Whether recreational or medicinal, there is vast scientific and anecdotal evidence suggesting that marijuana has anti-anxiety, anti-psychotic, and anti-cancer properties. Cannabis (in various forms) can also be used to provide relief to adults suffering from chronic pain, seizures, muscle spasms, and glaucoma.
As for the impact on hair, some regular smokers claim that it thickens their hair while others report no significant changes, positive or negative. On the other hand, one can find evidence to suggest that marijuana use sometimes triggers hair loss. The truth is, people have vastly different physiological and emotional responses to marijuana, including how hair follicles respond to it.
Marijuana contains over one hundred chemicals called cannabinoids, with the two best known being THC and CBD. They are similar to a class of chemicals the human body naturally produces called endocannabinoids that attach to receptors in various organs, including hair follicles. The THC in marijuana attaches to these receptors in a similar fashion and, in doing so, can inhibit the growth of the human hair follicle, according to a 2007 study conducted by the University of Debrecen. This means that cannabinoids can inhibit proper development and growth of the hair shaft, thus inducing hair loss.
Cortisol, a hormone produced naturally within the human body during periods of stress, is known to affect the function and cyclic regulation of the hair follicle. Contrary to popular belief, THC can increase cortisol levels in the body. This can trigger telogen effluvium, an acute form of hair loss that occurs when hair follicles enter the telogen phase of the cycle prematurely.
Frequent cannabis use also can lead to poor nutritional choices. A diet lacking in essential vitamins and minerals can lead to poor hair health, including dryness, breakage, and even thinning or loss.
What You Can Do
If you suspect that marijuana is having a negative impact on your hair, here are some steps you can take.
- Decrease your usage. Stopping entirely may be a sound option for some, but if you are using cannabis to treat a medical condition, try reducing usage low enough to erase any negative impact on hair quality but not at risk of worsening your medical symptoms.
- Consume it differently. Most of the negative effects caused by cannabis are believed to be related to the harmful chemicals released during combustion. Consider edibles or oils instead but be careful not to overdo it.
- Consume more foods rich in vitamins A, B, C, and D, iron, niacin, calcium, magnesium, and more. Doing so can help curb junk food cravings commonly associated with marijuana use.
- Find the root cause of hair thinning or loss. While marijuana can contribute to hair loss in some, it is often not the main factor. Speak to your health care professional to identify the type of hair loss you are experiencing, determine the cause, and discuss treatment options.
Whatever may be causing your hair to thin or fall out, DiStefano Hair Restoration Center is here to help. We offer numerous treatment options, where one or more can quite possibly work for you. How to find out? Contact us today for a free consultation with our expert and experienced medical team.