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Disease Overview

Gout is a medical condition primarily characterized by inflammation of the joints. The swelling mainly effects the joints of the hands and feet and is accompanied by intense pain. When the disease involves the largest toe, it is commonly referred to as podagra. The pain comes in phases known as attacks. These are usually caused by acute inflammatory arthritis. During an attack, the affected joint becomes red, feels hot and swells to a great extent. In some cases, gout attacks on the feet are so chronic that they prevent people with the illness from walking. Attacks commonly occur during the night, when there is low body temperature. Gout is primarily caused by the presence of excess uric acid in the blood. In a bid to maintain balance in the system, the body transports crystals of uric acid that is not excreted to the joints. This move, however, does more harm than good because it is the onset of the inflammation. Excess uric acid in our bodies can occur as a result of our diet choices, underexcretion of uric acid or even as a result of a person’s genetics.

Gout’s prevalence across the United States and other Western countries has significantly increased over recent years. Currently, it effects an estimated two percent of the population in the Western world. When left untreated, a gout attack can last anywhere from six days to two weeks depending on its intensity. After this period, inflammation ceases, and the pain stops. However, the disease can be aggravated by eating certain foods such as meat.

Treatment Methods

Currently, doctors use NSAIDs, colchicine, and steroids to treat gout. For patients with severe allergic conditions to these medicines, pegloticase can be employed. NSAIDs and Colchicine are taken orally. However, some patients experience difficulties with these two drugs because of their severe gastrointestinal effects. Steroids are usually administered as injections while pegloticase is administered intravenously. Unfortunately, steroids can lead to infection if applied directly to the joint.

Cannabis’ Effects on Gout

Marijuana has very beneficial and direct effects on inflammation and pain relief. These stem from the body’s use of a cannabinoid system to make adjustments that cause homeostasis in the body. When cannabinoids are introduced to the body, they affect receptor sites the same way the body’s endocannabinoids do. They can decrease inflammation and pain within the body by re-establishing balance. Cannabis is a rich source of these cannabinoids. Most notably, THC and CBD are powerful cannabinoids that grant marijuana many of its pain-relieving properties.

In a study conducted at the Biomedical Research Center at Sheffield University, cannabinoids were proven to suppress and relieve pain as well as reduce swelling. Additionally, marijuana was noted to reduce joint damage caused by arthritis.

Taking medical marijuana can, therefore, introduce these cannabinoids to your system. Once there, the cannabinoids offer pain relief, increase relaxation and cause a decrease in swelling. As such, this form of medication is effective for the treatment gout, since these are its primary symptoms.