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What are the effects of THC and CBD for Tinnitus?

Since the legalization of cannabis, in some form, in 33 US states, there has been an avalanche of interest into the medicinal uses of marijuana. Many claims have been made that it can alleviate or cure multiple medical conditions. Some of these claims are based on solid evidence while others are not. Although this is a hot topic, very few studies have investigated the effects of cannabis on hearing loss, hyperacusis, tinnitus and balance disorders. Now there are some early indications as to what effects cannabis may have on the hearing and balance system.

This article is largely based on the paper, “Cannabis and Hearing Care” by Dennis Colucci, AuD, and published, in two parts, in The Hearing Journal, July and August, 2019. (1) (2)

History and Use of Cannabis

Many ancient civilizations grew cannabis for fiber and seed production. They also used it for religious or medical use starting in Asia at around 2700 BC.

In the early 1800’s, it was found that cannabis extracts helped reduce the pain and vomiting of people who had cholera. By the late 1800’s, US doctors and pharmacists were prescribing cannabis extracts for nausea and stomach problems.

Recreational use of cannabis started after the Mexican Revolution in 1910 when marijuana, cultivated in Mexico, became available for smoking. Because of the psychoactive properties of the plant, cannabis was criminalized in the US in 1937.

In 1973, President Richard Nixon signed the Drug Enforcement Act as part of his “War on Drugs”. This made all cannabis products, including hemp and marijuana, illegal and stopped research into potential benefits. It was not until the 1990’s that the benefits of cannabis started to be explored.

Modern Day Uses of Cannabis

The two primary cannabis compounds in use today are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is the compound that gives the traditional “high” of marijuana,

while CBD is non-psychoactive and does not give a high. Both are now being studied for their effects on human health and well-being.

Several systematic analyses, randomized trials, and observational studies include evaluations of THC and/or CBD on cases of multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, PTSD, inflammation, Parkinson’s disease, cancer and epilepsy. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of cannabis for chronic pain, nausea and vomiting related to chemotherapy, and appetite stimulation for patients with cancer or HIV. Furthermore, multiple studies have shown a reduction in opioid use following the introduction of cannabis.

CBD has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of refractory epilepsy. This is epilepsy that does not respond to typical pharmaceutical treatment. Over 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy and about a third of those have seizures that do not respond to treatment. In fact, the FDA has approved Epidiolex, a 99% pure oral CBD extract for use by children and adults with refractory epilepsy, because the addition of CBD has been proven to reduce seizure frequency.

In one of the largest clinical studies on cannabis usage and effects, over 3,000 people who used either THC or CBD reported on the severity of their symptoms before and 90 minutes after usage. Symptoms were organized in 27 categories, including back pain, sleep and depression. The participants reported and average improvement of 31.8%. According to study authors, THC products provided the greatest relief and smoking THC was the most widely used method.

The authors concluded that cannabis provides symptom relief and has both positive and negative side effects. There are short-terms risks to the use of THC, including functional safety issues, product toxicity and abuse, and various health concerns. However, unlike THC, CBD potency was not associated with side effects or immediate symptom changes. CBD is non-psychoactive, non-addictive, and well-tolerated with a good safety profile. No evidence shows that recreational use of CBD results in public health-related problems. However, in this study, CBD was less effective than THC in addressing participants symptoms.

Cannabis for Hearing Loss and Tinnitus

Only a few studies have looked into the use of cannabinoids for hearing loss, tinnitus and balance disorders and there is much more work to be done here.

One study examined the potential of cannabinoids to inhibit the action of a particular receptor (TRPV1) that responds to stimuli and causes pain and cellular injury. This receptor’s activation is responsible for the pathological development of cystitis (inflammation of the bladder), asthma, epilepsy, diabetes and hearing loss. The use of CBD as an inhibitor of this receptor may have clinically therapeutic potential.

Cisplatin is a powerful chemotherapy drug, which produces widespread hearing loss and associated tinnitus. Another study evaluated the use of cannabinoids in maintaining normal hearing in laboratory rats. They were given cannabinoids through transtympanic injections before being given cisplatin. These injections were given through the eardrum and the drug surrounded to cochlea, perfusing into it. The results showed hearing was protected from cisplatin damage.

Another study, with apparently opposite effects, was conducted on laboratory rats with prior hearing damage. This study showed cannabinoids may increase the occurrence of tinnitus in previously hearing-impaired rats.

There is obviously a great need for much more study in this area. Laboratory animals are used before trials on humans in order to determine safety, dosage and effectiveness. Results concluded in the laboratory frequently do not transfer to humans in the same way so large human studies are necessary.

So far, it seems that cannabinoids may be valuable in preventing hearing loss due to ototoxic medicines. This would be a tremendous advantage to millions of people who have to use medications that may damage their hearing. However, if hearing loss has already occurred, cannabinoids may worsen the condition and actually cause tinnitus

Very few studies have been conducted examining the effects of THC and CBD for tinnitus. Learn what research has been performed thus far and what was found.

Can CBD Help with Tinnitus?

Give me a C! Give me a B! Give me a D! What’s that spell? A potential new solution for tinnitus in Concord.

Tinnitus is Common in California

An estimated 50 million people experience tinnitus across the U.S. That means about one in five residents of Concord suffers from at least an occasional ringing in the ears.

What are the symptoms of tinnitus?

Symptoms vary considerably from person to person; some notice only an intermittent noise while others experience constant sound that is difficult to ignore. Tinnitus can cause a host of problems including stress, depression, memory loss and sleeplessness.

Can Tinnitus be cured?

Despite some promising research studies, there is currently no cure for tinnitus. Doctors instead focus on coping strategies to help make symptoms less noticeable and disruptive.

Masking techniques such as white noise therapy, counseling and relaxation exercises are the most common treatment solutions. Medications may help patients handle issues such as anxiety and insomnia, but these vary in effectiveness and may prove habit-forming.

A new study has found that cannabidiol (CBD) might offer a solution for some tinnitus sufferers.

Does research show a connection between CBD and Tinnitus?

Dr. Dennis Colucci of Laguna Hills led a study to determine whether CBD might be beneficial to some people who suffer from tinnitus.

Now is the perfect time for research of this type, as cannabis is gaining acceptance across the U.S. California is one of 11 states that has legalized recreational marijuana use, and many others allow medical marijuana.

For many, the health benefits of CBD outweigh any negatives. It’s non-psychoactive, doesn’t produce a high and appears to offer relief from the symptoms associated with certain medical conditions. The FDA has already approved its use for patients suffering from refractory epilepsy, a move that paves the way for future medical treatments.

Dr. Colucci’s study, published in the August 2019 issue of The Hearing Journal, showed that CBD was effective in reducing the cycle of anxiety and stress experienced by people with tinnitus. They often worry about their ability to adjust to life and ignore the ringing in their ears, which can lead to a worsening of symptoms.

CBD helped patients with tinnitus-related anxiety

“Patients with severe or debilitating tinnitus are often so anxious it can actually turn into a psychopathology,” Dr. Collucci said. “‘How do I get rid of it? How do I stop it? Will it get worse? What do I do?’ These worries are often accompanied by insomnia and an inability to concentrate, which can result in severe depression.

CBD helps patients relax, reducing stress and anxiety. When offered alongside counseling, it can be highly effective in improving their overall quality of life. Dr. Colucci’s study found the benefits continued even after treatment stopped for some patients.

Are Dr. Golucci’s results definitive?

Before the medical community fully embraces CBD as a viable solution, further studies are needed. Dr. Colucci readily acknowledges the fact that the long-term efficacy and safety of cannabis is unknown and that more research into its use in the treatment of tinnitus and hyperacusis is necessary. But he is encouraged by studies such as one published in 2018 in Neuropsychopharmacology Reviews and the 2018 WHO Critical Review Report on CBD, both of which confirmed the potential benefits of CBD.

“With additional research,” he said, “The ability to reduce the effects of neurological and autoimmune disorders using cannabinoids could be just around the corner.”

With a great deal of uncertainty over its effectiveness, your best bet is to meet with an audiologist in Concord or Walnut Creek if you are suffering from tinnitus.

Related Tinnitus and Hearing Loss Posts:

  • Tinnitus in America
  • Causes Cures for a Ruptured Eardrum
  • Is Auditory Attention Decoding the Solution to an Age-Old Hearing Problem?

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Concord, CA 94520
(925) 676-8101
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(925) 676-8101 | There is no cure for tinnitus. A new study has found that cannabidiol (CBD) might offer a solution for some tinnitus sufferers.