Some studies indicate that CBD may be an effective natural treatment to reduce the symptoms of a vestibular disorder. Can CBD treat vertigo and dizziness? Read here to understand how CBD's anti-nausea, neuroprotective, and anti-inflammatory properties can aid people.
Can CBD Help Vestibular Disorders?
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 been shown to help manage inflammation, pain, stress, mood disorders, and 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.
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 CBD.
Inflammation of the inner ear commonly contributes to dizziness and disruption of sensory information from the ear to the brain. One of 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.
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
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 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.
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.
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. It can help regulate your inner clock, or circadian rhythm, which controls processes like sleep/wake cycles. It also targets other factors that are interfering with your sleep quality, such as stress, anxiety, chronic pain, and indigestion.
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. It is a natural, effective, safer alternative to many pain medications.
One symptom that may be calmed with CBD is tinnitus. Often associated with Meniere’s Disease, tinnitus is a very distressing, constant noise. It 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.
What to Buy and How to Take CBD
Aside from ensuring your CBD is high quality, look for Full Spectrum 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 nutrients into your bloodstream is to drop the oil under your tongue and hold it for 1-2 minutes before swallowing. Read more.
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 IT 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
While there is not enough research yet to determine CBD’s direct impact on the vestibular system, studies show beneficial effects. It 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.
Can CBD Treat Vertigo? – August 2022
Treatment for vertigo symptoms depends on what is causing it. For those who want to go natural, CBD is an excellent option, given its many potential benefits.
In a study that utilized data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Surveys to study dizziness, it was found that vertigo and dizziness rank among the most common reasons for consultation and referral to specialist care ( 4 ) .
In a MedlinePlus article on dizziness and vertigo, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) says that dizziness makes people feel lightheaded or disoriented. If people feel like they or the room is spinning, they have vertigo. Both dizziness and vertigo make people lose their balance ( 5 ) .
In a 2018 study published in the journal Frontiers in Neurology , CBD was shown to reduce the recurrence of adverse events when used as add-on therap y ( 6 ) .
The authors of the study also found that CBD reduced fatigue, sleepiness, irritability, insomnia, appetite loss, aggressiveness, nausea, and dizziness in most of the subjects.
In another research , which was published in the British Journal of Pharmacology , results suggest that CBD may be an effective treatment for nausea and vomiting ( 7 ) .
CBD has also been shown to wield potent anti-inflammatory effects, as one study , which was published in the American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology in 2007, shows ( 8 ) .
The study mentioned above was done on animals. However, the authors also noted that since 2005, CBD had been approved for the treatment of pain, inflammation, and spasticity linked to multiple sclerosis in humans .
CBD’s anti-inflammatory characteristic may prove beneficial to alleviate the swelling of the inner ear, also referred to as labyrinthitis.
Vertigo is a symptom of labyrinthitis, National Health Service (NHS) UK says ( 9 ) .
How CBD Works To Alleviate The Symptoms of Vertigo
Endocannabinoids are neurotransmitters that attach to cannabinoid receptors in the nervous system.
Within the human body is the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which regulates a variety of functions including appetite, sleep, pain and immune system response ( 10 ) .
The ECS is composed of two primary cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2).
The role of the CB2 cannabinoid receptor in immune regulation was demonstrated in a 2009 study supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)-NIH.
In the said study, the authors noted that CB2 receptors most often found on the cells of the immune system help moderate inflammation and immune response to pathogens ( 11 ) .
Given that vertigo is a symptom of inflammation, it can be deduced that treating inflammation may help treat vertigo symptoms.
Anti-inflammatory drugs are also used to treat vertigo and dizziness, says Vestibular Disorders Association (VeDA) ( 12 ) . But can CBD also help with inflammation, and how?
A 2018 study published in the Journal of Pain Research has demonstrated that CBD may help reduce chronic pain by influencing endocannabinoid receptor activity, reducing inflammation, and interacting with neurotransmitters ( 13 ) .
In another study published in the Molecules Journal that same year, data have shown CBD’s ability to decrease swelling by signaling to the body to shut down its inflammation response ( 14 ) .
Meanwhile, a 2018 study published in the Journal of Frontiers in Neurology found that continuous and consistent doses of CBD oil, administered over an extended period helps reduce dizziness ( 15 ) .
However, the results do not provide a direct connection to CBD oil’s effects on vertigo. Given that vertigo occurs at an entirely different intensity level as compared to normal dizziness, it is difficult to assess whether CBD could treat conditions that cause vertigo as a symptom.
The Pros and Cons of CBD Oil for Vertigo
- CBD “is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile,” as the World Health Organization (WHO) states in a critical review ( 16 ) .
- Scientific studies mentioned above show that CBD may help suppress dizziness, nausea, and vomiting, which are often linked to some cases of vertigo.
- CBD’s anti-inflammatory characteristic, as shown in the studies mentioned previously, make CBD potentially beneficial in treating vertigo symptoms.
- Unlike some commonly prescribed medications for vertigo, such as ondansetron, diazepam, lorazepam, and prednisone, CBD oil may be purchased without a prescription in locations where they are legally available.
- In a review , CBD has been shown to be well-tolerated at doses of up to 1,500 mg per day ( 17 ) .
- Studies are too limited to determine whether or not CBD is an effective treatment for conditions other than the ones approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
- As with the use of any natural chemical compound, there are risks involved in using CBD. According to the Mayo Clinic, possible side effects include drowsiness, dry mouth, diarrhea, fatigue, and reduced appetite ( 18 ) .
- CBD can alter how the body metabolizes certain medications, as studies reveal ( 19 ) .
Research indicates that the CYP450 family of enzymes is responsible for metabolizing several phytocannabinoids (cannabinoids that exist naturally in the cannabis plant), including CBD ( 20 ) .
How CBD Oil Compares to Alternative Treatments for Vertigo
Vertigo is a type of dizziness characterized by the illusion of rotational motion, says the American Academy of Family Physicians . Associated symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and excessive sweating. Because vertigo can have multiple concurrent causes, especially among the elderly, a specific diagnosis can be elusive ( 21 ) .
Still, certain medications are prescribed by doctors to help with symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and dizziness.
The American Gastroenterological Association recommends antihistamines for the treatment of nausea associated with vertigo or motion sickness ( 22 ) .
Meclizine is an antihistamine that works by blocking the signals to the brain that cause dizziness, nausea, and vomiting says Mayo Clinic ( 23 ) .
Meclizine is also used for vertigo (dizziness or lightheadedness) caused by ear problems (2 4 ) .
When there is no definite cause of vertigo, doctors may advise their patients to opt for vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT). This procedure strengthens the vestibular sensory symptom, which reduces the frequency and intensity of vertigo symptoms, as explained in the 2011 study published in the Journal of Clinical Neurology ( 25 ) .
Another technique that can allay vertigo symptoms is the Epley maneuver, which involves a series of changes in the position of the head and body. This type of exercise, which can be done at home, helps to treat the symptoms of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), according to an article posted in Johns Hopkins Medicine ( 26 ) .
Meanwhile, some essential oils are being advertised and/or recommended for ailments including vertigo and tinnitus (the perception of noise or ringing in the ears), says Robert M. DiSogra, AuD, who has more than 40 years of experience in audiology and has published and lectured extensively on pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals for hearing loss and tinnitus ( 27 ) .
However, in an article published by the American Academy of Audiology, DiSogra says that, although essential oils possess numerous therapeutic properties, they do not help with vertigo or tinnitus.
More importantly, DiSograa advises against the ingestion of essential oils or its placement into the ear canal, saying that massage is the best way to apply essential oils to help relieve symptoms ( 28 ) .
A 2013 study published in the Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine Journal showed the anti-inflammatory effects of lavender on the central nervous system ( 29 ) . However, note that using essential oils is not a recognized treatment for vertigo. Instead, these oils are used to help ease the symptoms linked to the disorder.
Magnesium therapy is another tool that may help with vertigo symptoms.
In a 2018 study published in Open Heart Journal , vertigo was presented as a less severe sign of magnesium deficiency ( 30 ) .
However, there is no substantial evidence that links vertigo to magnesium deficiency. Neither is there a study that supports magnesium therapy as a treatment for vertigo. More studies are needed.
Also, despite the efficacy of prescription medications, like antihistamines, used to help with vertigo symptoms, these drugs bring about side effects.
Side effects that may be caused by antihistamines include clumsiness or unsteadiness, nausea, vomiting and headache ( 31 ) . Ironically, these are the same symptoms of most vertigo cases ( 32 ) .
Cannabidiol (CBD), on the other hand, is a natural alternative that has shown to have little side effects, and the side effects of CBD are less common than those associated with most pharmaceutical medications used to treat vertigo symptoms.
CBD may also be used as a dietary supplement like magnesium or as a topical like essential oils.
Given CBD’s potential to help with vertigo symptoms, as shown in the studies mentioned earlier, using it may help provide some much-needed and quick relief.
Still, before experimenting with different CBD products, speak to a doctor about a CBD treatment or using CBD oil for treating vertigo symptoms.
How to Choose The Right CBD for Vertigo
Pure CBD oil, tinctures, and concentrates are CBD products designed for the sublingual method of application, which is ideal when taking CBD for vertigo symptoms.
CBD products in these forms can easily be held in the mouth to give time for the active ingredients to be absorbed by the capillaries in the mouth before being swallowed ( 33 ) .
However, regardless of the form of CBD product of choice, careful consideration must be employed in choosing the best CBD oil for vertigo symptoms.
The following factors are essential to ensure the safety and reliability of the CBD products purchased:
- Research on the exact legal stipulations applicable to CBD in the area where it would be purchased and used.
- Purchase only from legitimate and reliable big brands. Majority of companies that manufacture the best CBD oil products purchase their hemp from farms that are located in California, Texas, Europe, and Colorado.
- When buying from an online store, research product reviews. When buying from a physical store or dispensary, check whether the store is authorized by the government to sell CBD.
- One important thing to look for in CBD products is certification codes. Several certification authorities approve certain products only after some thorough screening tests.
- Compare company claims about their products’ potency with that of the third-party lab reports.
- Consulting with a trusted medical professional who is experienced in CBD use is ideal before one purchases his or her first bottle of CBD.
CBD Dosage For Vertigo
There are no standard CBD doses prescribed for vertigo. Thus, it may be best to start with a dosage that is recommended and displayed on the product label.
Recording any progress and side effects that may be experienced during the therapy may also be beneficial.
How to Take CBD Oil for Vertigo
As vertigo symptoms come on suddenly, the sublingual method of taking CBD may be ideal.
In this method, CBD oil is held under the tongue for up to 90 seconds, giving time for the mucous membranes in the mouth to absorb the oil’s active ingredients before the oil is swallowed.
The benefit of the sublingual process is that CBD oil bypasses the digestive system and liver metabolization, allowing the compounds to reach the bloodstream and interact with the ECS more quickly (3 4 ) .
Pure CBD oil, tinctures, and concentrates are CBD products that are excellent for the sublingual method of application.
Still, a consultation with a physician is an excellent idea before using any CBD supplements to ensure there are no adverse reactions to existing medications.
Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey revealed that about 35% percent of Americans over 40 years old had had some form of vestibular dysfunction, the most common of which is vertigo ( 35 ) .
Researchers of a study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine Journal said that while dizziness and vertigo are common, the cause of this disorder often remains unexplained ( 36 ) .
The authors also said, “The underestimation of dizziness and vertigo symptoms with regard to their effect on personal and health care is reflected in the fact that large percentages of the underlying disorders remain underdiagnosed and, therefore, are presumed to be insufficiently treated.”
What Causes Vertigo?
Vertigo could be caused by many factors, including inner ear infections and migraines. It could also be brought about by some medications, including those used to treat anxiety or high blood pressure or anxiety ( 37 ) .
However, one of the most common causes is an inner-ear condition called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) ( 38 ) .
BPPV is believed to be caused by calcium carbonate crystals (otoconia) coming loose within the ear canals. BPPV can also be caused by a head injury, damage caused by an inner ear disorder, or degeneration of the vestibular system in the inner ear due to ageing.
Although there is also an association between BPPV and osteoporosis, in a large number of cases, there is no known cause (39 ) .
Ménière’s disease is an inner ear disorder that causes a feeling of fullness or congestion in the ear, severe dizziness (vertigo), ringing in the ears (tinnitus) and hearing loss. Usually, Ménière’s disease affects only one ear.
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) estimates that more than 600,000 people in the United States are currently diagnosed with Ménière’s disease and, as of 2017, 45,500 cases are newly diagnosed each year ( 40 ) .
Labyrinthitis is the irritation and swelling of the inner ear that can cause vertigo and hearing loss.
Labyrinthitis is often caused by a virus and, sometimes, by bacteria. Having a cold or flu can trigger the condition. Other causes include allergies or certain medicines that are damaging to the inner ear.
Smoking, drinking large amounts of alcohol, and stress may raise an individual’s risk for labyrinthitis ( 41 ) .
While there are cases when vertigo is the side effect of other medical conditions, there are also times when doctors are baffled by the exact cause of vertigo in some people.
Medical marijuana is a natural medicine from the Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica family of plants. Hemp and marijuana are both primary species of Cannabis sativa.
Medical cannabis is a broad term for any cannabis-based medicine, and it is often used interchangeably with the term medical marijuana.
Of the many active compounds found in a Cannabis sativa plant, two are of interest for medical purposes: THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol).
THC induces psychoactive effects like nausea and dizziness when consumed in high concentrations. CBD, a cannabinoid mostly derived from hemp, is best known for its therapeutic benefits without the euphoric high.
Medicines derived from Cannabis indica plants have higher CBD and lower THC counts. Meanwhile, medicines produced from Cannabis sativa plants have lower CBD and higher THC counts.
CBD oil is derived from the stalks, flowers, and leaves of the hemp plant. Hemp oil, or hemp seed oil, is made from hemp seeds, that contain little to no CBD.
Under U.S. federal law, the use of whole plant Cannabis sativa or its derivatives for any purpose is illegal. On the other hand, CBD derived from the hemp plant that contains < 0.3% THC is legal to consume ( 42 ) .
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not recognized or approved the marijuana plant as medicine.
For more information on studies related to cannabis, go to https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
There is a complexity involved with using CBD oil to treat vertigo directly. Vertigo is a complicated disorder, so it is also challenging to establish whether or not the sudden and intense dizziness is part of a specific medical condition.
Although CBD oil is a potential treatment for the underlying conditions that might cause vertigo, CBD is not necessarily a treatment for vertigo itself.
Still, CBD’s anti-nausea, neuroprotective, and anti-inflammatory properties, as shown in some studies, may be a potential remedy to vertigo symptoms that people experience.
However, before starting a CBD regimen, it would benefit individuals who would like to include CBD in their therapy to do some research and exercise caution when choosing which CBD products to use.
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Table of Contents
Nervous & Sensory System
Dr. Kimberly Langdon, MD
Kimberly Langdon, MD is a retired, board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist with 19-years of clinical experience. She graduated from The Ohio State University College of Medicine, earning Honors in many rotations. She then completed her OB/GYN residency program at The Ohio State University.
Best CBD Oil for Anxiety
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