Cannabidiol administration reduces sublesional cancellous bone loss in rats with severe spinal cord injury

Eur J Pharmacol. 2017 Aug 15;809:13-19. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2017.05.011. Epub 2017 May 4.


Patients with spinal cord injury (SCI) undergo severe loss of bone mineral below the level of lesion, and data on available treatment options after SCI is scarce. The aim of this work was to investigate the therapeutic effect of cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive cannabis, on sublesional bone loss in a rat model of SCI. The adult male rats were exposed to surgical transection of the cord and treated with CBD for consecutive 14 days. It was found that CBD treatment elevated the serum levels of osteocalcin, reduced the serum levels of collagen type I cross-linked C-telopeptide, and enhanced bone mineral density of tibiae and femurs. Treatment of SCI rats with CBD enhanced bone volume, trabecular thickness, and trabecular number, and reduced trabecular separation in proximal tibiae, and increased ultimate compressive load, stiffness, and energy to max force of femoral diaphysis. Treatment of SCI rats with CBD upregulated mRNA expression of alkaline phosphatase and osteoprotegerin and downregulated mRNA expression of receptor activator of NF-κB ligand and tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase in femurs. Furthermore, treatment of SCI rats with CBD enhanced mRNA expression of wnt3a, Lrp5 and ctnnb1 in femurs. In conclusion, CBD administration attenuated SCI-induced sublesional cancellous bone loss.

Keywords: Bone loss; Cannabidiol; Spinal cord injury; Wnt/β-catenin.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cancellous Bone / drug effects*
  • Cancellous Bone / metabolism
  • Cancellous Bone / pathology
  • Cannabidiol / administration & dosage
  • Cannabidiol / pharmacology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Male
  • Osteoblasts / drug effects
  • Osteoblasts / pathology
  • Osteoclasts / drug effects
  • Osteoclasts / pathology
  • Osteoporosis / drug therapy*
  • Osteoporosis / etiology*
  • Osteoporosis / metabolism
  • Osteoporosis / pathology
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / complications*
  • Tibia / drug effects
  • Tibia / metabolism
  • Tibia / pathology


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Cannabidiol