When uric acid isn’t properly excreted from the body, it can turn into crystals and build up in the joints.
These crystals can cause swelling and pain in the feet, ankles, wrists, and hands—a condition known as gout.
About 4% of Americans—more than 8 million people—suffer from gout.
There’s no cure for this painful disease.
But there are treatments and homemade remedies that can ease symptoms.
One treatment that has been explored in recent years is cannabidiol, also known as CBD.
While some animal studies have been done that suggest CBD oil could help alleviate some symptoms of gout, there have not been human studies on the oil’s effectiveness on gout.
CBD should not be taken without serious thought and consideration, or without speaking to a doctor.
In this article, I’ll talk about what gout and CBD are, how CBD could help treat gout symptoms, how to take it and in what form, and the potential side effects that can occur.
What is Gout?
Gout is a common form of inflammatory arthritis that occurs when there are high levels of uric acid in the blood, causing urate crystals to accumulate in the joints.
This build up of urate crystals leads to sudden and severe attacks of pain, redness, and inflammation in one or more joints.
The most common location of a gout attack is the big toe, and attacks occur most often at night.
Symptoms include pain, swelling, tenderness, heat sensation, and limited range of motion at the site of the attack.
Gout is a metabolic disease, dependent on your diet and genetic history.
If your older family members have gout, there’s a likelihood you will also contract gout.
If you suffer from gout, you know that the symptoms are not constant—they will come and go over time. Luckily, there are ways to both manage symptoms and prevent flare-ups.
What is CBD Oil?
Cannabidiol, best known as CBD, is a chemical compound found in marijuana.
Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol, best known as THC (the psychoactive compound found in marijuana), CBD does not get you “high.”
Instead, CBD is known for its wide range of health benefits while remaining non-intoxicating.
CBD is normally formulated as an oil.
Whether applied topically or consumed through inhalation, pills, extracts or edibles, CBD is said to interact with the neuroreceptors in your endocannabinoid system.
This system plays a role in regulating inflammation and pain.
The use of CBD for health purposes is fairly new, so there is still lots of research to be done on its efficacy and safety.
There is currently only one CBD product approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA): a prescription oil called Epidiolex, used for epilepsy.
Beyond Epidiolex, the legality of CBD varies from state to state.
CBD Oil as Gout Treatment
Further research needs to be done to conclusively determine whether CBD is effective at treating gout.
Animal studies and anecdotal evidence suggest it could be beneficial for treating symptoms related to the disease.
For example, CBD has been shown to prevent nerve damage in osteoarthritis patients.
How it works
CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system—a system which is thought to play a role in regulating pain and inflammation.
When you consume CBD, neuroreceptors in your endocannabinoid system send messages to your cells, which could help reduce pain and inflammation, and generally boost your mood.
How to take
There are several different ways to take CBD. These formats include:
- Tincture: This is CBD in liquid form, typically placed under the tongue using a dropper. It is also available as a spray.
- Topical: CBD comes in the form of lotions, creams, massage oils, balms, and more. A topical solution can be applied directly on the source of the pain.
- Pill: CBD comes in pill and capsule form, which makes it easy to know exactly how much you are taking.
- Vapor: Another administration route for CBD is through vapor, using a vape pen.
- Edible: Many people ingest CBD through edibles, such as baked goods or gummies. These tend to taste better than tinctures. Dosing, however, is often less reliable in this form.
Finding the right CBD oil for you
Because CBD is unregulated, it’s important to talk to a doctor before taking or using CBD to ensure that it is the right treatment for you.
Your doctor can also advise you regarding what form to take, how much, and which brands may be the most tried and tested.
If your doctor has not given you a suggested dosage, start slow.
People vary when it comes to how much CBD they need to feel it working, and this can differ by age, metabolism, weight, and more.
You can then increase your dosage incrementally if needed.
When you’re shopping for CBD, be cautious about which brand you are buying, as CBD is unregulated, and not all products are made equally.
Look for brands that have been found to be accurate when it comes to dosage and the presence of THC; that use ingredients grown and manufactured domestically; and that have not been found to be contaminated with pesticides, metals, and solvents.
Side Effects of Using CBD Oil
Though it is generally well-tolerated, side effects can include:
CBD can also interact with other medications, such as blood thinners, antidepressants, heart medications, some antibiotics, medications for seizures, and more.
Talk to your doctor before starting CBD to ensure it doesn’t interact with any medications you’re taking.
When to See a Doctor
Talking with a healthcare professional before you start taking CBD for gout is very important, as they can help determine whether it is right for you, and suggest a form and dosage.
This is especially important if you take other medications (for your gout or otherwise), as CBD can interact with a variety of different drugs.
Check with your doctor before using CBD if you take any of the following medications: corticosteroids (such as prednisone), tofacitinib, naproxen, celecoxib, tramadol, certain antidepressants (including amitriptyline, citalopram, fluoxetine, mirtazapine, paroxetine, and sertraline), and certain medications for fibromyalgia (including gabapentin and pregabalin).
How K Health Can Help
Considering taking CBD for gout?
K Health will put you in touch with a doctor who can help you weigh the pros and cons for you and your body.
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Frequently Asked Questions
K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.
K Health has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references.
Prevalence of gout and hyperuricemia in the US general population: the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2007-2008. (2011).
FDA Approves First Drug Comprised of an Active Ingredient Derived from Marijuana to Treat Rare, Severe Forms of Epilepsy. (2018).
Cannabis and joints: scientific evidence for the alleviation of osteoarthritis pain by cannabinoids. (2018).
Antioxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Cannabidiol. (2020).
Attenuation of early phase inflammation by cannabidiol prevents pain and nerve damage in rat osteoarthritis. (2017).
The endocannabinoid system in pain and inflammation: Its relevance to rheumatic disease. (2017).
CBD for Arthritis Pain: What You Should Know. (n.d.)
Expert Q&A: Buying a Quality Medical Cannabis Product. (n.d.)