Cannabinoids and Tinnitus – What’s the Link?

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

Over the last several decades public opinion about cannabinoids and marijuana has transformed considerably. Many states have legalized the use of marijuana, THC, or cannabinoid products for medicinal reasons. The idea that some states (fewer) even allow the recreational use of pot would have been unimaginable a decade ago.

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

Cannabinoids come in various forms

Today, cannabinoids can be used in many forms. It isn’t only pot or weed or whatever name you want to give it. Other forms can include topical spreads, edibles, pills, inhalable vapors, and others.

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

The long-term complications and side effects of cannabinoid use are not well understood and that’s the problem. A good example is some new research into how your hearing is impacted by cannabinoid use.

Research connecting hearing to cannabinoids

A wide array of disorders are believed to be successfully treated by cannabinoids. Seizures, nausea, vertigo, and more seem to be improved with cannabinoids, according to anecdotally available evidence. So researchers made a decision to see if cannabinoids could treat tinnitus, too.

But what they found was that tinnitus symptoms can actually be activated by the use of cannabinoids. Ringing in the ears was reported, according to the study, by 20% of the participants who used cannabinoids. And that’s in individuals who had never experienced tinnitus before. Furthermore, marijuana users were 20-times more likely to describe experiencing tinnitus symptoms within 24 hours of consumption.

Further investigation indicated that marijuana use could worsen ear-ringing symptoms in individuals who already have tinnitus. In other words, there’s some rather persuasive evidence that cannabinoids and tinnitus don’t really mix all that well.

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

Unclear causes of tinnitus

Just because this connection has been discovered doesn’t necessarily mean the underlying causes are all that well comprehended. That cannabinoids can have an influence on the middle ear and on tinnitus is pretty clear. But what’s causing that impact is a lot less clear.

There’s bound to be further research. Individuals will be in a better position to make smarter choices if we can make progress in understanding the link between the many varieties of cannabinoids and tinnitus.

Don’t fall for miracle cures

There has definitely been no lack of marketing publicity surrounding cannabinoids recently. In part, that’s because of changing perceptions associated with cannabinoids themselves (and, to an extent, is also a reflection of a wish to turn away from opioids). But some negative effects can result from the use of cannabinoids, especially with regards to your hearing and this is demonstrated in this new research.

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

But a strong connection between cannabinoids and tinnitus is definitely implied by this research. So no matter how many ads for CBD oil you see, you should steer clear of cannabinoids if you’re worried about tinnitus. The link 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.

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