• Studies suggest that cannabidiol (CBD) may have anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, and anxiolytic (antianxiety) effects to help modulate the auditory system’s neuroinflammatory responses(1). However, no compelling research proves CBD affects hearing or whether the nonpsychoactive compound causes tinnitus.
  • CBD may help manage anxiety and stress(2). These conditions are some of the complications of tinnitus(3).
  • Ease of access and CBD’s overall therapeutic value may contribute to the growing consumer demand for CBD-derived products(4).

Can Products Derived From Cannabis and Its Components Like CBD Really Ease the Effects of Tinnitus?

Researchers have not conducted extensive human clinical trials to determine whether CBD works to ease tinnitus effects in individuals with this condition.

Despite insufficient clinical research, existing studies mentioned that CBD may help manage various conditions such as anxiety and stress disorders(5). These ailments are among the complications of tinnitus(6).

On the other hand, animal studies suggested that cannabinoid agents may not affect tinnitus or increase tinnitusrelated behavior(7). Such results warrant further studies on whether CBD similarly affects tinnitus in humans.

Which Type of CBD Is Best for Tinnitus?

Clinical studies have not identified what CBD type works best for tinnitus. Individuals considering using CBD products to help manage tinnitus or its symptoms must consult a doctor, one well versed in CBD or cannabis use, to determine what CBD type suits the consumer’s condition.

CBD brands classify CBD products into three types: isolate, broad-spectrum, and full-spectrum.

CBD isolates contain only pure CBD. These products are THC-free and contain no other cannabinoids and compounds.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a cannabis plant-based compound often linked with marijuana use due to the substance’s likelihood to produce a psychoactive or “high” feeling(8).

Broad-spectrum CBD oil contains most cannabis plant compounds and cannabinoids such as terpenes and flavonoids. However, broad-spectrum CBD products do not contain THC.

Terpenes are essential oil components that give the cannabis plant its distinct scent(9). Meanwhile, flavonoids are plant substances with potential antimicrobial and antioxidant benefits(10).

Full-spectrum CBD oil contains most of the cannabinoids and compounds in cannabis plants. These compounds include flavonoids, terpenes, and a small amount of THC.

Is CBD Safe to Use for Tinnitus?

Scientists have not performed extensive clinical trials to determine whether CBD is safe for use in individuals with tinnitus.

Despite insufficient clinical evidence on CBD’s safety and efficacy, the World Health Organization (WHO) acknowledges that this substance has a good safety profile and may be well tolerated in humans(11).

Does CBD Affect an Individual’s Hearing? Does CBD Cause a Ringing in the Ears?

No compelling studies prove that CBD can affect an individual’s hearing or cause ringing in the ears.

However, CBD’s purported neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, and anxiolytic properties may help modulate neuroinflammatory responses in the auditory system(12). These effects may also act on pathways associated with cochlear damage protection.

Why Does CBD Affect Everyone Differently?

Individuals may have varying tolerances for CBD side effects and need different doses from other users. Factors such as an individual’s overall health, exercise, diet, daily stress, sleeping patterns, and genetics may affect dosage(13).

Consumers planning to use CBD for any medical condition should consult a physician before taking the substance. A doctor with a cannabis background can determine if CBD is the right solution for the user’s condition.

New Studies Into Cannabinoids and Hearing

New research on cannabinoids evaluated the neuroimmunological mechanisms (pertaining to the immune and nervous systems) for the potential use of cannabinoids as therapeutic and protective agents in the auditory system(14).

The authors suggested cannabinoids may be involved in the auditory system’s neural processing, protection against auditory damage, and non-auditory circuits linked to tinnitus.

According to epidemiological studies (a medicine branch dealing with disease incidence), there may be a link between tinnitus and recreational use of cannabis in a noncontrolled setting(15).

Animal studies mentioned that cannabinoid receptors may play a role in modulating auditory signaling(16). However, there is no compelling data from animal or human studies to suggest cannabinoids may alleviate tinnitus.

How Do Some Cannabinoids Trigger Tinnitus? How Do Cannabinoids Make Tinnitus Worse?

One study on a rat model of trauma-induced tinnitus used a combination of THC and CBD in a one-to-one ratio(17).

The authors noted that these cannabinoids may increase tinnitus development in rats. Still, more longitudinal studies are necessary to ascertain whether this effect also applies to humans.

Cannabinoids Come in Several Forms

There are two types of cannabinoids: exogenous and endogenous(18). Exogenous cannabinoids come from plants, such as cannabis, or synthetic sources. Meanwhile, endogenous cannabinoids are naturally produced within the body.

Individuals who want to manage their  tinnitus may consider different forms of cannabinoids and use any of the administration methods below based on their preference. Still, consulting a doctor is recommended before trying these routes.  

  • Ingestion: Oral administration involves taking CBD through the mouth. This method allows the substance to pass across an individual’s gastrointestinal tract before spreading into the bloodstream.

Oral CBD products include gummies, candies, chews, cookies, and capsules.

  • Sublingual administration: This method involves applying CBD oil under the tongue. The sublingual application lets CBD enter the bloodstream directly, bypassing the digestive system.

Sublingually administered products include CBD oil tinctures, tablets, and oromucosal sprays. Individuals who opt for tinctures can use calibrated droppers for accurate dosing.

  • Topical application: The topical route means administering CBD to the skin. Topicals have zero bioavailability and do not enter the bloodstream(19).

Topical products include CBD creams, ointments, balms, salves, and lotions.

  • Inhalation: This method involves inhaling CBD into the system through vaping or smoking. The substance passes through the lungs, heart, and brain before spreading throughout the body(20).

Vapes are associated with health risks linked to lung disease(21). Before vaping CBD, individuals must take precautions and be wary of these negative effects.

Individuals with preexisting health conditions who are contemplating taking CBD must first consult a doctor or healthcare provider for a diagnosis and effective treatment.

Buyer Beware: Cannabinoids Are Not a Miracle Cure

Some manufacturers may claim that their CBD products can treat various medical conditions as part of the marketing hype. However, it is worth noting that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States prohibits these companies from making such claims.

Furthermore, CBD products have little overseeing or regulation(22). Thus, consumers should ask for certificates of analysis (COAs) and the source of CBD and other ingredients for verification.

What Is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabis-derived compound typically extracted from hemp or marijuana plants. Hemp-based CBD is recognized for its supposed therapeutic potential without the mind-altering effects(23).

The World Health Organization (WHO) acknowledges CBD as effective for managing epilepsy syndromes unresponsive to existing antiseizure drugs(24).

Individuals often use CBD to help with chronic pain, insomnia, anxiety, or tobacco and heroin addiction(25).

The ease of access to CBD products through cannabis-specific dispensaries or online stores and the substance’s overall therapeutic value may contribute to the increasing consumer demand for CBD(26).

One study mentioned that 62% of CBD consumers used this substance to help manage medical conditions(27). Among these conditions, the top five were chronic pain, arthritis, anxiety, depression, and insomnia.

How Does CBD Work?

When an individual takes CBD, this cannabinoid interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system is responsible for the body’s immune response, pain control, emotional processing, temperature regulation, and inflammatory response(28).

The ECS comprises the CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors regulate alertness, temperature, and hunger(29). Meanwhile, CB2 receptors help the body’s inflammatory bowel conditions and immune functioning.

CBD does not directly bind to the CB1 and CB2 receptors(30). Instead, the substance inhibits the fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) that breaks down anandamide in the body.

Anandamide is an endocannabinoid that produces an overall modulatory effect on the brain’s reward circuitry(31).

Is CBD the Same As Hemp Seed?

The difference between CBD and hemp seed is that CBD is derived mainly from the leaves and flowers of hemp plants. Meanwhile, products made from hemp seeds have little to no CBD(32). Hempseed oil mainly comes from hemp seeds.

Buyers should sift through CBD products carefully to determine whether the specific item uses CBD oil or hempseed oil. Buyers should check the product’s COA to know the actual cannabinoid content.

The Difference Between Marijuana and CBD

CBD is an exogenous phytocannabinoid (plant-based cannabinoid) that can act as a neurotransmitter with purported anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties(33). Emerging clinical data and scientific research demonstrate CBD’s potential benefits for several medical conditions.

While CBD can come from either marijuana or hemp, the nonpsychoactive compound is often derived from hemp. 

Meanwhile, marijuana is a cannabis plant strain containing THC and CBD(34). Marijuana typically comes from dried cannabis flowers, and its primary psychoactive chemical that causes intoxicating effects among users is THC(35).

How Can Consumers Find a Quality CBD Product?

When choosing high-quality CBD products that may help with tinnitus, individuals should consider the following factors:

  • Extraction method: Manufacturers extract CBD from the cannabis plant using different extraction techniques, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), ethanol, and hydrocarbon methods.

CO2 extraction uses highly pressurized carbon dioxide to extract plant compounds. Many manufacturers consider the CO2 method safest for extracting CBD(36).

Ethanol extraction uses ethanol or ethyl alcohol for extracting CBD.

Meanwhile, hydrocarbon extraction uses butane or propane as solvents for obtaining CBD.

Hydrocarbons are neurotoxic and flammable. Solvents not adequately purged from the CBD extract may be accidentally ingested and become a health hazard.

  • Certificates of analysis (COA): Reputable CBD brands provide their products with COAs, which tell consumers the items underwent independent lab testing. COAs contain information about the products’ actual CBD and THC content(37).

What Is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a ringing noise in one or both ears. This noise does not come from an external source, and other people usually cannot hear the noise.

This auditory condition affects about 15% to 20% of people and is especially common among older adults(38).

Symptoms of tinnitus include a buzzing, clicking, hissing, humming, or roaring sound in the ears(39). Tinnitus sufferers can experience complications such as stress, fatigue, anxiety, sleep problems, depression, and headaches.

Uncertain Causes of Tinnitus

Numerous health conditions can trigger tinnitus. In many cases, tinnitus sufferers are uncertain of the exact cause.

Common tinnitus causes include the following(40):

  • Hearing loss: The inner ear (cochlea) contains hairs that receive sound waves and trigger electrical signals from the ear to the brain, which interprets these signals as sound.

When these hairs become bent or broken due to age or when listening to loud sounds, they can send random impulses to the brain and cause tinnitus.

  • Ear canal infection or blockage: Earwax, fluid buildup, or the presence of dirt or foreign materials can block the ear canals. This blockage can alter ear pressure and lead to tinnitus.
  • Head or neck injuries: Trauma to the head or neck can affect the inner ear, hearing nerves, or brain function related to hearing.

The following are other lesser-known tinnitus causes(41):

  • Meniere’s disease: This condition is an inner ear disorder due to abnormal inner ear fluid pressure.
  • Ear bone changes: The middle ear bones may stiffen and affect the individual’s hearing, causing tinnitus.
  • Inner ear muscle spasms: Muscles in the inner ear can tense up and lead to tinnitus or hearing loss.

Tinnitus Relief: How Is Tinnitus Usually Treated?

Although drugs typically cannot cure tinnitus, medication may help reduce the severity of complications or symptoms(42).

To identify the tinnitus cause, a doctor will perform various tests such as imaging, movement, lab, and hearing tests.

An audiologist or audiology expert can prescribe medications to help manage complications associated with tinnitus or relieve the symptoms of an underlying cause or condition.

Treatments to help decrease tinnitus symptoms include the following(43):

  • Hearing aids: Using these devices may help with age-related or noise-induced tinnitus and hearing loss.
  • Earwax removal: Removing earwax blockage may help lower tinnitus symptoms.
  • Treating a blood vessel condition: Undergoing surgery or taking medication may resolve underlying blood vessel conditions causing tinnitus.

Electronic devices, such as the following machines, may help lessen tinnitus symptoms(44):

  • White noise machines: These machines produce static-like noises or environmental sounds, such as falling rain or ocean waves. Individuals may use these devices to help with sleep.

Alternative white noise machines include fans, dehumidifiers, and air conditioners that help make tinnitus less perceptible at night.

  • Masking devices: These devices are similar to hearing aids that produce continuous, low-level white noise that may help suppress tinnitus symptoms.

FAQs

1. Does CBD cause tinnitus to go away?

There are insufficient compelling studies that prove CBD helps alleviate tinnitus.

However, one animal study using a one-to-one combination of CBD and THC showed that cannabinoids may cause the development of tinnitus(45). Further clinical studies may help determine whether this effect applies to humans.

Studies also suggest that CBD may help manage stress and anxiety(46). These conditions are among the numerous tinnitus complications(47).

2. What drugs trigger tinnitus?

Drugs that can cause tinnitus include antibiotics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), diuretics or water pills, cancer drugs, antidepressants, and antimalarial drugs(48).

Generally, higher doses of these medications may worsen tinnitus(49). The unwanted noise often disappears after stopping the use of these drugs.


  1. Cannabinoids, Inner Ear, Hearing, and Tinnitus: A Neuroimmunological Perspective https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7719758/
  2. CBD Oil: What Is It and How Does It Work? https://www.eehealth.org/blog/2019/09/cbd-oil/
  3. Tinnitus: Symptoms & Causes https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tinnitus/symptoms-causes/syc-20350156
  4. A Cross-Sectional Study of Cannabidiol Users https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6043845/
  5. CBD Oil: What Is It and How Does It Work? https://www.eehealth.org/blog/2019/09/cbd-oil/
  6. Tinnitus: Symptoms & Causes https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tinnitus/symptoms-causes/syc-20350156
  7. Does Cannabis Alleviate Tinnitus? A Review of the Current Literature https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7752070/
  8. Tetrahydrocannabinol https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/tetrahydrocannabinol
  9. The Cannabis Terpenes https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7763918/
  10. Flavonoids As Antioxidants https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10924197/
  11. WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence: Fortieth Report https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/279948/9789241210225-eng.pdf
  12. Cannabinoids, Inner Ear, Hearing, and Tinnitus: A Neuroimmunological Perspective https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7719758/
  13. CBD Dosing https://www.projectcbd.org/guidance/cbd-dosing
  14. Cannabinoids, Inner Ear, Hearing, and Tinnitus: A Neuroimmunological Perspective https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7719758/
  15. Does Cannabis Alleviate Tinnitus? A Review of the Current Literature https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7752070/
  16. Ibid.
  17. Cannabinoid CB1 Receptor Agonists Do Not Decrease, but may Increase Acoustic Trauma-Induced Tinnitus in Rats https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4364172/
  18. Cannabidiol Primer for Healthcare Professionals https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7340472/
  19. Page 210 of Healing With CBD https://drive.google.com/file/d/1AGlxnhS2SoFeOXEuysv75bd_C9pEnwsU/view
  20. Best Way to Take CBD https://www.projectcbd.org/guidance/best-way-take-cbd
  21. Can Vaping Damage Your Lungs? What We Do (and Don’t) Know https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/can-vaping-damage-your-lungs-what-we-do-and-dont-know-2019090417734
  22. Cannabidiol Primer for Healthcare Professionals https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7340472/
  23. CBD Oil: What Is It and How Does It Work? https://www.eehealth.org/blog/2019/09/cbd-oil/
  24. Ibid.
  25. Cannabidiol (CBD): What We Know and What We Don’t https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/cannabidiol-cbd-what-we-know-and-what-we-dont-2018082414476
  26. A Cross-Sectional Study of Cannabidiol Users https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6043845/
  27. Ibid.
  28. The Endocannabinoid System: Essential and Mysterious https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/the-endocannabinoid-system-essential-and-mysterious-202108112569
  29. Ibid.
  30. Cannabidiol Primer for Healthcare Professionals https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7340472/
  31. Brain Activity of Anandamide: A Rewarding Bliss? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6460372/
  32. FDA Responds to Three GRAS Notices for Hemp Seed-Derived Ingredients for Use in Human Food https://www.fda.gov/food/cfsan-constituent-updates/fda-responds-three-gras-notices-hemp-seed-derived-ingredients-use-human-food
  33. Cannabidiol Primer for Healthcare Professionals https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7340472/
  34. Ibid.
  35. What Is Marijuana? https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/what-marijuana
  36. CBD Oil: An Introduction https://www.projectcbd.org/wellness/cbd-oil-introduction
  37. 10 Tips for Buying CBD https://www.projectcbd.org/guidance/10-tips-buying-cbd
  38. Tinnitus: Symptoms & Causes https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tinnitus/symptoms-causes/syc-20350156
  39. Ibid.
  40. Ibid.
  41. Ibid.
  42. Tinnitus: Diagnosis & Treatment https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tinnitus/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20350162
  43. Ibid.
  44. Ibid.
  45. Cannabinoid CB1 Receptor Agonists Do Not Decrease, but may Increase Acoustic Trauma-Induced Tinnitus in Rats https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4364172/
  46. CBD Oil: What Is It and How Does It Work? https://www.eehealth.org/blog/2019/09/cbd-oil/
  47. Tinnitus: Symptoms & Causes https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tinnitus/symptoms-causes/syc-20350156
  48. Ibid
  49. Ibid
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