The Connection Between Tinnitus and Cannabinoids

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 a lot. Cannabinoids, marijuana, and THC products are now legal for medical use in many states. Far fewer states have legalized marijuana for recreational purposes, but even that would have been unimaginable even just ten or fifteen years ago.

Any compounds produced by the cannabis plant (the marijuana plant, essentially) are known as cannabinoids. And we’re still learning new things about cannabis in spite of the fact that it’s recently been legalized in numerous states. It’s a common belief that cannabinoid compounds have extensive healing qualities. But research suggests a strong connection between the use of cannabinoids and tinnitus symptoms but there are also conflicting studies.

Many forms of cannabinoids

At present, cannabinoids can be consumed in lots of forms. Whatever name you want to put on it, pot or weed isn’t the only form. Other forms can include topical spreads, edibles, inhaled vapors, pills, and others.

The forms of cannabinoids available will differ state by state, and many of those forms are still technically federally illegal if the amount of THC is over 0.3%. That’s why most people tend to be rather careful about cannabinoids.

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

Research into cannabinoids and hearing

A myriad of conditions are believed to be effectively managed 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 might actually trigger tinnitus. Ringing in the ears was reported, according to the study, by 20% of the participants who used cannabinoids. And tinnitus was never formerly experienced by those participants. Furthermore, marijuana users were 20-times more likely to report experiencing tinnitus symptoms within 24 hours of consumption.

And for individuals who already experience ringing in the ears, using marijuana may actually exacerbate the symptoms. 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 associated with tinnitus and the research was unclear on how participants were using cannabinoids.

Unclear causes of tinnitus

The discovery of this connection doesn’t reveal the root cause of the relationship. That cannabinoids can have an affect on the middle ear and on tinnitus is fairly obvious. But what’s producing that impact is much less evident.

Research, obviously, will continue. People will be in a better position to make better choices if we can make progress in understanding the link between the many varieties of cannabinoids and tinnitus.

Beware the miracle cure

In recent years, there has been plenty of marketing publicity around cannabinoids. In part, that’s because of changing mindsets surrounding cannabinoids themselves (and, to some extent, is also a reflection of a desire to turn away from opioids). But some negative effects can come from the use of cannabinoids, particularly regarding 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 connection between cannabinoids and tinnitus is definitely implied by this research. So if you have tinnitus–or if you’re worried about tinnitus–it may be worth steering clear of cannabinoids if you can, no matter how many advertisements for CBD oil you might come across. The connection between cannabinoids and tinnitus symptoms is uncertain at best, so it’s worth exercising 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.