Balding Pot Heads – Cannabis Smoking Linked to Hair Loss
Results haven’t been published yet but researchers at the University of Amsterdam suggest that regular smoking of cannabis contributes directly to hair loss.
Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug and is used by roughly two million people in the UK, despite the many known negative side effects. The study of men and woman aged between 18 and 60 who regular smoked the drug found that young males in particular were prone to the effects of regular smoking and hair loss is one of them.
If we think about it hypothetically for a second, the link between marijuana, skunk, green, gear – whatever you want to call it – and thinning hair makes sense, and can be inferred through previous studies. Regular cannabis use harms the body in two distinct ways – via the effect of the substance itself and via negative lifestyle changes, such as increased stress levels, irregular eating habits and poor dietary intake.
Hormonal link between cannabis and hair loss
Any major change in our lives can be reflected in the condition of our skin, hair and scalp. Studies suggest that smoking cannabis alters multiple hormonal systems within males and females, which can lead to side effects such as hair loss, lowered libido, increased aggressiveness, acne, and increased facial hair.
General link between smoking and hair loss
The general toxicity of smoking has been linked to hair loss. The carcinogen content has been shown to slow down cell proliferation in the hair follicles – the result being significant hair loss as the follicles prematurely enter telogen (resting phase of the hair growth lifecycle) until the environment is more conducive to growth. Sometimes hair loss treatments are necessary to promote regrowth.
Nutritional link between cannabis and hair loss
According to one study, cannabis use “affects food and liquid intake behavior, taste preference, and body weight. Changes in specific nutrient status and metabolism can also develop”. Nutritional deficiencies can contribute to increased hair shedding by weakening hair shafts that cause breakage to the hair and slow regrowth.
Cancer link between cannabis and hair loss
Studies have concluded that higher consumption of sodium, lower fruit and vegetable intake, lower serum carotenoid levels, higher alcohol intake, higher cigarette use and the compounded carcinogenic effects of marijuana place users at a higher future risk for cardiovascular disease and cancer, particularly site-specific cancers such as cervical and prostate. Hair loss has also been linked to cancer, particularly of the prostate, and a recent study suggests frequent or long-term marijuana use may double a man’s risk of testicular cancer. It’s currently one of the most common cancers in younger men, with approximately 2,000 new cases each year in the UK.
Stress link between cannabis and hair loss
Stress is a key player in hair loss and regular marijuana users tend to have a lot of stress and use the substance to alleviate the problem. However, cannabis is a depressant and because it affects hormone levels it only exacerbates stress which in turn aggravates hairloss.
There are numerous factors that can cause thinning hair which must also be considered when diagnosing the condition, such as a genetic tendency to thinning hair despite the use of marijuana. However, as head of the most recent study, Dr Bob van Rossum said: “This just goes on the ever growing list of negative effects of smoking cannabis.”
The Belgravia Centre
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.
Researchers at the University of Amsterdam suggest that regular smoking of cannabis contributes directly to hair loss but there's a genetic tendency to thinning hair despite the use of marijuana.
CBD, hemp seed oil and hair loss
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- Research overview
- The studies
- What the experts say
- Bottom Line
Hair loss affects everyone in varying degrees with up to 100 strands of loss per day considered normal. Higher amounts of hair loss are not typical and may have hereditary, hormonal, or stress-related causes. Some who experience hair loss try shampoos or creams to stimulate regrowth.
CBD oil has frequently been in the press for its purported soothing effects on pain and anxiety. As with any trend, some people are making claims that can’t be supported. CBD oil for hair loss is one of them. There are some online claims that research shows CBD is great for hair loss. The problem seems to be a lack of understanding about the difference between CBD oil and hemp seed oil.
Let’s separate CBD from hemp seed oil. The former is a cannabinoid found in the trichomes of the cannabis plant. CBD can be derived from marijuana or hemp. Hemp seed oil, however, comes from the seed of the hemp plant. The amino acids and fatty acids necessary for hair growth are found in hemp seeds, not CBD oil, according to Dr. Adie Wilson-Poe, a neuroscientist at Legacy Research Institute, specializing in cannabis pharmacology.
Amino acids (dubbed the building blocks of protein) and fatty acids are essential to hair growth and can be found in abundance in hemp seeds. The same omega-3s and omega-6s that make foods like salmon and walnuts healthy options also play a role in nourishing the hair.
The following studies expand on these ideas to show how CBD oil may help slow or stop hair loss.
A 2014 study conducted at the University of Seville in Spain found that hemp seed oil contains optimal levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which can facilitate hair growth. Researchers also found other essential fatty acids in hemp seed oil, including linoleic and gamma linoleic acids. Finally, researchers noted the presence of minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium, all of which may enrich hair health. It’s important to note that this research pertains to essential acids in the diet, not topical applications, and the study focuses on beneficial components of hemp seed oil in general, not specifically for hair loss.
There is no evidence to support that either oral or topical cannabinoids are effective for moisturizing the scalp or ameliorating hair loss. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
In 2018, a group of scientists examined the chemical profiles of hemp seeds in a comprehensive study published in the journal Molecules. Researchers found that hemp seeds contain many biologically active compounds that could boost hair health, including the previously identified omegas as well as a range of vitamins. Orally ingested hemp seeds may contribute to a balanced diet that is high in these beneficial fatty acids.
What the experts say
Dr. Wilson-Poe says, “There is no evidence to support that either oral or topical cannabinoids are effective for moisturizing the scalp or ameliorating hair loss.”
The Belgravia Centre in London treats individuals dealing with hair loss. According to hair experts at the center:
“. (CBD) may help to improve the condition of the hair in the same way following a balanced, healthy diet would. However, CBD oil is highly unlikely to treat a medical hair loss condition, especially if this is a genetic complaint – namely Male Pattern Baldness and Female Pattern Hair Loss, both of which cause thinning hair anywhere in the vertex area from the crown to the hairline, in those affected.”
CBD shows promise for a number of applications but treating hair loss is not one of them. Hemp seed oil can’t do all the things CBD seems to but it does provide vitamins and essential acids that support overall health, including healthy hair.
CBD, hemp seed oil and hair loss Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents Research overview The studies What the experts say Bottom Line