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Arthropathy, Gout, and Medical Cannabis​

Arthropathy is the name given to any kind of joint disease. Gouty arthropathy is a type of joint disease caused by the accumulation of tiny uric acid crystals in a joint space. Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis that affects the joint and it is the most common form of arthritis in men, even though women are more likely to develop it after menopause. If untreated, gouty arthropathy may cause several symptoms that worsen gradually.

The consequences of gout on the joints may cause deformity, pain, difficulty moving or using the joint and discomfort. The signs and symptoms of this disease include joint swelling, pain, limited range of motion, hard nodules and sacs in the locally affected area. The diagnosis of this disease is usually made by physical and visual examination, but there are other ways to diagnose it such as x-rays and arthrocentesis, a joint aspiration to test uric acid crystals.

There are several different causes for gouty arthropathy which may be hereditary, obesity or weight gain, cancers like leukemia, low thyroid levels, specific medications that elevate uric acid levels in the body and alcoholism. Gout can affect not only the joint but more often the big toe, knees, elbows, thumbs or fingers too. Attacks of gout can come unwarned, and they can be extremely painful.

More than 8 million Americans are suffering from gout. Men usually develop the disease between the ages of 30 to 50. Gout may cause damage to bone, cartilage and deteriorate an individual’s kidneys, sometimes causing kidney stones. The traditional treatment for gout usually is the medication of anti-inflammatory drugs like Tylenol to reduce swelling and inflammation, lose weight, and reduce alcohol consumption, increase hydration and medication that lowers uric acid levels in the patient’s blood. In case non-surgical approaches don’t work, your doctor may suggest surgery.

With the rising interest of people in alternative medicine, many types of research have been made these past years to see the results of marijuana for the treatment of many different conditions. The effects of cannabis for treating arthritis were the target of a PNAS study made in 2000. The study demonstrated in murine collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) model that cannabidiol (CBD) a cannabis substance was administered after the onset of clinical symptoms, and the treatment effectively blocked the progression of arthritis.

Other findings of this research were that CBD administered was capable of blocking the lipopolysaccharide-induced rise in serum tumor necrosis factor in C57/BL mice. Conclusively, CBD through its combined immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory actions has potent effect in CIA. These findings may be a positive impulse for clinical trials on cannabis for treating arthritis.

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Data Last Updated 03/16/2020

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