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 agonizingly 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 specific clinical trials on CBD for gout. However, research on other forms of arthritis and inflammatory joint pain has been positive. As such, some are infering 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 terms of 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 dozens of different specific types of arthritis) that involves the accumulation of excess fluids in joint cavities.
To be even more specific, 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), where they can turn into intensely painful needle-like projections that cause a host of internal damage and discomfort.
Without frequent screening, it is difficult to predict a gout flare-up. In fact, arthritis sufferers 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 a 24-hour period. Typically, symptoms will subside over the course of a few days. In the absence of adequate treatment, pain and general discomfort can be debilitating.
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. These foods can lead to obesity and high blood pressure, and increase the risk of gout.
In fact, obesity, high blood pressure, high sugar intake, and frequent alcohol consumption are all known “gout contributors.” They can vastly increase the likelihood of developing the condition in later stages of life.
Gout is, in fact, a heavy man’s disease.
Harvard Health, “All About Gout”
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 (to put it bluntly) “big-boned” males who engage in excessive eating and drinking. In other words, obese men are those 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 in fact a natural component of the marijuana plant. It is one of hundreds of different compounds known as “phytocannabinoids.” The two main phytocannabinoids in cannabis are THC and CBD. In fact, THC and CBD are usually by far the most abundant cannabinoids in any given strain of marijuana.
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 a psychoactive response. In fact, CBD is virtually 100% 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 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 enhancing 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
Like we said earlier, there have not as of yet been any specific clinical trials or research studies done on CBD oil for gout. Yet, there has been no shortage of research publications on CBD for other types of arthritis, including both 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.
Like many other forms of arthritis, gout may also be categorized as the result of some immune system deficiency. Localized tissues are inadvertently attacked, leading to the intense pain and inflammation associated with the condition.
Moreover, it is known that when the endocannabinoid system is deficient or not functioning at full capacity (as any bodily system is prone to doing, especially as we age), it could lead to hyperactivity of the immune system, which is known to promote the onset of arthritic symptoms.
Basically, gout is characterized by two major conditions, both of which CBD oil has been well-documented to provide therapy for: pain and inflammation.
Using CBD for gout-related pain
In terms of pain relief, one of the most thorough investigations that clinically shows the natural cannabinoid to act as an analgesic (pain-reliever) was conducted via patient survey from the collaborators at Care by Design and Project CBD. Essentially, results of the survey showed that CBD appeared to act as “an effective pain management tool with few negative side effects,” and also that it could offer “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. Essentially, clinical trials and scientific publications in recent years have verified what thousands of people have already known for decades: that cannabis is a uniquely potent treatment for localized inflammation.
With this in mind, it takes no stretch of the imagination to see how CBD oil for gout might be a highly effective – and side-effect free – alternative treatment option.
It is worth mentioning that studies have shown CBD oil to be most effective and potent when taken as a “full-spectrum” tincture. This means that rather than acting alone as an isolate, the compound seems to function within the body more efficiently when other natural cannabis compounds (such as terpenes and flavonoids) are present. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you have to “get high,” as full-spectrum CBD oils are still 100% non-psychoactive and THC-free. 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 have been no known clinical trials that showcase CBD to be an effective treatment for gout. Any indication that the natural cannabis compound may help to ease the onset of flare-ups and symptoms draws from the fact that CBD for arthritis has been a well-documented clinical topic over recent years.
Moreover, the capacities for CBD oil to act as an anti-inflammatory, pain reliever, and immune system enhancer make it a prime candidate to act as a potential alternative form of therapy for gout sufferers all across the nation.