Learn about the potential of CBD oil for gout through a review of current research, patient perspectives, and a look at what medical experts think of CBD and gout. Does CBD Work for Gout? CBD may be an effective treatment for gout pain. This form of arthritis is incurable but manageable.
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.
CBD for Gout – August 2022
According to the John Hopkins Arthritis Center, several drugs can be used to treat gout flare-ups (5 ) . These include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen and naproxen
While the medications mentioned previously are effective, doctors often prescribe higher dosages to manage an acute attack of gout. These changes could cause side effects, which may be harmful to some people.
Mayo Clinic says side effects from using NSAIDs include high risks of developing stomach pain, bleeding, and ulcers (6 ) . Meanwhile, colchicine use can result in vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea.
The use of corticosteroids can lead to sudden mood changes, high blood pressure , and increased blood sugar levels (7 ) . Corticosteroids are often prescribed to patients who cannot take NSAIDs and colchicine .
Gout is an incurable type of arthritis that affects joints, particularly the big toe joint. However, with medications and self-management, it can be treated (8 ) .
To avoid the side effects of gout medications, more patients are turning to cannabidiol (CBD). It has been shown to have analgesic (pain-relieving) and anti-inflammatory properties that may be beneficial to gout patients.
CBD comes from the Cannabis Sativa plant. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), it is non-psychoactive.
THC is the other primary ingredient of medical marijuana and also comes from the Cannabis Sativa plant. Like CBD, THC can be used medicinally.
However, THC is often used recreationally and sometimes abused (9 ) . Because of THC’s addictive nature, it is likely that users may develop a dependence on it.
How CBD Oil Works to Alleviate Symptoms of Gout
Findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that gout is caused by hyperuricemia, the excessive uric acid buildup in the body (10 ) .
Individuals who have increased chances of developing hyperuricemia are usually obese males who have health problems, like hypertension, diabetes, and reduced kidney function (11 ) .
Certain diets may increase the likelihood of people developing gout. These consumption behaviors include drinking large quantities of alcohol and fructose-rich beverages.
Also at risk are those who often eat food high in purines, which the body breaks down into uric acid. Such foods include organ meats, red meats, and seafood, like sardines, tuna, and anchovies.
Gout has been dubbed as the “disease of kings” because it is generally caused by overindulgence in food and drinks (12 ) .
In the affected joints, gout may be detected when the following symptoms are observed: intense pain, redness, swelling, and heat (13 ) .
Gout may come in the form of acute gout or chronic gout. Acute gout only affects one joint, while chronic gout may occur repeatedly and affect more than one joint (14 ) .
CBD for Inflammation
Further research needs to be done on CBD’s therapeutic effects on gout symptoms. However, a significant number of studies conducted on CBD have suggested its anti-inflammatory properties.
A study published in Future Medicinal Chemistry concludes that cannabinoids have anti-inflammatory effects that may help treat several types of arthritis and inflammation-related diseases (15 ) . The primary cannabinoids are CBD and THC.
Cannabinoids are compounds that may come from the body, from plants, or laboratories. They interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and activate cannabinoid receptors , known as CB1 and CB2 receptors.
Cannabinoids help the ECS with several functions, like immune responses, mood, appetite, and memory.
Cannabinoids have been shown to help suppress cytokines at inflammatory sites in the body, reducing symptoms of inflammatory diseases (16 ) .
Cytokines are a group of proteins that can be classified as pro-inflammatory or anti-inflammatory (17 ) . Their modulation can balance the initiation and resolution of inflammation (18 ) .
CBD is a cannabinoid that is known to have anti-inflammatory properties (19 ) .
Another study in 2019 has found that CBD has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. These therapeutic benefits may help treat several conditions, like arthritis, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, psychosis, among others (20 ) .
CBD for Pain Relief
A 2018 study states that cannabinoids, like CBD, may be useful in treating inflammation and pain (21 ) .
Research conducted in rodents that have osteoarthritis showed that CBD reduced inflammation and blocked osteoarthritis pain signals (22 ) .
The study suggested that CBD might be a safe and effective therapy for osteoarthritis. The researchers believe that they have discovered CBD’s neuroprotective properties.
Another study, this time on CBD as a topical pain reliever, has shown that the use of CBD gel on rat models markedly attenuated joint swelling and pain, without causing psychoactive side effects in the test subjects (23 ) .
In the study, the application of 6.2 mg and 62 mg of CBD gel per day, for four consecutive days after arthritis pain began, helped treat arthritis in rats .
The results of the animal study showed CBD as a promising treatment for pain relief in humans.
The Pros and Cons of CBD Oil for Gout
- Animal and human studies have reported the benefits of CBD in treating symptoms of gout.
- CBD is safe for use because it has an excellent safety profile (24 ) .
- CBD is non-addictive (25 ) . Thus, gout patients may not have to worry about developing a dependence on it.
- While there are studies on CBD’s potential in alleviating gout symptoms, research on CBD’s effectiveness in treating gout itself is lacking.
- The United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) has not approved CBD use aside from the treatment of epilepsy.
- There is no standard dosage for CBD when used for the treatment of gout.
- CBD products are unregulated, resulting in a proliferation of mislabeled CBD products online (26 ) .
How CBD Oil Compares to Alternative Treatments for Gout
Although gout cannot be cured completely, patients’ lifestyle changes help manage their symptoms. These modifications include weight loss, diet changes, hypertension control, and change in medication regimens (27 ) .
A study has found that cherry consumption helps lower the risk of gout attacks (28 ) .
Studies have also been made on whether vitamin C intake helps in the attenuation of gout. However, the results of these studies are conflicting.
A study reports that vitamin C reduces uric acid levels and prevents gout recurrences (29 ) . Another study, meanwhile, concludes that vitamin C reduces the risk of gout development but does not significantly reduce uric acid in gout patients (30 ) .
Meanwhile, th e use of CBD has minimal risk factors, as common side effects include tiredness, diarrhea, and changes in appetite or weight (31 ) . CBD use may also help complement the alternative treatments mentioned previously.
However, it is not recommended to use CBD alongside traditional gout medications, such as corticosteroids (32 ) . The liver enzyme cytochrome P450 metabolizes these medications.
CBD may inhibit the P450 enzyme system and increase the risk of amplifying the side effects of gout medications (33 ) .
How to Choose the Right CBD for Gout
There are three types of CBD oils : full-spectrum CBD oil, broad-spectrum CBD oil, and isolates.
Full-spectrum oils make use of all the ingredients of cannabis plants, including less than 0.30% THC, fatty acids, flavonoids, terpenes, and essential oils.
The main advantage of using a full-spectrum oil is that its active ingredients synergize to produce an entourage effect. This mechanism is believed to generate maximum therapeutic benefits from the ingredients of the cannabis plant.
Full-spectrum oils contain THC, which may be detected via drug tests. THC may also cause mild psychoactive effects in some individuals.
Gout patients who want to avoid these potential risks may choose to buy broad-spectrum CBD oil. This type of oil has all the ingredients of a full-spectrum oil sans the THC.
Those who are looking for a CBD oil made of pure cannabidiol may purchase CBD isolates.
CBD Dosage for Gout
The rule when using CBD for gout is to begin with a low dosage. Patients can start with a few milligrams of CBD and increase the dosage in small increments if no adverse effects are observed.
The dosage amounts may be increased until significant improvements are noted .
Body weight should be considered when choosing a CBD dosage. The heavier the patient, the larger their required dose.
Average adults can take a maximum of around 5 mg of CBD daily.
Before adding CBD to one’s gout medication regimen, always consult with a doctor first.
How to Take CBD for Gout
There are various ways to take CBD in the treatment of gout. One way is through ingestion via CBD oil, CBD tinctures (droppers), CBD pills, CBD gummies , or CBD gel caps.
When a CBD product goes through the digestive tract, it takes effect in one to two hours. When taken sublingually (under the tongue) through tinctures, CBD may take effect in 15 to 45 minutes.
CBD can also be applied topically , on body parts affected by gout, as it is available in lotion, salve, or balm format.
There are CBD oil massages available, which may be beneficial to gout patients. CBD oil may help alleviate pain associated with gout (34 ) .
Another format is CBD vape or pen. When CBD is inhaled, effects may be observed instantaneously.
However, taking CBD by vaping is not recommended. There have been incidents that suggest that vaping may cause lung problems (35 ) .
Medical cannabis-related products, like CBD, may help in the treatment of gout symptoms. Further research, however, needs to be made on the therapeutic effects of CBD on gout itself.
Compared to most gout medications, CBD has been shown to have a more favorable safety profile. It is a treatment worth exploring as an added therapy for gout relief.