Tinnitus refers to a constant sound in the ears with no external source. There is no cure for tinnitus, but some measures are available to help people manage symptoms. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound in cannabis that may relieve some effects of tinnitus, but the evidence is limited.

Most tinnitus treatments aim to improve quality of life and reduce psychological distress. None of these reduce the volume of the tinnitus or address the underlying cause, which is often unclear.

Research is ongoing into complementary therapies that could help reduce symptoms. These potential therapies include CBD, a compound in cannabis.

Cannabis involves two main compounds: CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is psychoactive, meaning it produces the “high” associated with cannabis consumption. CBD is not psychoactive, but research is underway to look at several potential uses of CBD in managing nerve disorders, reducing inflammation, and providing pain relief.

This article looks at the potential benefits and drawbacks of CBD as a way to manage tinnitus symptoms.

Is CBD legal?The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the legal definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. This made some hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3% THC federally legal. However, CBD products containing more than 0.3% THC still fall under the legal definition of marijuana, making them federally illegal but legal under some state laws. Be sure to check state laws, especially when traveling. Also, keep in mind that the FDA has not approved nonprescription CBD products, and some products may be inaccurately labeled.

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According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), around 10–25% of adults in the United States have tinnitus. However, there are few treatment options and no full cure.

Studies have shown mixed results when researchers have looked at CBD’s effects on tinnitus.

Learn about tinnitus.

Direct effects on tinnitus

Few studies have looked at the effects of CBD on tinnitus. A 2020 review looked at the limited studies and found that, while it is possible CBD may help with the effects of tinnitus, more research is needed.

An older study from 2015 examined the direct effects of CBD on tinnitus, testing a half-THC, half-CBD mixture on rats with noise-induced tinnitus.

The research found that the treatment actually increased the number of rats that showed tinnitus-related behavior. However, the results did not specify which compound was responsible or how THC and CBD would affect tinnitus in humans.

Supporting the effects of tinnitus on daily life

CBD may not yet have evidence supporting its use for reducing the volume of tinnitus or how often it occurs. However, it may be helpful for reducing the effects of tinnitus on daily life.

For example, tinnitus can interfere with sleep and cause anxiety and depression. A small 2021 study found that CBD reduced anxiety within a month and kept anxiety scores down for 57 of the 72 participants. In 48 participants, sleep scores reduced after taking CBD, but these were more likely to move up and down after a month.

A limited survey study of 45 legal cannabis users with tinnitus in Canada found that people used cannabis to manage the following effects:

  • dizziness
  • auditory symptoms
  • emotional difficulties
  • tinnitus-linked pain, such as headaches or neck pain
  • sleep disturbances
  • concentration issues and fatigue

Around 96% of the participants would consider cannabis to be a treatment for tinnitus. However, this study referred to the consumption of the whole cannabis plant rather than CBD alone. As a survey, it was also highly open to bias.

CBD is generally safe to use, and most people tolerate it well.

A 2023 review found that CBD can cause mild side effects in some people, including:

However, there are no dosing guidelines around CBD. Most studies have only tracked side effects for 2 weeks or a small group of participants, according to a 2017 review.

Longer-term, larger studies are necessary to confirm whether using CBD for a long time to treat a chronic condition such as tinnitus is safe.

Learn more about CBD safety.

There are no guidelines for using CBD for tinnitus. It is not yet a confirmed treatment for tinnitus, and tinnitus management varies among people living with the condition.

CBD products generally fall into three categories:

  • Full-spectrum: This uses all extracts of a cannabis plant, including the minimum amount of THC to prevent feeling a “high” and remain legal as a CBD product.
  • Broad-spectrum: These are similar to full-spectrum CBD but are nearly THC-free.
  • Isolate: This is pure CBD.

According to a 2020 review, research has only shown clinical benefits with full-spectrum CBD. This might be due to different compounds working together and reacting, known as the “entourage effect.”

Read more about the types of CBD.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any specific CBD products for treating tinnitus.

However, a 2023 review offers helpful guidelines for finding high quality, safe CBD products. The authors suggest reviewing the following aspects of a given product:

  • Source and type of hemp: Choose CBD products that producers have made from organic, non-GMO hemp without using pesticides or herbicides.
  • Extraction method: Choose products that have extracted CBD using safe methods, such as CO2 or ethanol. Avoiding those using harmful solvents to extract CBD.
  • Third-party testing: Verify that an independent lab has tested the product with a certificate of analysis (COA). High quality CBD products will provide this to guarantee CBD and THC content and the absence of contaminants.
  • Transparency in labeling: Inspect labels for clear information on CBD concentration, additional ingredients, and potential allergens.
  • THC compliance: People should confirm that THC content in CBD products is within legal limits to avoid psychoactive effects or potential legal troubles when in possession of the CBD product.
  • Production details: Look for transparent manufacturing details, including a clear production date, expiration date, and batch number.
  • Customer reviews and reputation: Research customer reviews to check product reputation and effectiveness.
  • Transparent brand practices: Select products from reputable, transparent brands that make customer education and support a priority.
  • Packaging and storage: To preserve CBD’s potential medicinal effects, ensure that a CBD product comes in the right packaging, such as dark glass bottles, and follow recommended storage guidelines.

Learn about CBD products.

Tinnitus treatment aims to reduce the impact of the condition on daily life. According to the NIDCD, other treatment options might include:

  • Sound therapies: This might support sleep by masking or distracting from tinnitus using devices such as generators, hearing aids, wearables, or combination devices.
  • Behavioral therapy: Counseling, including tinnitus education and coping techniques, may address anxiety. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) might also help people with tinnitus identify and change negative thought patterns. Tinnitus retraining therapy is another option that aims to retrain the brain and support adjustment.
  • Medications: There are no specific medications for tinnitus. However, doctors may prescribe antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications to relieve psychological symptoms of tinnitus.

Using herbal supplements such as CBD may help some symptoms for some individuals, but strong evidence is lacking. A person can speak with a healthcare professional about suitable alternatives.

Learn more about natural remedies for tinnitus.

People often ask the following questions about tinnitus management.

Does anything really help tinnitus?

There is no cure for tinnitus. However, sound masking devices can reduce the impact of tinnitus on daily life. Therapies, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), may reduce anxiety and support a person’s ability to cope with tinnitus emotionally. Some medications may also support reduced anxiety, depression, or sleep disturbances.

What should you not do when you have tinnitus?

Certain factors may make tinnitus worse, including straining to hear and experiencing stress. Practicing stress relief can reduce the impact of stress. When managing tinnitus, it is also important not to neglect any corrective devices for hearing loss, as this can lead to hearing difficulties.

It can also help to avoid loud noises, as these can cause tinnitus or make it worse.

CBD resources

Visit our dedicated hub for more research-backed information and in-depth resources on CBD.

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No strong evidence supports CBD as a complementary therapy for tinnitus. In some studies, CBD made tinnitus reactions worse in rats.

However, CBD may help with some of the effects of tinnitus on daily life, including anxiety, sleep disorders, and neck pain.

People generally tolerate CBD well. It is safest to choose organic products with transparent, reliable labeling and a certificate of assessment showing that a third-party lab has tested them.