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 changed considerably. Cannabinoids, marijuana, and THC products are now legal for medical use in many states. The concept that some states (fewer) even allow the recreational use of pot would have been hard to imagine 10 years ago.

Cannabinoids are any substances produced by the cannabis plant (basically, the marijuana plant). And we’re still discovering new things about cannabis in spite of the fact that it’s recently been legalized in several states. It’s a common belief that cannabinoid compounds have extensive healing qualities. There have been contradictory studies about cannabinoids and tinnitus but research indicates there may also be negative effects such as a strong connection between the use of cannabinoids and the development of tinnitus symptoms.

Cannabinoids come in various forms

There are numerous varieties of cannabinoids that can be consumed today. Whatever name you want to put on it, pot or weed is not the only form. Other forms can include topical spreads, edibles, pills, inhalable vapors, and more.

Any of these forms that contain a THC level higher than 0.3% are technically still federally illegal and the available forms will vary depending on the state. So it’s essential to be cautious with the use of cannabinoids.

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

Research connecting hearing to cannabinoids

A myriad of disorders are believed to be effectively treated by cannabinoids. Seizures, nausea, vertigo, and more seem to be helped with cannabinoids, according to anecdotally available evidence. So researchers made a decision to find out if cannabinoids could treat tinnitus, too.

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

Further research indicated that marijuana use may worsen ear-ringing symptoms in individuals who already have tinnitus. In other words, there’s some pretty 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 was unclear on how participants were using cannabinoids.

Causes of tinnitus are unclear

The discovery of this connection doesn’t expose the root cause of the relationship. It’s pretty clear that cannabinoids have an influence on the middle ear. But it’s much less clear what’s producing that impact.

Research, obviously, will continue. Cannabinoids today come in so many selections and types that comprehending the fundamental link between these substances and tinnitus could help people make smarter choices.

Beware the miracle cure

There has undeniably been no lack of marketing hype associated with cannabinoids in recent years. That’s in part because mindsets associated with cannabinoids are rapidly changing (this also demonstrates a growing desire to get away from opioid use). But this new research clearly demonstrates that cannabinoids can and do produce some negative effects, especially if you’re concerned about your hearing.

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

But a powerful 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 concerned about tinnitus. The link between cannabinoids and tinnitus symptoms is unclear at best, so it’s worth using 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.