If you experience a persistent ringing in your ears, you are not alone: some 50 million people across the U.S. experience tinnitus. For some, it is an occasional nuisance that is easily ignored. But for those less fortunate, it can interfere with many aspects of their daily lives as a psychosomatic stressor.

Currently, there is no cure for tinnitus. However, everything from hearing aids, and cognitive behavioral therapy to sound treatment and acupuncture have been used as strategies to treat or diminish its intensity. One of the more emergent treatments gaining steam is cannabis, particularly CBD.

The difference between cannabis, CBD, THC and marijuana

First and foremost, when people or anyone in the medical community talk about treating anything with cannabis, it’s in reference to a family of marijuana plants that includes THC and CBD, the latter of which are cannabinoids. It’s important to differentiate these, as THC, the cannabinoid responsible for the “high,” has been known to actually increase tinnitus in studies. Whereas CBD, the cannabinoid that’s responsible for interacting with THC, is more associated with mellowing physical effects like pain relief and non-head-“highs.” CBD, on the other hand may play a role in alleviating disorders like tinnitus.

CBD as a tinnitus treatment

CBD is having a moment right now. A $2 billion industry, laced in lotions, gummies, tinctures, even dog treats — it’s everywhere. Though can it treat tinnitus? A forensic audiologist with ties to Mike Tyson thinks so. Speaking in a piece for Forbes, Dr. Dennis Colucci, who is also an executive at Tyson Ranch, Tyson’s burgeoning cannabis empire, suggested that CBD may be able to treat the psychosomatic element of tinnitus, breaking the anxiety loop associated it.

“This new area of science is already showing great promise and, with additional research, the ability to reduce the effects of neurological and autoimmune disorders using cannabinoids could be just around the corner,” Colucci said, pointing to a 2018 article in Neuro psychopharmacology Reviews on PTSD and the 2018 WHO Critical Review Report on CBD.

So, short answer to a long question — maybe CBD can treat tinnitus. Presently, there are myriad treatments available to a trained audiologist who can facilitate a treatment plan by adding to the aforementioned ways and/or including a novel sound therapy called Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT), along with counseling, mindfulness techniques and hearing aids.

If you or a loved one may be suffering from symptoms related to tinnitus, call Dr. Andrea Livingston at Central Florida Hearing Services at 863-386-9111.