Can CBD Oil Help With Tinnitus?
Medical research has suggested that tinnitus is a form of sensory epilepsy. It suggested that the use of cannabinoids, like CBD, could help provide tinnitus relief.
CBD’s well-documented anti-epileptic properties could address one of the leading causes of tinnitus in patients, which is hyperactivity in the brain’s auditory areas.
However, one significant animal study showed that CBD administration aggravated tinnitus in the rat subjects, and exposed those with pre-existing ear damage to developing the hearing problem.
However, anxiety and stress also play a crucial role in tinnitus. Stress is known to worsen tinnitus, while tinnitus patients often feel anxious and emotionally distressed because of their hearing problem. Many suggest that CBD, with its anti-anxiety properties, may help relieve the anxiety and stress tinnitus patients experience. However, evidence to support this is still lacking.
Keep in mind that CBD oil is by no means a miracle cure for tinnitus. Patients should first seek the advice of a medical professional before initial administration.
Why People Are Using CBD Oil for Tinnitus?
Many CBD users have also claimed that CBD oil was helpful in relieving symptoms of hearing disorders, such as tinnitus and hyperacusis (increased sensitivity to sound).
Despite public opinion being positive, most information supporting CBD oil as an effective treatment for tinnitus symptoms is anecdotal.
The Mayo Clinic defines tinnitus as a feeling of ringing or noise in the ears when nothing within the environment is causing these sounds to occur.
Tinnitus symptoms include hearing phantom sounds, such as ringing, buzzing, clicking, hissing, roaring, and even humming.
The sounds’ loudness may vary from low pitched to high pitched. However, some tinnitus sufferers have severe cases, as they lose the ability to fully-concentrate or hear other sounds.
According to The American Academy of Audiology, around 30 million people in America are affected by tinnitus.
However, it is not a disorder in itself and may have some underlying cause.
Common causes of tinnitus include:
- hearing loss (due to old age)
- ear infection
- ear injury
- excessive earwax
- constant exposure to loud noises
- neck injuries
- medical conditions, like circulatory system disorders, blood vessel disorders, or Meniere’s Disease (a disorder affecting the inner ear, caused by “triggers” such as stress, PTSD, and emotional distress)
- Most people experience subjective tinnitus, a type of tinnitus where only the patient hears phantom sounds.
On the other hand, cases of objective tinnitus allow patients to hear existing sounds, such as heart murmurs (a sound accompanying heartbeats).
Tinnitus usually occurs when hair cells in the cochlea are damaged.
The cochlea is a spiral-shaped bone that plays an essential role in the body’s auditory process.
In the cochlea, the sounds humans hear are transformed into electric impulses or nerve signals, which the brain interprets as sound frequencies.
When the hair cells in the cochlea are damaged, the brain makes an increased effort to detect the nerve signals it cannot receive by increasing neuronal activity.
This action may be equivalent to using more antennas to get a better signal for one’s radio.
It is the brain’s way of compensating for the loss of hearing.
This hyperactivity in the auditory part of the brain leads to an excess of electrical noises that take the form of tinnitus.
Even though most cases of tinnitus are caused by hearing loss at the cochlea, new studies have recently linked tinnitus to epilepsy.
New research suggested that tinnitus may be a form of sensory epilepsy since tinnitus occurs when there is hyperactivity in the auditory areas of the brain.
Since tinnitus is tied to neural brain activity, researchers investigated whether the use of cannabinoids, like CBD, might be effective in lessening the symptoms of tinnitus.
Cannabinoids, like CBD, have exhibited therapeutic actions that could suppress epileptic and seizure activity in animals.
CBD has well-known anti-epileptic properties and may prove to be an effective treatment for bringing tinnitus relief.
Epidiolex was the first approved anti-epileptic drug to contain CBD in its active ingredients.
However, research examining the effects of CBD on tinnitus treatment or relief is limited. Studies utilizing human subjects are yet to be conducted.
One significant 2015 research investigated whether cannabinoids, like CBD, could affect rat subjects induced with tinnitus.
The researchers administered a 1:1 ratio of cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to rats with acoustic trauma-induced tinnitus.
However, findings revealed that the administration of CBD and THC exacerbated tinnitus in the rats. The cannabinoids even caused tinnitus in the group of subjects that did not initially have a hearing problem.
These results led researchers to conclude that cannabinoids, like CBD and THC, may increase the development of tinnitus to subjects with pre-existing hearing damage.
However, other individuals believe that while CBD may not be an effective tinnitus treatment, it may help alleviate the stress and anxiety that tinnitus patients experience because of a hearing problem.
CBD has well-known antidepressant and anti-anxiety properties that can help inhibit anxiety and depression, which commonly afflict tinnitus sufferers.
However, evidence to support this hypothesis is still lacking.
Medical research has yet to find a cure for tinnitus.
While current research suggests that cannabinoid use may aggravate tinnitus, further studies are still needed to validate these findings.
Still, many believe that CBD’s neuroprotective properties may help provide tinnitus sufferers much-needed anxiety relief, due to emotional distress that accompanies the hearing problem.
However, tinnitus patients should first consult with an audiologist or medical professional before administering or adding CBD oil to their current tinnitus treatment.