Researcher examining leaves of cannabinoids that have been linked to tinnitus.

Over the last several decades the public opinion about cannabinoids and marijuana has transformed a lot. Many states have legalized the use of marijuana, THC, or cannabinoid products for medicinal purposes. The idea that some states (fewer) even allow the recreational use of pot would have been unimaginable 10 years ago.

Any compounds produced by the cannabis plant (the marijuana plant, essentially) are known as cannabinoids. Despite their recent legalization (in some states), we’re still learning new things about cannabinoids. It’s a common idea that cannabinoid compounds have widespread healing qualities. But research implies a strong link between the use of cannabinoids and tinnitus symptoms but there are also contradictory studies.

Numerous forms of cannabinoids

At present, cannabinoids can be consumed in lots of forms. It isn’t only pot or weed or whatever name you want to put on it. Other forms can include topical spreads, edibles, pills, inhalable vapors, and more.

The forms of cannabinoids available will vary state by state, and many of those forms are still actually illegal under federal law if the amount of THC is above 0.3%. So it’s important to be cautious when using cannabinoids.

The long-term complications and side effects of cannabinoid use are not well understood and that’s the issue. Some new studies into how cannabinoids impact your hearing are perfect examples.

Research linking hearing to cannabinoids

Whatever you want to call it, cannabinoids have long been connected with improving a large number of medical disorders. Seizures, nausea, vertigo, and more seem to be improved with cannabinoids, according to anecdotally available evidence. So researchers decided to see if cannabinoids could help with tinnitus, too.

Turns out, cannabinoids may actually cause tinnitus. According to the research, more than 20% of study participants who used cannabinoid products documented hearing a ringing in their ears. And tinnitus was never previously experienced by those participants. Furthermore, marijuana users were 20-times more likely to report experiencing tinnitus symptoms within 24 hours of consumption.

Further research suggested that marijuana use may exacerbate ear-ringing symptoms in individuals who already have tinnitus. Put simply, there’s some pretty convincing evidence that cannabinoids and tinnitus don’t really mix all that well.

The research isn’t clear as to how the cannabinoids were consumed but it should be mentioned that smoking has also been connected to tinnitus symptoms.

Unclear causes of tinnitus

Just because this link has been found doesn’t automatically mean the underlying causes are all that well understood. That cannabinoids can have an impact on the middle ear and on tinnitus is rather clear. But it’s far less clear what’s producing that impact.

There’s bound to be additional research. Individuals will be in a better position to make smarter choices if we can make progress in comprehending the connection between the numerous forms of cannabinoids and tinnitus.

Beware the miracle cure

Recently, there has been plenty of marketing hype around cannabinoids. To some extent, that’s due to changing attitudes associated with cannabinoids themselves (this also reflects a growing wish to get away from opioid use). But this new research makes clear that cannabinoids can and do create some negative effects, especially if you’re uneasy about your hearing.

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

But a powerful link between cannabinoids and tinnitus is certainly implied by this research. So no matter how many ads for CBD oil you see, you should steer clear of cannabinoids if you’re worried about tinnitus. The connection between cannabinoids and tinnitus symptoms is unclear at best, so it’s worth using some caution.

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References

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/lio2.479
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5855477/
https://www.medpagetoday.com/meetingcoverage/aaohnsf/82180

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