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 perception of cannabinoids and marijuana has changed considerably. Cannabinoids, marijuana, and THC products are now allowed for medical use in many states. Far fewer states have legalized pot for recreational reasons, but even that would have been unimaginable even just ten or fifteen years ago.

Any substances derived from the cannabis plant (the marijuana plant, essentially) are known as cannabinoids. And we’re still discovering new things about cannabis despite the fact that it’s recently been legalized in numerous states. We often view these specific compounds as having widespread healing properties. There have been conflicting studies about cannabinoids and tinnitus but research suggests there might also be negative effects like a direct connection between cannabinoid use and the development of tinnitus symptoms.

Various forms of cannabinoids

At present, cannabinoids can be consumed in many forms. Whatever name you want to put on it, pot or weed isn’t the only form. These days, THC and cannabinoids are available in the form of a pill, as inhaled mists, as topical spreads, and more.

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 with the use of 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 good example is some new research into how your hearing is impacted by cannabinoid use.

Studies About cannabinoids and hearing

A myriad of disorders are believed to be successfully managed by cannabinoids. Seizures, nausea, vertigo, and more seem to be improved with cannabinoids, according to anecdotally available evidence. So the researchers wondered if cannabinoids could help manage tinnitus, too.

Turns out, cannabinoids may actually trigger tinnitus. According to the research, over 20% of study participants who used cannabinoid products reported hearing a ringing in their ears. And tinnitus was never previously experienced by those participants. And tinnitus symptoms within 24 hours of consumption were 20-times more likely with people who use marijuana.

And for people who already cope with ringing in the ears, using marijuana could actually exacerbate the symptoms. So, it would appear, from this compelling evidence, that the relationship between tinnitus and cannabinoids is not a beneficial one.

The research is unclear as to how the cannabinoids were used but it should be pointed out that smoking has also been connected to tinnitus symptoms.

Unknown causes of tinnitus

Just because this link 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 evident what’s producing that impact.

There’s bound to be additional research. Cannabinoids today are available in so many varieties and forms that understanding the underlying connection between these substances and tinnitus might help people make smarter choices.

Beware the miracle cure

Recently, there has been lots of marketing publicity around cannabinoids. That’s in part because mindsets associated with cannabinoids are quickly changing (and, to an extent, is also an indication of a desire to get away from opioids). But some negative effects can come from cannabinoid use, particularly with regards to your hearing and this is reflected in this new research.

You’ll never be able to avoid all of the cannabinoid aficionados and evangelists in the world–the marketing for cannabinoids has been particularly intense lately.

But this research undeniably suggests a strong link between tinnitus and cannabinoids. So no matter how many ads for CBD oil you see, you should steer clear of cannabinoids if you’re concerned about tinnitus. The connection between cannabinoids and tinnitus symptoms is uncertain at best, so it’s worth exercising a little 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.