CBD for Gout [Science + Therapeutic Benefits]
Those that suffer through bouts of gout know firsthand how uncomfortable, painful, and debilitating the condition is. Common over-the-counter medications can be effective, but many people cannot take them due to their adverse side effects.
This has left many gout victims in quite the predicament. Either suffer through painful bouts of gouty arthritis with no medication or take pain-blocking drugs that present risks of side effects and contraindications.
Nowadays, there is another option available. You may have heard recently of the results that CBD oil for arthritis can produce. To be clear, there are no specific clinical trials on CBD for gout. However, research on other forms of arthritis and inflammatory joint pain has been positive. As such, some infer that CBD may combat gout via its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.
In this article, we talk about what gouty arthritis is and how it arises. We’ll also discuss what possibilities exist in using CBD for gout as a natural source of relief.
First Things First: What Is Gout (aka Gouty Arthritis)?
Gout is a sub-form of arthritis (in fact, it’s one of the dozens of different specific types of arthritis) that involves the accumulation of excess fluids in joint cavities.
Specifically, it is the accumulation of uric acid in the blood. Over time, uric acid may concentrate throughout the body into synovial cavities and solidify into hard crystals (similar to kidney stones). They can turn into intensely painful needle-like projections that cause internal damage and discomfort.
Like many other forms of arthritis, gout may be categorized as the result of some immune system deficiency.
Without frequent screening, it is difficult to predict a gout flare-up. People suffering from it can live for years with what’s known as asymptomatic hyperuricemia. This is when there is an abnormally large content of uric acid in the body. As we discuss, specific bouts of gouty arthritis occur when uric acid crystallizes in joint fluids. This crystallization causes acute pain, severe inflammation, and intense tenderness and sensitivity to touch.
Upon first recognition of symptoms, gout usually worsens over 24 hours. Typically, symptoms will subside over a few days. In the absence of adequate treatment, pain and general discomfort can be debilitating.
Better than CBD oil?…
Gout and Lifestyle Conditions: Things You Should Know
Gout is relatively common in older (55+) individuals who live sedentary lifestyles with minimal exercise. This is especially true when combined with an unhealthy diet. Unhealthy diets include large amounts of sugar, alcohol, and saturated fats.
Obesity, high blood pressure, high sugar intake, and frequent alcohol consumption are known as “gout contributors.” They can vastly increase the likelihood of developing the condition in later stages of life.
Men are at a higher risk for gout development than women. While the reasons for this are not clear, the female hormone estrogen could play a role. Estrogen functions in uric acid regulation and may decrease the likelihood of it solidifying in joint tissue.
Traditionally, gout associates with heavy males who engage in excessive eating and drinking. In other words, obese men are the most at risk. While there are exceptions to this generalization, it largely rings true.
Is CBD the Same Thing as Marijuana?
We’ll stop short of going into a long report on the differences between CBD and marijuana. However, it’s still important to understand a few things about CBD before you consider taking it for gout. Or, for that matter, before you consider it for pain, inflammation, or any other condition.
First, CBD is a natural component of the cannabis plant. It is one of the hundreds of different compounds known as “phytocannabinoids.” The two main phytocannabinoids in cannabis are THC and CBD.
As you may already know, THC is the substance that accounts for the infamous marijuana high. This is due to its influence on chemical receptors in the brain. Since CBD has a different chemical pathway, it does not produce an intoxicating response.
CBD is non-intoxicating. This is the main reason it’s become so wildly popular over the last couple of years. It’s also the reason CBD oil use is increasing among the older adult population.
CBD is a natural and non-intoxicating compound found in Cannabis sativa plants.
CBD works by interacting with natural receptors and other chemicals in the body’s endocannabinoid system, or ECS. The ECS plays a major role in whole-body homeostasis. It influences things like appetite control and temperature, as well as pain and immune system responses.
As such, CBD can be useful to help ease pain in some forms of arthritis. It possesses pain-relieving, inflammation-reducing, and immune system-altering properties. These properties combine to help reduce the onset of painful flare-ups and debilitating symptoms.
How CBD for Gout May Potentially Offer Symptomatic Relief
At present, there are no specific clinical trials or research studies relating to CBD oil for gout. Yet, there is no shortage of research publications on CBD for other types of arthritis. Studies to date relate to osteoarthritis, a mostly inflammatory condition, and rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune condition. The research supports the anti-inflammatory and immune-supportive properties of CBD for people with arthritis.
When the endocannabinoid system is deficient or not functioning at full capacity (as any bodily system is prone to do, especially as we age), it could lead to hyperactivity of the immune system, which promotes the onset of arthritic symptoms.
Gout is characterized by two major conditions, both of which CBD oil could help with: pain and inflammation.
Using CBD for Gout-Related Pain and Inflammation
Care by Design and Project CBD collaborated to look into cannabidiol’s impact on pain relief. The companies combined to create a patient survey.
The survey’s results showed that CBD seemed to act as “an effective pain management tool with few negative side effects.” The survey also found that CBD could offer a “significant decrease in opiate usage among elderly patients.”
Likewise, CBD’s role as an anti-inflammatory is equally impressive and well-documented. This is entirely relevant for gout victims as swelling, tenderness, and joint inflammation are hallmark symptoms of the disorder. In recent years, clinical trials and scientific publications have verified the long-held belief that cannabis is a viable option for localized inflammation.
To date, studies have shown CBD oil as being most effective and potent when taken as a “full-spectrum” tincture. This means that rather than acting alone as an isolate, the compound functions within the body more efficiently when other natural cannabis compounds (such as terpenes and flavonoids) are present.
This doesn’t mean that you have to “get high,” as many full-spectrum CBD oils are still 100% non-intoxicating. For some ideas on a few of the most reliable and effective full-spectrum oils on the market, check out this recent rundown that we did on the subject.
Final Thoughts on CBD for Gout
To conclude, it is worth mentioning again that there are no known clinical trials that showcase CBD as an effective gout treatment. Indications that the natural cannabis compound can help ease the onset of flare-ups and symptoms draw from research into CBD for arthritis.
The capacity for CBD oil to act as an anti-inflammatory, pain reliever, and immune system enhancer makes it a prime candidate to act as a potential alternative form of therapy for gout sufferers all across the world.
CBD oil and gout
Gout is a common yet complex form of arthritis. Crystallization of excess uric acid leads to deposits in the joints, which become inflamed, red, and tender. Inflammation and pain are two of the primary symptoms associated with gout, and they are also two problems that seem to respond well to cannabis. In particular, cannabidiol (CBD) oil has demonstrated effectiveness in suppressing inflammatory pain.
The Chinese and other civilizations used cannabis as early as 2900 BCE to treat joint pain and gout. But modern research is in its infancy with regard to using CBD oil for gout. However, some studies have indicated that cannabis may be beneficial in treating the joint pain and inflammation linked to the disease without the unpleasant side effects of some prescription medications.
While modern research on CBD’s effectiveness in relieving symptoms of gout, cannabis has been used by civilizations to treat joint pain and gout as early as 2900 BCE. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
A 2015 study published in the European Journal of Pain examined the effects of transdermal CBD (applied to the skin) in a rat model of arthritis. Results indicated that “transdermal administration of CBD has long-lasting therapeutic effects without psychoactive side-effects. Thus, the use of topical CBD has potential as an effective treatment of arthritic symptomatology,” according to the authors of the study. The findings of this study, though not directly linked to humans, are encouraging for gout patients who are seeking pain and inflammation management through CBD oil.
A 2018 literature review published in Current Opinion in Pharmacology summarizes how cannabinoids have the potential to treat pain associated with osteoarthritis, the most prevalent form of arthritis that causes degeneration of cartilage and bones. Also noted in the report was the fact that the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) has an important role in joint-related pain. This could pertain to gout patients who may experience high levels of pain in their joints.
Another 2018 study published in the Journal of Headache Pain reported positive findings from a cohort of medical cannabis patients. Researchers found that cannabis varieties high in the terpenes of caryophyllene and myrcene (the most prevalent chemovars on the market at the time of the study) were most successful in treating headaches, migraines, and other pain disorders, including arthritis. Again, such findings could be hopeful news for arthritis patients who are being treated specifically to relieve pain related to gout.
Actor Sir Patrick Stewart has reaped notable benefits from using medical marijuana for his arthritis. Rather than gout, Stewart suffers from osteoarthritis in both hands and has found relief with a combination of cannabis ointment, spray, and edibles. In a statement published in 2017 in Huffington Post, the actor cited a lack of adverse side effects from his cannabis treatments and shared:
“I believe that the ointment and spray have significantly reduced the stiffness and pain in my hands. I can make fists, which was not the case before I began this treatment.”
Actor Sir Patrick Stewart noted to the Huffington Post that he’s found relief from osteoarthritis with the use of cannabis topicals. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Stewart is not the only person whose painful symptoms have been alleviated with CBD. Weedmaps News reported in May 2019 that more cancer patients are opting for cannabis over opioids, according to one study cited in the article. Carmen Irigaray, a retired investment adviser, told Weedmaps that she began using cannabis oil extracts after being diagnosed with a brain tumor and undergoing radiation treatments.
Irigiray said, “It eased the pain, helped me sleep and, more importantly, kept me calm throughout the worst time of my life. I doubt I will ever stop consuming cannabis.” One cancer patient’s encouraging experience could mean that good news is on the horizon for gout and other arthritis patients.
What the experts say
Dr. Jason McDougall, a professor in the department of pharmacology and anesthesia at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, has been studying how medical cannabis could work to manage general arthritis pain.
In an interview with Canadian Broadcasting Corp. (CBC) Radio, McDougall analyzed the nerve endings of arthritis sufferers, saying: “They’re all bare, they’re all raw and responsible for feeling a lot of pain. What we hypothesize is that by locally administering these cannabis-like molecules to those nerves, we’d actually be able to repair them and reduce the pain of arthritis.”
Though McDougall is speaking generally about cannabis and arthritis, one can infer that CBD oil may offer similar benefits for gout sufferers.
Dr. Daniel Clauw, professor at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and an expert in chronic pain, might agree. In an interview with Arthritis.org, Clauw shared some advice for using CBD oil alone (without THC) to treat different types of arthritis. Referring to the CBD oil treating knee osteoarthritis, he said: “. it appears as though it is very safe.” Clauw’s guidelines for treatment include low doses of CBD in 5 to 10 milligrams twice daily and progressing to higher doses of 50 to 100 milligrams per day if needed. If symptoms persist, Clauw recommends trying a CBD product that contains a small amount of THC.
CBD oil can be an effective approach to managing the pain of arthritis and painful inflammatory conditions, including gout.
Holistic healthcare practitioner Debra Rose Wilson, Ph.D., has also acknowledged the potential benefits of treating painful inflammatory conditions, including gout, with CBD. In 2018, Wilson wrote in Medical News Today: “At a time when we are trying to reduce the use of pain relievers, CBD oil can be an effective approach to managing the pain of arthritis. Researchers have also recognized the role that CBD could play in reducing the pain-causing inflammation of arthritis.”
Numerous studies have shown that cannabis and CBD oil are pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory, which gives hope to individuals coping with gout. More gout-specific research is needed to verify the effectiveness of CBD oil for this condition.