Women covers her head with a pillow in attempt to drown out the sound of ringing in her ears from tinnitus


What You Need to Know: CBD for Tinnitus 

Bryan McAllister

By Bryan McAllister

October 11, 2022

Have you ever considered using CBD for tinnitus? After all, CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is often heralded as a wonder product for any variety of ailments; from gout to

and even . CBD has been used by those suffering from a , and with no short amount of praise for its effects.

But while certain maladies, such as inflammation or dry skin, would seem to be a natural fit for relief from CBD, tinnitus may not be the first thing someone thinks of when they think of the good CBD can do. In today’s article we’ll be looking at tinnitus, how it affects the body, and what the research says on how CBD can potentially those suffering from this distracting, often distressing issue. Let’s dive in.

What is Tinnitus?

Often described as an intense, droning “ringing” noise, tinnitus is less of a condition itself and more commonly recognized as a symptom of various other medical concerns. 

Woman holds her head in pain

Experiencing tinnitus can be a cause for confusion; despite how loud tinnitus can sound to the individual — often drowning out other noises entirely — it is not caused specifically from an external source. Only the person suffering from tinnitus can hear the ringing sound in question, and it can be startling for those who are unprepared.

Though we most typically associate a higher-pitched bell-like tone with tinnitus, tinnitus can cause a number of “phantom noises” for those suffering, from low roars to constant, intense clicking. Those suffering from rhythmic sounds during tinnitus attacks may be suffering from a rarer form of tinnitus referred to as “pulsatile tinnitus”, timed with their heartbeat; in this specific instance, medical examiners are able to hear the sounds of the tinnitus along with the patient.

What Causes Tinnitus?

As mentioned above tinnitus is typically a symptom of an underlying condition, not a condition in and of itself. Common causes of tinnitus can include:

  • Ear infections: Infections in and around the ear canal can lead to bacterial growth, scar tissue and other damage to the ear that can cause tinnitus.
  • Ear canal blockages / waxy buildup: Any change in the topology of your inner ear will cause differences in how sound is both received and processed; waxy buildups and other forms of blockages in the ear can lead to tinnitus-like issues.
  • Nerve damage in the neck, head or spine: Nerve damage, particularly along the spinal cord or neck, can increase the risk of tinnitus.
  • Age or sound-damage related hearing loss: As we get older or expose ourselves to loud noises, our inner ear becomes naturally weaker and less capable of functioning at full capacity. As this occurs, the likelihood of tinnitus increases.
  • Medications: Many medications, particularly those that regulate the blood stream, can cause or exacerbate tinnitus.
  • High cholesterol/blood pressure: As with the above, high blood pressure or cholesterol levels can also cause tinnitus to appear, as vasoconstriction can greatly effect the workings of the inner ear.
  • Allergic reactions: As with infections, allergic reactions can lead to an increased amount of buildup in the ear, as well as changes in blood flow and internal pressure.

Though tinnitus is virtually never seen as life-threatening in and of itself, it can be very annoying and distracting from those suffering; the random influx of overwhelming noise at arbitrary points in the day is a jarring sensation, often able to ruin concentration and take focus away from anything else the individual in question might have been doing at the time.

Tinnitus is usually easily diagnosed, though treatment can vary; as tinnitus is linked to a wide array of medical conditions, there is no accepted cure for tinnitus. Instead, the underlying issues must be diagnosed, and treated on their own, to have hope of treating the tinnitus as well.


Does CBD Help With Tinnitus?

As mentioned at the top, CBD can be seen as a bit of a cure-all, recommended for those suffering from a wide range of maladies. CBD has a number of interesting interactions with the human body that can position it as an excellent supplement for certain ailments, but can CBD help those with tinnitus? First, a quick CBD primer:

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of the many chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant. Unlike it’s tetrahydrocannabinol cousins, such as Delta-9 THC, CBD interacts with the body in a very different fashion.

The internal human body has what is known as an endocannabinoid system, featuring a series of receptors designed to intake, utilize and process cannabinoids — including (and primarily) ones we produce ourselves. When external sources of cannabinoids are added to the body they typically affect one of the two main types of cannabinoids receptors we have; the CB1 receptors, which primarily relate to THC, and the CB2 receptors, primarily related to CBD.

CB2 receptors are located throughout the body (as opposed to the purely brain-dwelling CB1 receptors) and can regulate a variety of bodily functions, primarily related to mood, muscle tension and inflammation. 

Can I Use CBD for Tinnitus Treatment?

Unfortunately, research is slim on the topic of effects of CBD for tinnitus. As stands, only a few pieces of scientific literature have been published, and the conclusions vary widely depending on which set of information you choose to digest.

Most prominently, a

from the University of Otago, New Zealand concluded that CBD could possibly increase rates of tinnitus, with those mice exposed to CBD after hearing loss showing a “significant” increase in those with tinnitus. The research concluded that, particularly for those suffering from pre-existing hearing loss, CBD could actually promote the development of tinnitus.

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Meanwhile a

coordinated in part with the Yale University School of Medicine, concluded that current available research was lacking on the topic, offering “no compelling data from either animal or human studies for the use of cannabinoids to alleviate tinnitus”, and further stating that more research on the topic was necessary before definitive statements could be made.

A competing

from Italy landed on the same conclusion as the above, that more studies needed to be done before any conclusions could be drawn, but suggested that the known anti-inflammatory properties of CBD could be of benefit to those suffering from tinnitus and related causes.

How to Treat Tinnitus With CBD

As mentioned above there are few scientific ties supporting the claim that CBD can cure tinnitus. However, given CBD’s relatively low risk for harm, and given proper guidance by your medical professional, if you’d like to use CBD to alleviate symptoms of tinnitus, there are several methods of administration.

First is some fashion of edible or concentrate meant to be digested. CBD comes in a wide variety of

, from the humble to infused sodas and teas. CBD taken in this fashion can have a slower duration than other forms; expect a minimum of 40m to up to two hours before effects become noticeable. But given CBD’s reputation for inflammation reduction and muscle relaxation, you should know when the CBD has been fully integrated into your system.

Secondly is a vaporizer, or through smoking CBD-only hemp. Inhaled CBD will reach the body’s cannabinoid receptors much faster, but similarly wears off much faster in turn. We recommend using a vaporizer over smoking, particularly if looking to reduce issues related to tinnitus, as smoke inhalation can increase blood pressure, potentially enhancing the signs of tinnitus.

Importantly, we emphatically do not recommend the usage of a topical CBD treatment, such as a CBD-infused oil, lotion or tincture applied directly to the ear canal. Oils and other foreign substances can create buildup and invite infections of the type that can lead to tinnitus itself. Unless specified by your healthcare professional as a part of an ongoing treatment, do not apply CBD directly to the inner ear.

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Wrapping Up

Though tinnitus is rarely seen as a debilitating disease, those who suffer can attest to just how disruptive and damaging to day-to-day life it can be. And while current research has little to show on the topic of treating tinnitus with CBD, more studies and information on exactly how the body interacts with CBD — and what it can accomplish — are being released on a very frequent basis. So, unfortunately, we’re still in the learning phases of everything there is to know about CBD for tinnitus.

Sufferers from tinnitus and the medical community hope that a thorough report in the near future will show exactly what most of us with tinnitus would love to hear: that CBD can help alleviate the symptoms of tinnitus. If so, we’ll make sure to keep our faithful readers informed. Until next time!

Bryan McAllister

About The Author

Bryan McAllister