According to the British Tinnitus Association (BTA), although research is still ongoing, early evidence suggests that CBD may exacerbate tinnitus.
CBD interacts with two receptors located in the brain known as CB1 and CB2.
Recent research has indicated that these receptors may play a role in hearing and balance disorders such as tinnitus. That said, existing research was undertaken mainly with rodents as participants.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound that occurs naturally in cannabis and hemp plants. CBD is one of over 100' phytocannabinoids' present in the cannabis plant, and it contains a myriad of therapeutic properties, many of which are backed by extensive scientific research.
CBD is closely related to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a medicinally active compound and an essential ingredient in medical marijuana. While both of these compounds have extensive therapeutic attributes, CBD is the non-psychoactive of the pair. This is beneficial for people hoping to alleviate chronic ailments and conditions without experiencing a 'high'.
CBD can help to alleviate symptoms associated with anxiety, depression, inflammatory disorders, epilepsy, autism, sleep disorders, and skin conditions such as psoriasis. It's also believed that CBD can aid with cognitive functionality, and may contribute towards slowing cognitive decline in people living with Parkinson's, Huntingdon's, and Alzheimer's disease.
Many people advocate CBD for its therapeutic potency alongside the fact that it is non-intoxicating and easy to consume. It offers an appealing set of therapeutic benefits for those that are cautious about trying cannabis products for the first time.
What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a condition that affects roughly 10% of the population on a regular basis. The symptoms of tinnitus include hearing a ringing or buzzing in the ears that is not caused by an external source.
In the U.S alone, over 16 million people seek medical attention for tinnitus every year, with 90% of tinnitus cases occurring as part of an underlying hearing problem.
Several factors can cause tinnitus, including:
- Frequent exposure to loud noise.
- Viral or bacterial infections
- Ototoxic medications (medicine-induced hearing loss)
While a constant ringing sensation in the ears can be permanently frustrating and challenging to adjust to, the condition is also associated with anxiety, concentration problems, and depression. Tinnitus is an annoyance that is difficult to ignore, especially during the evenings when people try to wind down, relax, and sleep.
For this reason, tinnitus is also linked to sleep disorders such as insomnia, a condition that can be improved by regularly using CBD products.
How Could CBD Help to Treat Tinnitus?
Although no studies have proven that CBD can alleviate the intense ringing sensation prevalent in people that live with tinnitus, it may be able to relieve other conditions caused by tinnitus such as:
Tinnitus can be very distressing for some people and can be exacerbated by depression, anxiety, and stress. It's been suggested that there are direct links between tinnitus and the brains serotonergic system, a complex neurological network that is involved in learning, attention, stress, anxiety, and depression.
Our brain holds many receptors linked to our endocannabinoid system, a system which is stimulated and activated by regular CBD supplementation. The endocannabinoid system relies on two receptors, known as CB1 and CB2, to regulate our immune and nervous systems.
Several studies have confirmed that regularly administering CBD can enhance CB1 signalling, which can decrease levels of anxiety and may regulate the production of serotonin, which is one of our natural 'feel-good' hormones.
A 2016 study, conducted on rats, showed promising results that CBD could be used as a treatment for generalised anxiety disorder. Additionally, there is a wealth of anecdotal evidence from CBD users around the world that believe that CBD has helped to manage and relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Insomnia can have many causes, including stress, genetics, diet, anxiety, stress, and tinnitus. Tinnitus often leads to increased anxiety, which, in turn, makes it harder for people to fall asleep and stay asleep.
CBD has been known to decrease feelings of anxiety, but further evidence suggests that it may support a night of more restful sleep. In a 2019 study published by the Permanente Journal, 72 patients with anxiety or sleep problems were administered 25-175mg of CBD every day for a month.
As a result of this study, 66% of patients reported an improvement in their sleep, with the majority of participants also noticing a decrease in their overall feelings of anxiety. Although much more human trials need to be undertaken, this research backs the suggestion that CBD can help to ease sleep/anxiety symptoms that result from tinnitus.
It's worth noting that in one preliminary animal study published in 2015, CBD administration actually worsened the symptoms of tinnitus in rats. However, this may not have a bearing on the effects that CBD has on humans. Overall, the evidence surrounding whether CBD can directly help relieve symptoms of tinnitus is currently inconclusive.
However, CBD has been proven to relieve symptoms associated with anxiety and insomnia, which are both commonly associated with tinnitus.
Here at Enecta, we pride ourselves on research and transparency. Therefore, we recommend discussing CBD with your physician if you are currently undergoing any medical treatment for tinnitus or hearing loss. This is because CBD could interact with some of the pharmaceutical medications that you are prescribed.
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