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Updated on February 9, 2024

CBD for Vertigo

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Key takeaways

  • The endocannabinoid system plays a major role in vertigo and verstibular disorders.
  • Vertigo is a symptom of vestibular disorders.
  • Some researchers in 2022 summarized the role of the endocannabinoid system in vertigo and vestibular disorder into three main therapeutic roles seizures, headache and vomiting.
  • While CBD may not directly deal with vertigo it may assist with related symptoms like pain, headache, inflammation, sleep, and balance.

Research studies on the possible roles of CBD in vertigo and vestibular disorders are limited to a few papers and one clinical trial. These papers extensively discussed the role of the endocannabinoid system in vestibular disorders and proposed how CBD may provide a therapeutic effect. In this article, we would look at the relationship between vertigo and vestibular disorders and how CBD may assist with their symptoms.

What is vertigo?

Vertigo is a type of DIZZINESS characterized by the sensation of spinning or whirling, even when the person is stationary. It is often associated with problems in the inner ear, which is responsible for balance and spatial orientation. Vertigo can be caused by various factors, including: inner ear disorders, migraines, head injuries, certain medications, infections, motion sickness, and anxiety disorders

Differences between Vertigo and vestibular disorders

Vertigo is a symptom, whereas vestibular disorders refer to a broader category of conditions affecting the vestibular system, which plays a crucial role in balance and spatial orientation. The vestibular system includes parts of the inner ear and brain that process sensory information involved in controlling balance and eye movements.

Vertigo is a specific type of dizziness characterized by the perception of spinning or whirling, often accompanied by a loss of balance. It can be a symptom of various vestibular disorders, but not all vestibular disorders necessarily cause vertigo.

Vestibular disorders can encompass a range of conditions, including

  1. Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV): A common inner ear disorder causing brief episodes of vertigo triggered by changes in head position.
  2. Vestibular Neuritis: Inflammation of the vestibular nerve, usually caused by a viral infection, leading to vertigo.
  3. Meniere's Disease: A disorder of the inner ear characterized by episodes of vertigo, hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and a feeling of fullness or pressure in the ear.
  4. Labyrinthitis: Inflammation of the inner ear or the nerves connecting the inner ear to the brain, resulting in vertigo.
  5. Perilymph Fistula: A tear or defect in the membranes that separate the middle and inner ear, leading to vertigo.
  6. Mal de Débarquement Syndrome (MdDS): A disorder where the feeling of motion, such as rocking or swaying, persists after exposure to motion, like a boat or airplane.

It's important to note that not all vestibular disorders cause vertigo, and the symptoms can vary widely. The diagnosis and treatment of these conditions often involve specialists such as otolaryngologists or neurologists with expertise in disorders of the vestibular system.

For better understanding we would look at the role of CBD and the cannabinoid system in vestibular disorders.

How can CBD help vestibular disorders?

While there aren't established cures for many vestibular disorders, there's anecdotal evidence suggesting that CBD may help alleviate certain symptoms such as tinnitus, sleep problems, vertigo, balance issues, and anxiety. Some researchers in 2022 summarized the role of the endocannabinoid system in vertigo and vestibular disorder into three main therapeutic roles seizures, headache and vomiting

Some individuals with vestibular issues have reported experiencing better daily functioning when using CBD. Some of the possible roles of CBD that may benefit people with vestibular disorders are discussed below.

  1. Anxiety:

CBD can help balance serotonin levels, the 'happy chemical' in the brain. Balanced serotonin levels contribute to reduced anxiety, better focus, and emotional stability. CBD also affects the fear center of the brain, potentially easing anxiety in vestibular patients.

  1. Dopamine:

CBD indirectly influences dopamine levels, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure, reward, emotions, and motivation. By blocking certain activities in the brain, CBD encourages the natural increase of dopamine levels.

  1. Immune System and Gut Health:

Beyond symptom relief, CBD may benefit the immune system and gut health, supporting overall well-being for people with vestibular disorders.

  1. Inflammation:

When the inner ear gets inflamed, it can lead to dizziness and disrupt the flow of information to the brain. CBD has a superpower that helps the body balance inflammation, preventing it from going overboard and causing harm to surrounding tissues. This allows the body's natural healing processes to work without causing extra damage.

  1. Mood and Stress:

CBD can bring a sense of calm, ward off anxiety and stress, and promote a positive mood. High stress levels trigger the fight-or-flight response, leading to the release of cortisol. CBD helps manage stress by activating serotonin receptors, promoting relaxation, and restoring balance to the nervous system.

  1. Neuroprotection:

The endocannabinoid system (ECS), which CBD interacts with, plays a role in cognitive functions like memory, coordination, focus, mood, stress, and more. For those with vestibular disorders, CBD might assist the ECS in protecting brain cells and supporting new growth.

  1. Pain:

For those with vestibular disorders experiencing pain symptoms, CBD may offer relief by addressing factors like inflammation, nerve damage, sleep issues, and mood imbalances. It's a natural and effective alternative to many pain medications.

  1. Sleep:

CBD can aid in regulating the sleep/wake cycle and address factors interfering with sleep quality, such as stress, anxiety, pain, and indigestion. Unlike some sleep medications, CBD has fewer side effects and isn't addictive.

  1. Tinnitus:

CBD may help calm the distressing sensation of tinnitus, a constant noise often associated with conditions like Meniere ’s disease.

  1. Vomiting
  2. Migraines

Frequently Asked Questions

Does CBD balm help vertigo?

CBD products can assist with symptoms of vertigo and other vestibular disorders. The anxiety reducing, balancing and other therapeutic benefits of CBD may be useful to people dealing with vertigo. CBD also helps with symptoms of vertigo like nausea, vomiting, and headaches.

Can CBD affect your balance?

After taking CBD, some individuals might feel dizzy or lightheaded. The exact reasons for this reaction aren't entirely understood, but scientists believe it could be linked to changes in brain blood flow, shifts in signaling between brain cells, activation of the autonomic nervous system, and a decrease in blood pressure.

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Guerra J, Naidoo V, Cacabelos R. Potential effects of cannabinoids on audiovestibular function: A narrative review. Front Pharmacol. 2022 Dec 20;13:1010296. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2022.1010296. PMID: 36605398; PMCID: PMC9807921.

Rock EM, Sticht MA, Limebeer CL, Parker LA. Cannabinoid Regulation of Acute and Anticipatory Nausea. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2016 Apr 1;1(1):113-121. doi: 10.1089/can.2016.0006. PMID: 28861486; PMCID: PMC5576606.

Rock EM, Sticht MA, Limebeer CL, Parker LA. Cannabinoid Regulation of Acute and Anticipatory Nausea. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2016 Apr 1;1(1):113-121. doi: 10.1089/can.2016.0006. PMID: 28861486; PMCID: PMC5576606.

Jadoon KA, Tan GD, O'Sullivan SE. A single dose of cannabidiol reduces blood pressure in healthy volunteers in a randomized crossover study. JCI Insight. 2017 Jun 15;2(12):e93760. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.93760. PMID: 28614793; PMCID: PMC5470879.

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