Name of treatment

Cannabinoids (cannabidiol or CBD oil) (cannabinol)

Type of treatment

Pharmaceutical

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]

C/D

Does the BTA recommend this treatment?

No

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 a 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

Comments

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

Download this information:

Tinnitus_and_cannabinoids_April_2019.pdf

Published 15 April 2019

Photo by Roberto Valdivia on Unsplash