What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a medical condition that affects your ears. If you have this condition, then you will probably experience ringing or hearing other noises through one of your ears. That noise is not caused by an external sound; however, the affected person will be the only one that can hear those voices or sounds. Tinnitus is fairly common among the general population, affecting around 15-20% of people, especially the elderly.
Tinnitus is commonly a symptom or a complication of many medical conditions that include age-related hearing loss, ear injury, improper medication use, or problems with the circulatory system. In the majority of cases, tinnitus is usually resolved with the treatment of the underlying medical condition, either with or without other drugs that are used to reduce or mask the ringing sound that affected people experience.
Our users find CBD helps with Tinnitus :
Symptoms of Tinnitus
Tinnitus is most commonly described as a ringing sound in the ears, with the absence of an external sound source. That being said, some patients might have other types of phantom noises in their ears, which include:
- Buzzing sound
- Clicking sound
In all people who have tinnitus, they have what is called ‘subjective tinnitus’, which refers to the fact that the ringing sounds that they hear can only be heard by them while nearby normal people can’t hear these sounds. The noises that are associated with tinnitus can vary in pitch, ranging from a low roar to a high squeal. This condition may affect one or both ears. In severe cases, the ringing sounds may interfere with the affected person’s activities of daily living and his/her quality of life. Also, tinnitus, in some cases, may come and go.
How is Tinnitus Treated?
The treatment of tinnitus depends on whether or not it is caused by an underlying medical condition. If it is caused by a health problem, then your doctor may be able to improve your symptoms by treating or managing the underlying condition.
Here are some of the approaches that your doctor may use to treat your underlying cause:
- Earwax removal:
In some cases, tinnitus is caused by the blockage of the ear canal by ear wax. In this situation, the doctor may prescribe some ear drops that make the wax easy to remove, and in often cases, the tinnitus symptoms are improved after this procedure.
- Treating the underlying circulatory condition:
In certain cases, some abnormalities with the blood vessels may cause your tinnitus condition. In this case, the doctor may prescribe medications to treat the blood vessel condition. If medications are not effective, then surgery or other approaches may be used.
- Hearing aids:
In the majority of elderly patients, tinnitus is often caused by age-related hearing loss. In this case, the use of hearing aids may help improve the associated symptoms or noises.
- Adjusting medications:
Some drugs are known to cause tinnitus as a side-effect to their usage. In this case, the doctor may recommend stopping or reducing the dose of that drug, and in other cases, the doctor may prescribe an alternative drug.
If tinnitus is not caused by an underlying health problem, then the following approaches are often used to improve this condition:
This approach is often used to help you live with tinnitus by changing the way you perceive and feel about your symptoms.
It should be noted that there are currently no drugs that can cure tinnitus for good. Instead, these drugs may only help reduce the severity or the frequency of experiencing the ringing sounds. The physician may also prescribe some drugs to treat anxiety or depression, which often accompany tinnitus.
The Endocannabinoid System and Tinnitus
Cannabinoids that are derived from marijuana are known as phytocannabinoids. They also exist inside our bodies in the form of endocannabinoids. These endocannabinoids interact with target receptors, known as cannabinoid receptors type 1 (CB1) and type 2 (CB2), in a system known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This ECS modulates many physiological functions, including pain perception, sleep, inflammation, and many others. This effect is exerted by the interaction between the endocannabinoids and the cannabinoid receptors. CB1 receptors are mainly distributed in the central nervous system and the spinal cord, while CB2 receptors are often located in the immune system and in the peripheral nervous system.
The cochlear nucleus in the brainstem is the structure that makes us hear things and sounds. To date, a very limited number of studies investigated whether cannabinoid receptors are located in the cochlear nucleus. The first autoradiographic studies to investigate this matter concluded that CB1 receptors are identified in the cochlear nucleus. However, it was then suggested that CB1 receptors are present in the cochlear nucleus in very small amounts compared to any other site of the brain, and this may have been the reason why researchers were not encouraged to investigate the effects of various cannabinoid receptor agonists, such as cannabidiol, in treating tinnitus.
That being said, there are very few studies that did investigate the role of some cannabinoid receptor agonists in treating tinnitus.
Is CBD Good for Your Tinnitus Condition?
To date, there has only been one study that investigated the association between CB1 receptors in the cochlear nucleus and the occurrence of tinnitus. In this animal study, a group of researchers investigated the expression of CB1 receptors in the ventral (front) and dorsal (back) cochlear nucleus of rats with salicylate-injection-induced tinnitus. It was reported that the number of nerves expressing CB1 receptors in rats with tinnitus was significantly lower than that of the control group (rats with no tinnitus). This result indicates that in tinnitus, the expression or density of CB1 receptors in the cochlear nucleus is reduced, and this may be a problem with the use of CB1 agonist drugs, such as cannabidiol. Therefore, the effectiveness of CB1 receptor agonists is questioned.
Unfortunately, there are currently no systematically-conducted studies to determine the effects of cannabinoids, including CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), on tinnitus. To date, only one case report has been reported regarding the use of a THC-containing drug (dronabinol) in a human patient with tinnitus. However, the patient experienced intracranial hypertension (increase in the pressure inside the brain), and the patient also experienced other side effects that are commonly associated with the use of cannabis.
Based on the limitations in the current evidence regarding the efficacy of CBD use in patients with tinnitus, more research studies are still warranted to be conducted in order to reach a definitive and evidence-based conclusion in this matter. Therefore, it is recommended not to use CBD for tinnitus, particularly without consulting a physician first.
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