketplaces. This especially means no Amazon shopping for CBD. Amazon doesn’t permit CBD sales. If you find CBD products on Amazon, they’re probably fake or unsafe items.
  • Look at product testing. It’s important that your brand show you up-to-date testing information for the exact item you’re considering. This means you should be able to see the product’sup-to-date, comprehensive certificate of analysis (COA) from a reputable third-party lab. The COA will display information like how much CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) the product contains. This is also where you can check whether or not the item has undergone testing for contaminants, like mold, pesticides, and heavy metals.
  • Do a Google search of the brand. There are some red flags to look out for that you can easily spot online. Has this company received any warning letters from the FDA? Do they have any ongoing or prior lawsuits? What are buyers saying about the brand? A quick search can save you time and money, and help you find a better brand if you need to.
  • Look at the ingredients. Do you see anything you may have an allergic reaction to? Does this product include any extra ingredients that may be helpful for the ailment you’re looking to treat?

Shop our picks for the best CBD oils.

There are all sorts of ways to take CBD. Things like form and dosage will depend partly on your preferences, experience with CBD, and what your doctor suggests.

Here are a few other factors that will come into play:

  • your body weight
  • the concentration of the CBD you’re taking
  • the reason you’re taking CBD

For beginners, it’s best to start by using the smallest dose you can. This way, you can see how your body reacts to CBD. From there, you can slowly find your best dose and concentration.

There is no shortage of ways to take CBD. Some popular options include:

  • Creams, balms, and lotions. These are a good choice for those looking to apply CBD directly to the area they want to treat. It’s easy to work your way up dosage-wisewith topicals, too. You generally just apply these types of CBD topicals like you would a typical cream or balm: by massaging it, adding more as you think is necessary.
  • Oils and tinctures. Tinctures and oils are popular, though measuring your dose can get a little messy. You can apply your oil directly under your tongue or add it to food and beverages. The best practice is to hold the oil in your mouth for up to 1 minute before ingesting it.
  • Pills, gummies, and capsules. These work well for people who don’t want to measure oil and plan on using their CBD on the go. You simply check your label carefully for dose information and take the recommended amount by mouth, like any other capsule or gummy.

While a limited amount of animal research suggests CBD may be able to improve bone health, more studies are still needed to confirm its effectiveness in helping osteoporosis.

Of course, CBD is largely popular for its help with easing pain. This may help some osteoporosis symptoms, like back and neck pain.

However, CBD doesn’t compare with traditional treatments, which are backed by a lot more research. These treatments include medications prescribed by your doctor, such as:

  • bisphosphonates
  • antibody drugs
  • hormone-related medications or hormone therapy, also known as hormone replacement therapy

Your doctor may suggest vitamins and supplements, like calcium and vitamin D. They might also recommend calcium-rich foods, including:

Lifestyle changes like getting regular exercise may also boost bone strength, lower your risk of falls, and improve your posture.

Is CBD oil any good for osteoporosis?

Limited research suggests that CBD may improve bone healing by activating cannabinoid receptors. However, more research is needed. It’s important to talk with your doctor about other traditional treatment options like prescription medications, vitamins, or lifestyle changes.

How do you take CBD oil?

You can take CBD oil sublingually, or under the tongue. You’ll use the included dropper to place the dose under your tongue and hold it there before swallowing.

You can also add CBD oil to food or drinks.

CBD is used to help relieve many ailments and is available in a variety of forms. Research on how CBD can help osteoporosis is limited.

CBD is not a cure for osteoporosis. Talk with your doctor and keep other medications and lifestyle changes in mind. Don’t take CBD without first talking with your doctor.

Is CBD legal? The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the legal definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. This made some hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3% THC legal at the federal level. However, CBD products containing more than 0.3% THC still fall under the legal definition of marijuana, making them illegal at the federal level. Some states have legalized CBD, so be sure to check state laws, especially when traveling. Also, keep in mind that the FDA has not approved nonprescription CBD products, and some products may be inaccurately labeled.