Cannabinoids and Tinnitus – What’s the Connection?

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

Over the past several decades the public opinion about cannabinoids and marijuana has transformed considerably. Cannabinoids, marijuana, and THC products are now allowed for medical usage in many states. Substantially fewer states have legalized marijuana for recreational purposes, but even that would have been unimaginable even just ten or fifteen years ago.

Any substances derived from the cannabis plant (the marijuana plant, basically) are known as cannabinoids. Despite 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 qualities. There have been conflicting studies about cannabinoids and tinnitus but research suggests there may also be negative effects like a direct link between cannabinoid use and the development of tinnitus symptoms.

Various forms of cannabinoids

At present, cannabinoids can be utilized in lots of forms. It isn’t only pot or weed or whatever name you want to give it. These days, THC and cannabinoids are available in the form of a pill, as topical spreads, as inhaled mists, and others.

Any of these forms that contain a THC level over 0.3% are technically still federally illegal and the available forms will differ depending on the state. So it’s important to be careful 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. A great example is some new research into how your hearing is affected by cannabinoid use.

Research linking hearing to cannabinoids

A wide array of disorders are believed to be successfully managed by cannabinoids. According to anecdotal evidence vertigo, nausea, and seizures are just a few of the conditions that cannabinoids can help. So researchers decided 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 documented hearing a ringing in their ears. And tinnitus was never formerly experienced by those participants. What’s more, marijuana users were 20-times more likely to describe experiencing tinnitus symptoms within 24 hours of consumption.

Further investigation indicated that marijuana use may exacerbate ear-ringing symptoms in those who already have tinnitus. So, it would seem, from this compelling research, that the relationship between cannabinoids and tinnitus isn’t a positive one.

It should be noted that smoking has also been linked with tinnitus and the research wasn’t clear on how participants were using cannabinoids.

Causes of tinnitus are not clear

The discovery of this connection doesn’t reveal the underlying cause of the relationship. That cannabinoids can have an influence on the middle ear and on tinnitus is rather obvious. But it’s far less clear what’s causing that impact.

Research, undoubtedly, will carry on. Individuals will be in a better position to make better choices if we can make progress in understanding the connection between the numerous varieties of cannabinoids and tinnitus.

Beware the miracle cure

Recently, there has been a great deal of marketing hype around cannabinoids. That’s partly because perceptions surrounding cannabinoids are quickly changing (this also demonstrates a growing wish to get away from opioid use). But some negative effects can result from the use of cannabinoids, especially with regards to your hearing and this is reflected in this new research.

Lately, there’s been aggressive marketing about cannabinoids and you’ll never avoid all of the cannabinoid devotees.

But a strong link between cannabinoids and tinnitus is certainly implied by this research. So no matter how many ads for CBD oil you see, you should avoid cannabinoids if you’re worried about tinnitus. It’s not completely clear what the link between tinnitus and cannabinoids so use some caution.


The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.