CBD Effects on Gout
Posted on August 12th, 2020
Gout affects between 1% and 4% of the population. It is seen more frequently in men than in women and prevalence increases with age. Individuals above the age of 60 years are far more likely to suffer from gout and it can affect 10% of men in the age group 80 and above. Although gout is not exactly common or considered to be a serious or life-threatening health condition, it can be extremely painful to live with. It can negatively affect mobility and impact quality of life. Gout could even affect the ability to perform basic daily tasks. But what exactly is gout and what are the effects of CBD on gout? Let’s explore the ins and outs of gout, its causes, and how CBD may affect gout.
What Is Gout?
Gout is a form of acute inflammatory arthritis that results in inflammation or swelling of the tissue in the joints. This inflammation puts pressure on the nerve endings resulting in mild to extreme pain as well as difficulty with movement. The condition primarily affects the front of the foot and is most commonly seen in the big toe.
What Causes Gout?
Hyperuricemia causes gout and can result from the overproduction or the under-excretion of urate which are the salts that are found uric acid. Only 10% of cases are as a result of overproduction whereas 90% results from under-excretion. Overproduction or under-secretion of urate results in the build-up of uric acid in the blood and urate crystals in the joints.
Uric acid is secreted into the bloodstream in order to break-down purines. Purines are produced naturally in the body but are also contained in certain foods. Some of these foods include red meat, organ meat, seafood, alcoholic beverages, and beverages sweetened with fructose (sugar from fruits). Eating these foods can aggravate gout or even be an underlying cause of the overproduction and under-secretion of urate.
The urate crystals can aggravate the joint resulting in an immune response from the body. This immune response can cause inflammation in the joints. This inflammation and therefore the immune response is the cause of the intense pain that is often associated with gout.
Genetic predisposition may play a role in overproduction or under-secretion and gout development. This means that if a family member suffers from gout, your risk of developing the same condition may be higher.
How Might the Effects of CBD Impact Gout?
While there are currently no studies on how CBD affects gout, there are studies on how it may affect arthritis. Because gout is considered a form of arthritis, as it presents swelling of the joints, these studies could prove useful when it comes to understanding how CBD might affect gout.
Studies suggest that CBD may help manage symptoms of arthritis, pain, and inflammation in a way that could benefit those suffering from gout.
A pre-clinical trial conducted on mice showed positive results at blocking the progression of collagen-induced arthritis. The results found that CBD may have a significant action on collagen-induced arthritis due to its potential anti-inflammatory properties and immunosuppressant properties. The inflammation in gout is a result of an immune system response to the build-up of urate crystals in the joints. This suggests that these two properties of CBD may provide promise when it comes to targeting symptoms of gout.
One study looked into the effects of the human endocannabinoid system and the interaction of CBD on receptors within this system. The study suggests that CBD may possess qualities that could aid in osteoarthritis management and potentially reduce its development, specifically in the knee joint.
Although these studies show potential for CBD, it’s important to note that much further research is needed to understand any conclusive findings of the effects of CBD on gout.
The Endocannabinoid System and Cannabinoids
By scientific standards, the endocannabinoid system in the human body was only discovered recently. The discovery was made at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem through the combined efforts of Dr. Lumir Hanus and Dr. William Devane in 1992. The discovery was controversial simply because it was thought to be impossible that an unknown system could exist in the body.
While its discovery has resulted in research on how it operates and its function, there is still much to be discovered about the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system may keep homeostasis, or balance, within the body. It may affect mood, sleep, appetite, and more.
Endocannabinoids are created by the body and it’s thought that they are key players to maintaining balance among systems within your body. Cannabinoids can be found in the cannabis plant and can affect the endocannabinoid system. CBD and THC are both considered cannabinoids, but they each interact with the endocannabinoid system differently. While THC is thought to bind to receptors within the endocannabinoid system, CBD might indirectly impact these receptors.
Throughout the United States, the cannabis plant and its extracts have been illegal due to the psychoactive properties of one cannabinoid – THC or tetrahydrocannabinol. This has made research into the system and its function difficult. Clinical trials were restricted due to the classification of cannabis and its extracts. And this is despite the fact that the body naturally produces small amounts of its own cannabinoids referred to as endocannabinoids.
However, the federal government has recently legalized industrial hemp plants for CBD use, so long as the product contains less than 0.3% of THC. CBD, or cannabidiol, is another cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. CBD does not have any of the psychoactive properties of THC that are associated with marijuana.
How Do Cannabinoids Interact With the Endocannabinoid System?
As briefly mentioned, cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid system by binding to or indirectly affecting the receptors. This can encourage or inhibit certain functions or production of specific chemicals like hormones in the human body.
There are two types of receptors – CB1 and CB2 receptors. The CB1 receptors are primarily found in the brain. The CB2 receptors are found in the peripheral nervous system in the body. THC binds mainly with CB1 receptors whereas CBD doesn’t bind with either. Scientists are still unsure of how exactly CBD interacts with receptors. Some believed that it prevents the breakdown of endocannabinoids. Others believe they interact with receptors that have not yet been discovered.
CBD may interact with the receptors in the human body to play a regulatory role. For example, it might help stimulate the release of endorphins when the body is in pain. Endorphins are known to act as the body’s natural way of alleviating pain.
In some cases, CBD may initiate an immune response but it may also act to suppress the immune system. This may seem contradictory to what is beneficial for the human body. However, in some ways, it is the immune response that is responsible for many symptoms we experience after an injury or illness.
Another common immune response to injury and illness is the release of histamines or other chemicals that are produced to battle with microbes but also cause inflammation. This inflammation is largely responsible for the aches we feel when sick or injured. CBD may help to provide relief by suppressing the immune system and reduce inflammation and aching.
How To Use CBD
Now that we know more about gout, its causes, and the potential effects of CBD on gout, let’s look at how CBD can be used. There are several ways to experience the potential benefits of CBD including tinctures, pills, and topicals, among others. Before introducing CBD into your routine, it’s important to speak with your healthcare provider. While CBD side effects may be minimal, it could interact with certain medications.
Once you’re cleared by your doctor, you’ll want to consider a high-quality CBD product. A reputable manufacturer ensures your product is sourced from high-quality hemp plants. A trusted source will provide third-party lab tests on their products. This transparency ensures that you are getting a consistent dose with each use.
You’ll also want to decide on a form that is right for you. You might decide to choose a form you ingest like pills or tinctures, but in this case, topical applications may better target symptoms of gout. Topical applications can come in the form of balms, salves, lotions, and creams.
The recommended dosage is largely dependent on your symptoms and the concentration of the product. It is advisable to start with small dosages and increase the dose to find what works for you. Topical CBD can be applied periodically throughout the day for the best results.
Although CBD is considered to have a good safety profile, you may experience minor side effects. If you experience any side effects such as nausea, dizziness, or lethargy, decrease the dosage or discontinue use and speak with your healthcare provider.