Can Cannabis Help Prevent Hair Loss?

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It might not be the shangri-la of hair treatment, but it could help

It’s a condition science has been trying to out-wit for decades — hair loss. Though it may occur for a variety of reasons such as, genetics, stress, hormone imbalance, or chemotherapy, fixing this issue is easier said than done.

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That’s because most hair loss is caused by an increase in a hormone called Dihydrotestosterone (DHT). It actually causes hair follicles to become smaller and more brittle. This hormone is the target of pharmaceutical hair loss preventing products. These over the counter medications work to lower DHT in order to slow the process of losing hair. However, these products don’t work for everyone.

How THC for Hair Loss Could be a Thing

Because DHT binds to an androgen receptor in order to cause hair loss, anything that prevents this binding could in theory also prevent hair loss. An interesting study in Endocrinology (1980) found that marijuana (cannabinoids THC and CBN) prevented DHT binding to androgen receptors in mice. 

Now, the same may not be true for humans, and there have been no human trials to date. This 1980 study hasn’t been replicated in the lab, either. But the results are interesting, nonetheless. If THC can help prevent hair loss at the receptor level, it could present as a possible treatment.

Another important factor to keep in mind is the connection between smoking and hair loss. While science links smoking cigarettes with losing hair, not cannabis, it may be worth noting due to the amount of carcinogen intake when smoking marijuana.

The science between smoking and hair loss points to the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which inflame hair follicles. How much smoking cannabis causes this reaction is unknown, but science has shown that THC can also stimulate pro-inflammatory cytokines, along with anti-inflammatory cytokines. CBD, on the other hand, suppresses pro-inflammatory cytokines.

CBD and Hair Loss Prevention

Since science hasn’t conclusively answered the burning question of whether or not cannabis can halt hair loss, we can only rely on what we know so far. In most conditions where hair loss occurs — from male pattern baldness to alopecia — there is inflammation around the hair follicle. So, it stands to reason that anything that prevents inflammation can help slow the process of losing hair.

Cannabis oil like CBD oil could potentially help, either massaged into the scalp or taken orally. As we mentioned above, it can reduce inflammation by suppressing those nasty little pro-inflammatory cytokines. And we know that CBD isn’t harmful when applied topically, which makes it a great candidate for some self-experimentation.

For some people, chronic stress can be a big factor contributing to hair loss. With stress, a type of hair loss called telogen effluvium occurs. This causes hair follicles to enter a resting phase, after which they fall out. We know that cannabis strains that are high in CBD can help with stress and anxiety. For individuals with telogen effluvium, one could reason that CBD may potentially help by lowering stress. Needless to say, reducing stress is a healthy thing to do for your body on numerous different levels.

Hemp for Hair Growth

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What if you just want a healthier head of hair? Cannabis could potentially help with that. CBD oil is chock full of healthy stuff for your hair, including fatty acids and antioxidants. It also contains amino acids, which are proteins that are essential to supporting hair growth. 

So, it’s not just anti-inflammatory properties that make CBD good for your hair. With its ability to interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, along with the its wide array of nutrients, CBD oil can be a big help in achieving shiny, radiant, healthy hair.

But when you’re looking for a CBD product to use for healthier hair — whether you’re applying it topically or consuming it — you’ll want to look for products that contain the full spectrum of the Cannabis sativa plant. In other words, keep an eye out for hemp oil labels that say “full-spectrum” or “whole plant.” That’s because you’ll want to utilize all of the compounds in the cannabis plant for the full entourage effect. Those terpenes and flavonoids also help reduce inflammation and supply nutrients to the body.

And when you’re buying hemp for hair growth, make sure it actually contains CBD. While hemp seed oil can also supply your hair follicles with essential fatty acids, it doesn’t contain any cannabinoids. So look for labels that list CBD, cannabidiol, or phytocannabinoids in the ingredients.

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