Cannabinoids and Tinnitus – What’s the Link?

Researcher examining leaves of cannabinoids that have been linked to tinnitus.

Over the past several decades the public opinion about cannabinoids and marijuana has changed a lot. Many states have legalized the use of marijuana, THC, or cannabinoid products for medicinal purposes. Substantially fewer states have legalized pot for recreational reasons, but even that would have been unimaginable even just ten or fifteen years ago.

Cannabinoids are any compounds derived from the cannabis plant (essentially, the marijuana plant). In spite of their recent legalization (in some states), we’re still learning new things about cannabinoids. We often think of these particular compounds as having widespread healing properties. There have been contradictory studies about cannabinoids and tinnitus but research indicates there might also be negative effects such as a direct link between cannabinoid use and the development of tinnitus symptoms.

Cannabinoids come in many forms

There are numerous forms of cannabinoids that can be used today. Whatever name you want to put on it, pot or weed is not the only form. Other forms can include topical spreads, edibles, inhaled vapors, pills, and others.

Any of these forms that contain a THC level higher than 0.3% are technically still federally illegal and the available forms will fluctuate by state. That’s why many individuals tend to be rather careful about cannabinoids.

The long-term complications and side effects of cannabinoid use are not well known and that’s the problem. Some new research into how cannabinoids affect your hearing are perfect examples.

Research connecting hearing to cannabinoids

A wide array of disorders are believed to be successfully treated by cannabinoids. Seizures, vertigo, nausea, and more seem to be improved with cannabinoids, according to anecdotally available evidence. So researchers made a decision to see if cannabinoids could treat tinnitus, too.

But what they discovered was that tinnitus symptoms can actually be activated by the use of cannabinoids. According to the research, more than 20% of study participants who used cannabinoid products reported hearing a ringing in their ears. And tinnitus was never formerly experienced by those participants. Furthermore, marijuana users were 20-times more likely to report experiencing tinnitus symptoms within 24 hours of consumption.

Further research indicated that marijuana use could worsen ear-ringing symptoms in people who already have tinnitus. So, it would appear, from this persuasive research, that the relationship between cannabinoids and tinnitus isn’t a positive one.

It should be mentioned that smoking has also been linked with tinnitus and the research was unclear on how participants were using cannabinoids.

Unclear causes of tinnitus

The discovery of this link doesn’t reveal the root cause of the relationship. It’s pretty clear that cannabinoids have an impact on the middle ear. But it’s a lot less clear what’s producing that impact.

Research, undoubtedly, will continue. People will be in a better position to make wiser choices if we can make progress in comprehending the connection between the numerous varieties of cannabinoids and tinnitus.

Beware the miracle cure

In recent years, there has been a great deal of marketing hype around cannabinoids. That’s in part because mindsets surrounding cannabinoids are quickly changing (this also demonstrates a growing desire to get away from the use of opioids). But this new research makes clear that cannabinoids can and do produce some negative effects, especially if you’re concerned about your hearing.

You’ll never be capable of avoiding all of the cannabinoid enthusiasts and evangelists in the world–the advertising for cannabinoids has been particularly intense lately.

But a strong link between cannabinoids and tinnitus is certainly implied by this research. So if you have tinnitus–or if you’re concerned about tinnitus–it might be worth steering clear of cannabinoids if you can, no matter how many adverts for CBD oil you might come across. The link between cannabinoids and tinnitus symptoms is unclear at best, so it’s worth exercising a little caution.


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