How CBD Can Help With Tinnitus
Cannabinoids or natural compounds in cannabis plants, like cannabidiol (CBD), may help treat epilepsy(1). According to research, tinnitus is a form of sensory epilepsy occurring from hyperactivity in the brain’s auditory areas(2).
The American Academy of Audiology estimates that tinnitus affects 30 million people in America(3).
Tinnitus refers to the perception of noise or ringing in the ears(4). Underlying causes of tinnitus include age-related hearing loss, exposure to loud noise, ear bone changes, and earwax blockage.
Tinnitus symptoms include different phantom noises, like ringing, buzzing, or clicking(5). A common type of tinnitus is subjective tinnitus, which only you can hear and may result from outer, middle, or inner ear problems.
Meanwhile, objective tinnitus is a rare type of tinnitus that may occur from a middle ear bone condition or a blood vessel problem. Tinnitus may also be an early indicator of Meniere’s disease, an inner ear disorder.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is gaining popularity in the wellness industry, with the compound’s promising benefits in various medical conditions. Anxiety, pain, and depression are examples of these conditions(6).
CBD’s potential benefits for tinnitus may be linked to CBD’s interaction with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS maintains balance in various body processes, like mood, pain sensation, and immune response(7).
CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors are two main types of cannabinoid receptors(8). While CB1 receptors are predominant in the brain and spinal cord, CB2 receptors are abundant in immune cells.
A 2016 review conducted by researchers Smith and Zheng noted that cannabinoids, like CBD, may benefit tinnitus sufferers(9). The researchers linked cannabinoids’ potential effects to their interactions with CB1 and CB2 receptors.
Furthermore, a 2019 review highlighted CBD as a potentially effective treatment for epilepsy(10). One animal study showed that CBD may produce antiepileptic effects by restoring interneuron functions in the hippocampus(11).
The first CBD product approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is Epidiolex, commonly used to treat rare cases of epilepsy in children(12).
Future research has yet to show CBD’s effectiveness in managing tinnitus.
Benefits of Using CBD for Tinnitus
Current research has suggested that tinnitus may be linked to epilepsy(13). Meanwhile, cannabidiol has been shown to provide potential antiepileptic effects.
A review noted that cannabinoids or natural compounds, like CBD, may help treat neurological disorders like epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis(14).
Another 2019 review of various clinical trials demonstrated CBD’s potential efficacy in treating epileptic seizures(15).
However, one animal study from Frontiers in Neurology examined whether cannabinoids, like CBD, may affect rats induced with tinnitus(16).
Results suggested that the use of CBD and THC may worsen and increase the development of tinnitus in subjects with pre-existing hearing disorders.
Still, more research is necessary to demonstrate how CBD may affect tinnitus in human subjects.
Moreover, tinnitus patients may suffer from anxiety and depression with their hearing problems(17). Research showed that CBD may have anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) and antidepressant properties(18).
CBD’s potential benefits for tinnitus symptoms mostly come from anecdotal evidence. Thus, CBD users should first consult medical professionals to ensure proper guidance on CBD use.
How Soon Can CBD’s Effects Be Felt?
CBD’s potential benefits for tinnitus may kick in faster or last longer depending on the CBD administration method, CBD potency, body weight, and metabolism.
As CBD oil tinctures facilitate direct absorption of CBD into the bloodstream, effects may be noticeable within 15 to 45 minutes(19).
CBD oil vapes also allow CBD to enter the bloodstream through the lungs. Hence, you may observe the effects within 20 minutes.
However, CBD edibles may take a while to work because CBD still needs to pass through the digestive system. Users may notice the effects within 30 to 60 minutes(20).
Although CBD tinctures may provide quick relief, effects may last for two to four hours only(21).
Meanwhile, CBD edibles’ effects may last for over six hours(22). Moreover, CBD vapes’ effects may last for 30 minutes to 2 hours.
CBD dosage, product quality, one’s metabolism, and frequency of use affect how long CBD may help treat tinnitus.
Possible Side Effects of Using CBD for Tinnitus
Although CBD may benefit people with tinnitus, the compound may also induce some side effects. These include fatigue, tiredness, reduced appetite, dry mouth, drowsiness, and diarrhea(23).
Cannabidiol may also interact with other medications, including blood thinners(24).
Other side effects include decreased fertilization capacity and the inhibition of hepatic drug metabolism(25).
It is best to consult with audiologists first before using these CBD products to avoid these possible adverse effects.
How to Choose the Best CBD for Tinnitus
CBD for tinnitus is available in different forms, including CBD tinctures, CBD capsules, CBD edibles, CBD topicals, and CBD vapes. However, to choose the best CBD oil products for tinnitus, you should consider the following:
- Consult a doctor, especially when you are experiencing severe conditions or taking other medications.
- Pick high-quality CBD oil products from organic, non-GMO hemp. Trusted CBD brands also grow hemp plants from their farms or purchase from licensed hemp growers.
- Select CBD products that use CO2 extraction techniques to maximize hemp plants’ benefits. Moreover, select CBD products that do not have unsupported health claims and give disclaimers on their websites.
- Check the CBD product’s third-party lab results. The certificate of analysis (COA), usually available on the brand’s website, must indicate the product’s actual CBD content and the absence of residual solvents, pesticides, and other harmful contaminants.
- Compare product label claims with the COA. CBD products with good value for money show accurate or higher CBD content than what is advertised on their product label.
- Pick CBD brands that are members of hemp organizations and have certifications or accreditations from the Better Business Bureau (BBB). These CBD brands show excellent customer service and ethical business practices.
- Research on state laws regarding cannabis use to buy CBD oil products for tinnitus legally.
- Learn the difference between full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD, and CBD isolates.
Full-spectrum CBD products have a complete range of cannabinoids or naturally occurring compounds in cannabis plants, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), terpenes, flavonoids, and essential oils.
Terpenes give a unique aroma to cannabis plants, while flavonoids allow their vivid colors.
These compounds produce the entourage effect, which entails more benefits when they are combined than when applied as isolated elements(26).
However, full-spectrum CBD oil products contain the psychoactive compound THC. Frequent usage may also lead to a false-positive drug test result.
Broad-spectrum CBD is like full-spectrum CBD without THC. Those who want to avoid THC’s euphoric effects while maximizing other cannabis compounds’ potential benefits can purchase these products.
You can also choose CBD isolates to get CBD’s optimal benefits. These CBD products are pure CBD extracted separately from all other compounds.
How to Take CBD Oil for Tinnitus
CBD brands offer various CBD oil products for tinnitus, including CBD tinctures, CBD topicals, CBD capsules, CBD edibles, and CBD vapes.
You can apply CBD tinctures sublingually or directly under the tongue to allow the fast and direct absorption of CBD into the bloodstream(27). Effects may be evident within 15 to 45 minutes of administration.
To accommodate those who may not prefer CBD tinctures’ earthy taste, CBD brands offer these products in different flavors. You can also add CBD tinctures to your coffee, smoothie, or food.
Meanwhile, CBD topicals for tinnitus include CBD creams, CBD lotions, CBD balms, and CBD salves.
You may apply a more significant amount of CBD to your skin as CBD topicals are absorbed into the skin’s surface. However, it is best to start with small doses to see how your skin reacts to CBD.
Topical CBD products’ effects may be within 15 to 30 minutes of application and last for two to four hours(28).
CBD capsules may take longer to work as they have to pass through the digestive tract(29). Dosing is also tricky because of the delayed onset of effect (around one to two hours), unknown effects of stomach acids, and recent meals.
Thus, CBD capsules may not suit those seeking quick tinnitus relief.
Meanwhile, CBD edibles, like CBD gummies, may be favorable for those who want to avoid the earthy, grassy taste of pure CBD hemp extract. However, these products may take a while to kick in as they need to pass through the digestive system.
CBD edibles’ effects may be evident within 30 to 60 minutes of ingestion and last over six hours(30).
You can also use CBD vapes for tinnitus. They may provide immediate effects as the vapors enter the bloodstream through the lungs without passing through the digestive system.
However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and FDA have investigated the national outbreak of e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury (EVALI)(31).
Results showed that vaping caused more than 2,000 hospitalized cases or deaths. Therefore, these agencies do not recommend using vapes.
CBD Dosage for Tinnitus
CBD dosage of up to 1,500 mg/day is well tolerated in humans(32).
Epidiolex, used to treat rare cases of epilepsy in children, is the only FDA-approved CBD product(33). The agency recommended a starting dosage of 2.5mg CBD twice daily, for a total dosage of 5 mg/kg each day. The dosage was computed per kilogram of body weight(34).
Other than the given dosage for Epidiolex, there is no other official recommended CBD dosage. However, you may start taking CBD at low doses, increasing the dosage until you achieve your desired results.
For guidance on dosing, consulting with a medical professional knowledgeable on CBD use is advised. These doctors can help you determine the right CBD dosage based on your needs.
Legality of CBD
At the federal level, hemp-derived CBD products containing 0.3% or less THC are no longer considered controlled substances(35).
Tetrahydrocannabinol is a psychoactive compound that gives you a euphoric feeling. Marijuana remains a Schedule 1 controlled drug because of its high risk for abuse that may be rooted from THC’s psychoactive effects(36).
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), products containing THC or CBD should not be sold legally as dietary supplements(37). The agency approved one cannabis-derived drug product only, Epidiolex (cannabidiol), and three synthetic cannabis-related drug products, Syndros (dronabinol), Marinol (dronabinol), and Cesamet (nabilone)(38).
Epidiolex is approved to treat seizures linked to Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, two rare cases of epilepsy in children.
Syndros and Marinol are approved to treat anorexia associated with weight loss in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
Cesamet is used to alleviate nausea related to cancer chemotherapy.
As no other FDA-approved CBD product is available, you should research state laws and buy CBD in places offering recreational or medical cannabis legally.