If you’ve been listening to the buzz around supplements, you’ve probably heard of cannabidiol, or CBD, and all of the benefits related to it. Experts state that it can help with a variety of issues, including anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain. There is one that you may not have heard of yet- there are some experts who claim it can help with tinnitus- but is there any proof that this is true?
In this article, we’ll discuss the use of CBD to treat tinnitus.
What Exactly is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a condition in which people hear a ringing or other type of noise in their ears that is not triggered by an external source. While it can happen to anyone, it is most common in older adults. One thing that’s important to note is that tinnitus does vary in severity. There are some that experience a constant buzzing, ringing, or roaring- which can be extremely distressing.
Tinnitus is actually not a condition itself, but a symptom of a condition. There are several potential causes, including:
- High blood pressure
- Age-related hearing loss
- Middle/inner ear damage
- Regular exposure to loud sounds
- Too much ear wax
- High cholesterol
- Muscle spasms in middle ear
- TMJ disorders
- Meniere’s disease
- Ear/auditory nerve tumors
- Head/neck injuries
How is Tinnitus Typically Treated?
Typically, tinnitus is treated by determining and treating the underlying cause. Your physician may recommend removing excess ear wax and stopping the use of medications that could be triggering the tinnitus. Some medications, such as tricyclic antidepressants may dampen ear sounds.
In some cases, it’s difficult to determine the exact cause for the ringing in the ears. If your physician is unable to determine what is causing your tinnitus or if the prescribed treatments are not working, you may need to get a white noise machine to block the irritating noise you are hearing.
If your tinnitus is due to hearing loss, you may find that a hearing aid or even a cochlear implant may help.
What is CBD?
CBD is one of the 100+ cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. It does not get you high like tetrahydrocannabinol, THC. There are three types of CBD:
- Full spectrum
- Broad spectrum
Full spectrum CBD products contain all cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids from the cannabis plant- including up to 0.3% THC. Broad spectrum contains all of the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids- with the exception of THC. CBD isolate is 100% pure CBD.
In most cases, CBD products will not cause you to test positive on a drug screen- even full spectrum products with trace amounts of THC. However, it’s still important to be careful with them because it is possible. CBD can be found in a variety of forms, such as oils, gummies, creams, lotions, capsules, and more.
Is CBD & Hemp Seed Oil the Same Thing?
No, hemp seed oil and CBD oil are not the same thing. CBD is found in the flowers, stalks, and leaves of the plant and hemp seed oil only contains trace amounts of CBD. Sadly, there are some brands that incorrectly label their products as CBD. In some cases, this is by accident and in other cases it’s done on purpose.
By taking the time to review the ingredient list and the certificate of analysis to find out exactly what you’re purchasing. If you are looking for a CBD product, you’ll want to look for the following terms:
- Full spectrum hemp
- Hemp oil
How Does CBD Work?
According to experts, everyone has an endocannabinoid system, made of endocannabinoid receptors. We have two primary endocannabinoid receptors: CB1 and CB2. It also produces molecules known as endocannabinoids, which are a lot like the cannabinoids that are found in the cannabis plant.
So, why does your body produce these endocannabinoids? Experts still don’t know all there is to know about the endocannabinoid system. However, there is some evidence that it keeps your internal systems running smoothly.
Experts really do not fully understand the mechanisms behind how CBD interacts with the ECS. However, research does show that CBD binds differently than THC to the CB1 and CB2 receptors, which may prevent the endocannabinoids from breaking down.
There is some belief that CBD is more effective when combined with THC. This is why the full-spectrum and even the broad-spectrum products are more effective than the isolate products. This is referred to as the entourage effect.
Can CBD be Used to Treat Tinnitus?
At this time, research regarding the use of CBD to treat tinnitus is mixed. An animal study from 2015 indicated that a combo of CBD and THC may exacerbate tinnitus. Additionally, a 2020 review of several studies indicated that there is not enough evidence from either animal or human trials to determine whether or not cannabinoids can be used to treat tinnitus.
On the other hand, in another 2020 review of studies, it was indicated that since CBD has been proven to have neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory effects, it may help with tinnitus related to hearing loss. However, more research is necessary, especially when it comes to humans.
All of that being said, while CBD may not necessarily cure tinnitus, it could help alleviate the side effects, such as insomnia related to anxiety and stress.
Is it Safe to Use CBD to Treat Tinnitus?
According to the World Health Organization, or WHO, CBD has been proven safe for most people and major, detrimental side effects are unlikely. Some of the potential side effects associated with CBD include:
- Weight loss
- Weight gain
Most people never experience any side effects- but if you do, they will likely be very mild and will clear up by stopping or adjusting your dosage. However, it is important to note that you need to discuss your use of CBD with your physician, especially if you are currently taking any medications. Some research has shown that CBD does interact with some medications.
Also, it’s important to keep in mind that the Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, does not regulate CBD products as medications. However, they do lay down the law when companies are making false claims or engaging in fraudulent practices. Still, there’s no guarantee that all of the OTC CBD products are safe and effective.
You will have to be diligent and do your own research to make sure that you are choosing a high quality CBD product.
Which Type of CBD is Best for Treating Tinnitus?
As we’ve stated, there really is no proof that CBD is effective for treating tinnitus, but if it’s something you want to try, oils are best. After all, they have a much higher bioavailability and can produce full body effects. In addition, make sure that you choose a full spectrum or broad spectrum product so that you can take advantage of the entourage effect.
Tips for Finding a High-Quality CBD Product
If you decide that you want to try CBD to treat your tinnitus, it’s important to note that you will find a plethora of products on the market. They all claim to be the best- but the truth is, there are lots of them that are not-so-great and may even be harmful in some cases.
Below are a few tips for finding a high-quality CBD product:
Check for Third-Party Testing Proof
A high-quality CBD product should have a COA that you can review before you make your purchase. This will confirm the accuracy of the label when it comes to the ingredient list, especially CBD and THC. It will also let you know whether or not the product passed testing for contaminants.
Review the Ingredient List
A high-quality CBD product will contain hemp, hemp oil, or hemp extract. Keep in mind that a hemp seed oil only contains a trace amount of CBD. If possible, make sure that you choose a product that contains organic ingredients.
Confirm the Source of the Cannabis
When reviewing the information about the product, make sure the company is honest about where their hemp is grown and what their manufacturing processes entail.
Check Consumer Reviews
Take some time to look over customer reviews to learn what other people who have used the products have to say. Also, avoid products that are sold on Amazon because Amazon prohibits CBD sales. Therefore, any “CBD” product you find on there is likely a hemp seed oil product.
Research does indicate that CBD has some promising qualities, such as relieving anxiety, insomnia, and pain/inflammation, there is no evidence that CBD or any other cannabis product is effective for treating tinnitus.
However, there is some indication that it can help relieve the side effects related to the constant ringing or buzzing in your ears, such as stress and insomnia. Make sure that you consult with your physician first before you decide to try CBD.