Tinnitus and Medical Cannabis Treatment
While not a condition itself, rather an underlying symptom of another disorder, tinnitus causes the ears to ring or buzz, affecting 15 to 10% of the population, according to the Mayo Clinic. The phantom noise, which varies in pitch, can be constant or temporary, coming unexpectedly. There are a few different treatment types for tinnitus, including earwax removal, addressing blood vessel disorders, or altering medication that may be causing it.
One treatment for the auditory disorder is medical cannabis, according to a 2019 report in The Hearing Journal. Dr. Dennis A. Colucci, in the article “Cannabis and Hearing Care: Hear Loss and Tinnitus,” points out how specific plant properties, including cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), are effective in treating major health disorders including auditory disorders.
Dr. Colucci states that, “Some of the latest articles in the U.S. National Library of Medicine include the study by Tabrizi, et al., who reported the potential of endocannabinoids to inhibit the action of a receptor (TRPV1) that responds to noxious stimuli, causing pain and injury to the cell. The TRPV1 receptor activation is considered responsible for the pathology development of cystitis, asthma, epilepsy, diabetes, and hearing loss.” Therapeutic use of CBD may be able to target this receptor.
Tinnitus Causes, Symptoms & Treatments
The Mayo Clinic reports that while certain conditions exacerbate tinnitus, an exact cause of the phantom sound, which can also include clicking, hissing, and roaring, is unknown. Some conditions that bring it on are age-related hearing loss, exposure to loud noise, earwax blockage, and ear bone change. Other less common causes of the condition include Meniere’s disease, TMJ disorders, or head and neck injuries, according to the Mayo Clinic. In extremely rare cases, a blood vessel disorder can cause tinnitus.
The condition brings on several complications, including fatigue, depression, and anxiety, all of which can negatively affect one’s quality of life. Along with noted treatments, including medications, other methods to ease tinnitus include hearing aids, masking devices, and white noise machines. The Mayo Clinic reports alternative medicines like acupuncture and hypnosis can also reduce the condition.
Tinnitus and Therapeutic Uses of Cannabinoids
The Sound Relief Hearing Center reports on medical cannabis and tinnitus: “CBD works thanks to the role of two receptors in the brain, known as CB1 and CB2,” reports the medical website. “Research has shown that CB1 and CB2 may play a role in balance and hearing disorders like tinnitus; however, the research is fairly limited.”
Dr. Colucci’s study, mentioned previously, suggests that the specific TRPV1 receptor plays a role in easing tinnitus. The study states that “the use of antagonists, including CBD, to target this receptor may have a clinically therapeutic potential.” Like the Sound Relief Hearing Center, Dr. Colucci cites somewhat limited research on the exact connection between medical cannabis and the hearing disorder.
For example, Dr. Colucci cites a study on tinnitus by researchers Paul F. Smith and Yiwen Zheng who investigated “if cannabinoid receptor activation could create a pro- or antiepileptic action in the cochlear nucleus and if cannabis could make tinnitus better or worse.” Their results, however, were inconclusive.
Yet, the journal did report that “the discovery of the endocannabinoid system and medicinal properties of cannabis has changed the way the public and the medical community view marijuana and hemp.” This is good news for tinnitus and numerous other conditions that medical cannabis could ease.