Cannabinoids and Tinnitus – What’s the Link?

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

Public opinion surrounding marijuana and cannabinoids has changed remarkably over the last several decades. Many states have legalized the use of marijuana, THC, or cannabinoid products for medicinal purposes. The concept that some states (fewer) even allow the recreational use of pot would have been hard to imagine 10 years ago.

Cannabinoids are any compounds produced by the cannabis plant (essentially, the marijuana plant). And we’re still learning new things about cannabis despite the fact that it’s recently been legalized in several states. It’s a common belief that cannabinoid compounds have extensive healing qualities. But research suggests a strong link between the use of cannabinoids and tinnitus symptoms but there are also contradictory studies.

Various forms of cannabinoids

Nowadays, cannabinoids can be used in lots of varieties. Whatever name you want to put on it, pot or weed is not the only form. These days, THC and cannabinoids are available in pill form, as topical spreads, as inhaled mists, and more.

The forms of cannabinoids available will vary state by state, and many of those forms are still actually federally illegal if the amount of THC is over 0.3%. So it’s important to be cautious when using cannabinoids.

The problem is that we don’t yet know much about some of the long-term side effects or complications of cannabinoid use. Some new studies into how cannabinoids affect your hearing are perfect examples.

Research into cannabinoids and hearing

Whatever you want to call it, cannabinoids have long been associated with helping a wide variety of medical disorders. Seizures, vertigo, nausea, and more seem to be helped with cannabinoids, according to anecdotally available evidence. So the researchers wondered if cannabinoids could help treat tinnitus, too.

Turns out, cannabinoids may actually cause tinnitus. According to the research, over 20% of study participants who used cannabinoid products reported hearing a ringing in their ears. And that’s in individuals who had never experienced tinnitus before. And tinnitus symptoms within 24 hours of consumption were 20-times higher with people who use marijuana.

Further research suggested that marijuana use may worsen ear-ringing symptoms in those who already suffer from tinnitus. So, it would seem, from this persuasive research, that the link between tinnitus and cannabinoids is not a beneficial one.

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

Causes of tinnitus are unclear

Just because this connection has been uncovered doesn’t automatically mean the underlying causes are all that well comprehended. 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, obviously, will continue. Cannabinoids today are available in so many selections and types that understanding the fundamental link between these substances and tinnitus could help people make wiser choices.

Beware the miracle cure

There has undeniably been no shortage of marketing publicity around cannabinoids recently. In part, that’s due to changing attitudes surrounding cannabinoids themselves (and, to an extent, is also a reflection of a desire to move away from opioids). But this new research clearly demonstrates 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 aficionados and evangelists in the world–the marketing for cannabinoids has been particularly aggressive lately.

But a strong connection between cannabinoids and tinnitus is certainly implied by this research. So if you have tinnitus–or if you’re worried about tinnitus–it might be worth avoiding cannabinoids if you can, no matter how many advertisements for CBD oil you may come across. The link between cannabinoids and tinnitus symptoms is uncertain at best, so it’s worth exercising some caution.


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