April 27, 2015, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Press Dispensary. A study of recreational cannabis use in a socially deprived area of Edinburgh, UK, has shown that heavy cannabis use is associated with an increased risk of bone fracture.
The findings of the Muirhouse study, conducted by researchers from the University of Edinburgh, were presented today by research fellow Dr Antonia Sophocleous at ECTS-IBMS 2015, the fourth joint meeting of the European Calcified Tissue Society (ECTS) and the International Bone and Mineral Society (IBMS) in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
Dr Sophocleous explained: “We recruited 263 subjects from the local community through advertisements, we measured their bone density and fat mass, and also recorded whether they had suffered fractures and their levels of cannabis use. The average age of participants was 44 years.
“We divided them into three groups based on lifetime amounts of cannabis taken. We found that heavy cannabis users had a lower fat mass than controls and a lower body weight. They were also significantly more likely to use other illicit drugs. Fractures were significantly more common in heavy cannabis users and they also tended to have lower bone mineral density.”
Dr Sophocleous concluded: “Although this is a complex situation it looks like heavy cannabis users are more prone to fractured bones and further work is in progress to determine why this happens.”
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Notes for editors
* About cannabinoid receptors and ligands
Cannabinoid receptors are more popularly known for managing the body’s response to the psychoactive effects of cannabis and the type 2 cannabinoid receptor (CB2) is proving to be a significant source of defence against osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis.
“Receptors are sites on the surface of cells that allow specific molecules to bind to them. Ligands are these specific molecules.” (Campbell, 1996).
About The European Calcified Tissue Society
The European Calcified Tissue Society (ECTS) is the major organisation in Europe for researchers and clinicians working in the field of calcified tissues and related fields. ECTS acts as a forum for the dissemination of high quality research through its annual meeting, the European Symposium on Calcified Tissues, and through training courses and workshops.
Calcified tissues are central to a healthy skeleton and to bone disorders – such as osteoporosis, back pain and fractures – that make life a misery for countless people. Children can inherit some forms of bone diseases causing bone pain, shortness and deformed limbs.
About the International Bone and Mineral Society (IBMS)
IBMS is the international organization that facilitates the generation and dissemination of knowledge of bone and mineral metabolism through communication, community, training, and multi-disciplinary meetings throughout the world.
About ECTS-IBMS 2015
The fourth Joint Meeting of ECTS and IBMS is taking place in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, on April 25-28, 2015, at the Congress Centre De Doelen.
Recognised as the foremost annual European gathering in the field, ECTS-IBMS 2015 features a broad and stimulating scientific programme addressing the very latest advances, challenges, and developments in bone and calcified tissue. With an international delegation of scientists, clinicians, health care professionals, and researchers in attendance, the Joint Meeting is a unique opportunity to share in the vision of leading experts and discover what the future holds for this fast moving and exciting sector of medical research and practice.
About the study
The study was conducted by Antonia Sophocleous, James MacKenzie, Roy Robertson and Stuart Ralston of the University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.