Tinnitus and cannabinoids | British Tinnitus Association

Name of treatment


(cannabidiol or CBD oil) (cannabinol)

Type of treatment


Claims for treatment

Reduces/eliminates the tinnitus percept.

How treatment is delivered

Orally, especially sub-lingual (under the tongue)

Potential negative consequences

Animal models suggest that cannabinoids may promote the development of tinnitus[1].

Evidence offered:

Papers available

7 with keywords tinnitus + cannabinoid in PubMed database

Conclusions drawn

To date, there have been no systematic studies of the effects of cannabinoids on tinnitus in humans.[2] It is feasible that different cannabinoids may have different effects on tinnitus.

Quality of evidence[3]


Does the BTA recommend this treatment?


BTA opinion on this treatment:

Very little research has been done, but the evidence so far suggests that cannabinoids may exacerbate tinnitus.

Licences for the use of CBD oil as medicine have not yet been granted.

Would the BTA support further studies into this treatment?

Yes, if high-quality study.

Verdict: Safety – is this treatment harmful?

  Evidence of harm

Verdict: Efficacy – does this treatment work?


Evidence that it has no effect


CBD oil is legal in the UK, providing the content of a psychoactive component of cannabis (THC, tetrahydrocannabinol) is 0.2% or below.

[1]  Zheng Y, Reid P, Smith PF. Cannabinoid CB1 receptor agonists do not decrease but may increase acoustic trauma-induced tinnitus in rats. Frontiers in Neurology 2015. https://doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2015.00060

[2] Smith PF, Zheng Y. Cannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors and tinnitus. Hearing Research, 2016; 332 210-216.

[3] A = Systematic review/meta analysis. B = Randomised control studies. C = Cohort studies. D = Case control studies. E = case studies/reports. +/- to be used to indicate quality within bands

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Published 15 April 2019

Photo by Roberto Valdivia on Unsplash

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