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Can Marijuana Use Alleviate Tinnitus?

Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, is a fairly mysterious condition. It doesn’t always appear as a phantom ringing– it can also show up as a whooshing sound, beeping, buzzing, or any number of other annoying noises. It can be caused by things as varied as wax buildup or foreign objects in the ear canal, allergies, neurological conditions, injuries, or what appears to be nothing– even people with no hearing can experience tinnitus. Unfortunately, since the sounds tinnitus sufferers hear don’t really exist and the causes of it are varied, there’s no objective test or foolproof cure for this condition.

medical-cannabis-tinnitus-reliefWhile tinnitus might seem like a mild annoyance to outsiders, people with severe tinnitus often find that it seriously disrupts their lifestyle. The sounds can make it hard to hear properly, sleep, or even go about their daily lives. As a result, there are any number of home remedies for the condition, some of them ranging from useless to downright dangerous.

Some people speculate that medicinal marijuana may help alleviate tinnitus symptoms. Since there’s no test to measure tinnitus and it’s often difficult to pinpoint a cause, getting a prescription for medicinal marijuana for it might be nearly impossible. However, that doesn’t mean that cannabis isn’t helpful.

A neurological tinnitus study

A 2009 study by Dr. Thanos Tzounopoulos found that mice with tinnitus exhibited exaggerated brain activity. In the past, Dr. Tzounopoulos found that endocannabinoid receptors affected brain plasticity. He drew comparisons between tinnitus and other neurological conditions, like chronic pain, which suggests that marijuana may be an effective treatment. However, there is also anecdotal evidence that marijuana may cause or exacerbate tinnitus for some sufferers.

Medicinal cannabis has been prescribed to help people cope with some of the conditions that can cause tinnitus, like cancer and allergies. In those cases, it’s easy to see how marijuana might help. Even among those people whose tinnitus doesn’t respond to marijuana, it may help alleviate some of the stress, anxiety, and insomnia that plague tinnitus sufferers.

One thing many people forget is that a marijuana prescription isn’t like a regular pharmaceutical prescription– it is effectively permission for an individual to experiment with medical-grade cannabis, and determine if it helps their symptoms. Some tinnitus sufferers may find that it does, while others may find that it worsens them. As medicinal marijuana prescriptions are currently not available for this condition, some patients opt to growing their own cannabis plants from seeds. While this legally puts patients in danger, the alleviation it causes makes it the most helpful tool in their search for relief. Hopefully, as people like. Dr. Tzounopoulos further tinnitus research, more concrete and clear evidence becomes available.

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