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2023 Survey: How Tinnitus Patients Use Cannabis

Updated: May 2, 2023

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2023 Cannabis for Tinnitus Survey

A February 2023 study entitled "Cannabis Use Amongst Tinnitus Patients: Consumption Patterns and Attitudes" that was published in the Journal of Otolaryngology—Head & Neck Surgery surveyed patients who suffer tinnitus "regarding their perspectives and usage patterns of cannabis." The research defined tinnitus as "the perception of sound in the absence of an acoustic stimulus."


Understanding Tinnitus

According to the Mayo Clinic, tinnitus is when patients experience ringing or other noises (including buzzing, roaring, clicking, hissing, and humming) in one or both ears. "The noise you hear when you have tinnitus isn't caused by an external sound and other people can't hear it," reported the famous U.S. clinic. It noted that tinnitus is a common issue and that it affects between 15 and 20 percent of society. The condition is more prevalent in seniors, but can affect those at all ages and for a variety of reasons.


Tinnitus is typically caused by an underlying condition, including ear injury, circulatory system problems, or age-related hearing loss. The condition can improve with certain treatments that either reduce or mask the internal noise that is perceived by sufferers.


"Tinnitus is typically caused by an underlying condition, including ear injury, circulatory system problems, or age-related hearing loss."

Reports the Clinic: "The noises of tinnitus may vary in pitch from a low roar to a high squeal, and you may hear it in one or both ears. In some cases, the sound can be so loud it interferes with your ability to concentrate or hear external sound. Tinnitus may be present all the time, or it may come and go."


According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health's National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, 10 percent of the U.S. adult population has experienced tinnitus that lasts a minimum of five minutes during the past year. This is a patient population of more than 25 million.


2023 Cannabis for Tinnitus Survey Design

This research was designed as a survey that involved a relatively small cohort of only 45 participants featuring a mean age of 55 that was comprised of 31 females and 14 males. All participants had tinnitus and completed an 18-item questionnaire "assessing perception, attitudes, and cannabis usage patterns." Over a six-month period, patients were randomly recruited from an outpatient neuro-ontology clinic of three neurotologists.


"Cannabis use is both common and can be beneficial in the tinnitus patient population," reported the study.

The survey focused on attitudes toward cannabis use, preferred avenue of consumption, and past and current cannabis use patterns. The youngest participant was 31; the oldest 76. "Cannabis use is both common and can be beneficial in this patient population," reported the study's authors. They noted that a better understanding of patient attitudes about marijuana use "is a prerequisite to exploring its potential use in clinical practice."


2023 Cannabis for Tinnitus Survey Results

The survey found that 96 percent of participants said they would consider cannabis in the treatment of their tinnitus. The patients reported that they used cannabis for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Auditory symptoms (91 percent)

  • Sleep disturbances (64 percent)

  • Emotional complaints (60 percent)

  • Functional disturbances (56 percent)

More than one-third of survey participants (36 percent) reported that they had previously used cannabis. Slightly less, 22 percent, said that they were using cannabis for their tinnitus at the time of the survey.


Of those using cannabis at the time of the survey, 80 percent reported that it "helped with tinnitus-related symptoms, such as dizziness, anxiety, bodily pain, and sleep disturbances."

The most common consumption avenue was edibles (62 percent), followed by tablets (58 percent) and topicals such as creams (47 percent).


"Concerns among tinnitus patients using cannabis included cost, health implications, and potential social side effects."

Concerns among the tinnitus patients regarding their cannabis use included cost (29 percent), potential physical health implications (53 percent), and psychosocial side effects (60 percent). Half of the survey participants reported that they had learned about cannabis from a friend or family member. Only 22 percent of participants said they had learned about cannabis from a healthcare professional such as a physician or nurse.


2023 Cannabis for Tinnitus Survey Conclusions

The study's authors concluded that the use of cannabis to treat tinnitus is fairly common. Despite this frequency, most tinnitus patients using marijuana to treat their symptoms were interested in learning more.


"The majority of patients learned about cannabis for their condition from family or friends, not trained medical professionals."

The majority of patients became aware of how cannabis might help their condition from family or friends, not trained medical professionals who can properly guide important things such as consumption avenue, dosing, and the avoidance of dangerous interactions with prescription or other drugs.


"Otolaryngologists can develop an understanding of patient attitudes and usage patterns to guide patient counseling on the use of cannabis for symptoms associated with tinnitus," summarized the scientific investigation.


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