Will Using CBD Oil Help for Ear-Ringing Tinnitus
Updated April 14, 2023.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is becoming something of a buzzword in recent years, with individuals strongly advocating its effectiveness in treating everything from mental disorders to chronic pain. Now there are even those who claim that it can treat symptoms of tinnitus (an annoying condition associated with persistent noise in the ears) as well, but how true is this statement?
Can CBD Help With Tinnitus?
As to why people claim that CBD can alleviate tinnitus, there are two popular working theories:
Among other things, CBD interacts with two types of receptors in the human body, commonly referred to as CB1 and CB2 receptors. Emerging research suggests that these receptors may play a role in auditory perception and that some forms of tinnitus exist as a result of hyperactivity in these receptors. CBD is also associated with modulating γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) levels, which is an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain that blocks certain brain signals. It is believed that CBD does affect GABA levels positively.
The way in which CBD interacts with this neurotransmitter and cannabinoid receptors is one of the reasons for the belief in its ability to relieve tinnitus, as some scientists claim that it can normalise the hyperactivity associated with tinnitus. However, there is no conclusive evidence of this.
Another working theory is that some scientists believe tinnitus to be a form of sensory epilepsy. A number of studies suggest that CBD may exhibit anti-epileptic potential. In fact, it was this property that essentially caused the beginning of research into the functional benefits of CBD as a group of experimental parents discovered that the compound had a therapeutic effect on their children who suffered from a rare form of drug-resistant epilepsy called Dravet syndrome.
The relationship between CBD's anti-epileptic potential and the belief that tinnitus is a form of sensory epilepsy explains why some individuals claim its therapeutic effects. However, this is purely anecdotal.
What Research Suggests About CBD for Tinnitus
Despite the increasingly prominent belief that CBD can relieve symptoms of tinnitus, there is actually a growing body of evidence to suggest otherwise. Although the limited research on this topic has only been carried out in rat models and not on humans, several studies have found that exposing rats to cannabinoids after acoustic trauma actually increased the number of rats displaying tinnitus-like symptoms.
What this suggests is the potential for cannabinoids to actually exacerbate tinnitus, instead of alleviating it. Additionally, almost all the evidence of cannabis ameliorating symptoms of tinnitus is purely anecdotal.
A Final Thought
With how limited the body of research is on this topic, and the different causes of tinnitus and the forms in which it can manifest, it is neither reasonable nor advised to attempt to use CBD to combat symptoms of the condition. In fact, doing so without consulting a doctor beforehand could actually worsen the symptoms.