Can CBD Help Vestibular Disorders?

Article Summary

CBD is a naturally occurring chemical compound in the hemp plant. Although more studies are needed, there is evidence to suggest that CBD could be a helpful treatment for vestibular symptoms such as tinnitus, sleep disturbance, vertigo, balance challenges, and anxiety. CBD has also been shown to help manage inflammation, pain, stress, mood disorders, and also has protective and preventive properties that can improve overall health and wellbeing.

People who suffer from inner ear and brain balance disorders are desperate for both accurate diagnoses and relief from symptoms. Because many vestibular disorders have no known cure, many patients seek alternative treatments that may improve emotional and cognitive symptoms, as well as quality of life. One natural solution that is currently being studied for its effects on tinnitus and other vestibular issues is CBD (cannabidiol).

What is CBD?

CBD is a naturally occurring chemical compound (cannabinoid) in the hemp plant. Since the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp-derived products on a federal level, CBD’s popularity has skyrocketed. Thousands of published studies have shown promising evidence that CBD may offer mental and physical health benefits, with few side effects. People from all walks of life have reported amazing results, adding to the anecdotal evidence that this natural herb can help improve wellbeing.

CBD Quick Facts:

  • CBD is legal on a federal level.
  • CBD, unlike THC, does not have any intoxicating or hallucinogenic effects.
  • The effects and benefits of CBD is the subject of many published, peer-reviewed studies.
  • CBD has few serious side effects and doesn’t appear to be addictive.
  • CBD can be taken in a variety of ways, including capsules, oil tinctures, topicals, edibles, and vapes.

How Does CBD Work?

CBD impacts the body’s Endocannabinoid System (ECS), which you can think of as your body’s central control center. The ECS is a chemical messaging system that regulates the central nervous system and works to keep balance throughout the body. Some medical thought suggests that a disruption in Endocannabinoids, which can lead to a breakdown in the nervous system’s smooth functioning, may be the trigger for various diseases.

Our bodies naturally produce endocannabinoids (chemicals) that keep our ECS healthy. Modern environments and lifestyles often expose us to toxins and stress, which may reduce our body’s ability to create these essential chemicals. So, when our ECS is deficient in these endocannabinoids, supplementing with cannabinoids like CBD may give the ECS a boost that’s missing and essential to maintaining health.

Read more.

How Can CBD Help Vestibular Disorders?

While many vestibular disorders have no known cures, some experiential evidence proposes that CBD can calm some symptoms like tinnitus, sleep disturbance, vertigo, balance challenges, and anxiety. Some vestibular patients have seen improvements in their day-to-day functioning with the use of CDB.

Inflammation

Inflammation of the inner ear commonly contributes to dizziness and disruption of sensory information from the ear to the brain. One of the CBD’s most researched superpowers allows the ECS to bring inflammation levels into balance1 and prevent excessive inflammation. Controlling inflammation allows the body’s natural healing inflammatory processes to work its magic without overreacting and damaging the surrounding tissues or causing collateral damage.

Neuroprotection

The ECS helps control your cognitive functions: memory, coordination, focus, mood, stress, anxiety, sleep, addiction, pain perception, pleasure, and brain energy. People with vestibular disorders often struggle in these areas. CBD is thought to help the ECS do its job of protecting brain cells and possibly supports new growth (neurogenesis).

Mood and Stress

CBD can offer a sense of calm and positivity while warding off anxiety, stress, and depression. For the vestibular patient, staying calm and stress-free is an important goal to avoid triggering other vestibular symptoms.

The well-known fight-or flight response occurs when you experience high stress levels: your brain focuses first on surviving the threat and produces the hormone cortisol. Continued high levels of cortisol can create lasting wear and tear on your brain, resulting in a domino effect of mental and physical deterioration. CBD can help you manage stress because it activates a type of serotonin receptor, promoting relaxation and restoring balance to the nervous system. This in turn has a positive effect on mood and your sense of well-being.3

Anxiety

Two important brain chemicals that help regulate mood and stress reactions are serotonin and dopamine. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter known as the ‘happy chemical’ because of its mood boosting effects. When your serotonin levels are balanced you feel less anxious, more focused, and emotionally stable. When your serotonin levels are low or imbalanced, you may feel irritable or angry. CBD may help keep your serotonin levels balanced. CBD can activate serotonin receptors,9 which help give you a powerful, long-lasting mood boost. Think of these receptors like tiny locks that only chemicals like serotonin and CBD have the key to unlock. Activating these receptors also seems to slow your heart rate and may even lower your body temperature, allowing you to literally keep your cool. Read studies and more information on CBD and serotonin.

Studies show that CBD is effective at decreasing activity in the amygdala, the fear center of the brain. Even small oral doses of CBD have been shown to fight anxiety, which could be a huge benefit to vestibular patients who often have anxiety as a result of the disturbing symptoms of a balance disorder.

Dopamine

This is a type of neurotransmitter that works with the section of your brain that regulates pleasure and reward. It also affects emotions, behavior, motivation, and mental processes. CBD indirectly affects dopamine levels by blocking GPR6 and GABA activity in the brain, encouraging your body to naturally increase your dopamine levels. Read studies and more information on CBD and dopamine.

Sleep

Lack of sleep can trigger vestibular symptoms and cause sleep disruptions, which in turn triggers a vicious cycle of more vestibular symptoms. Unlike sleeping pills, CBD has fewer and milder possible side effects, and it isn’t addictive. CBD can help regulate your inner clock, or circadian rhythm, which controls processes like sleep/wake cycles. CBD also targets other factors that are interfering with your sleep quality, such as stress, anxiety, chronic pain, and indigestion.

Pain

While not all vestibular disorders involve pain, many people experience headaches, neck pain, and muscular tension/pain, along with other symptoms. CBD may help with various types of pain, addressing pain-inducing symptoms, such as inflammation, nerve damage, sleep issues, and mood imbalances. CBD is a natural, effective, safer alternative to many pain medications.

Tinnitus

One symptom that may be calmed with CBD is tinnitus. Often associated with Meniere’s Disease, tinnitus is a very distressing, constant noise. CBD has shown some promise in muting this sensation.

Immune System and Gut Health

While people with vestibular disorders and their health providers are mostly focused on reducing the most common symptoms, it’s important to keep other body systems in good health. Evidence suggests that your immune system and gut health may benefit from CBD. Read more about CBD and immune response.

What to Buy and How to Take CBD

Aside from ensuring your CBD is high quality, look for Full Spectrum CBD oil, which can legally have up to 0.03% THC. This is the federally legal amount that is recognized as “Certified THC-Free.” It will not make you feel high, and it should not register on a drug test, as long as you are purchasing it from a reputable company with 3rd-party lab tests. Look for organic products made in the USA. To get the most out of every dose, choose nano-amplified CBD for the best bioavailability and quickest, longest-lasting results. The most effective way to get the CBD nutrients into your bloodstream is to drop the CBD oil under your tongue and hold it for 1-2 minutes before swallowing. Read more.

Does CBD Have Side Effects?

If you’re taking medications and/or have a medical condition, please always consult your healthcare provider before adding supplements to your routine. CBD may interact with some drugs, including those with a”‘grapefruit warning.”

Though it’s often well-tolerated, CBD can cause side effects such as dry mouth, diarrhea, reduced appetite, drowsiness, and fatigue. CBD can also interact with other medications you’re taking, such as blood thinners.

While many people have reported wonderful results, some people have not seen an improvement while using CBD for tinnitus and other vestibular disorders. It’s important to note that everyone’s journey and symptoms will vary, and you’ll need to monitor your body’s response.

How Does CBD Compare to Prescription Drugs for Vestibular Disorders?

The FDA has yet to approve an effective drug for vestibular disorders. Health professionals recommend the combined use of vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT), medication, surgery, and complementary/alternative medicine. When combined, these strategies help put patients in a relaxed state to lessen the negative impact stress has on them so they are better equipped to manage their symptoms.

Compared to prescription medications, CBD:

  • Has no harmful side effects
  • Has no harmful dose
  • Is non-addictive
  • Improves your mental and physical wellness
  • Is available and legal without a prescription

Summary

While there is not enough research yet to determine CBD’s direct impact on the vestibular system, studies show beneficial effects. CBD has shown to help manage inflammation, pain, stress, mood disorders, and also has protective and preventive properties that can improve overall health and wellbeing.

Check with your health provider before adding supplements to your routine.

By Kim Kelley, Pure Mana CBD

With Karen Mizrach

View References
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