Do you roll a few blunts every day or frequently and are worried that you are losing huge chunks of hair? If yes, you may be wondering if there is a relationship between marijuana and hair loss.
Well, don’t worry because you are probably not alone. So, in this guide, we’re going to discuss everything there is to know about marijuana and its effects on hair. Ready? Lets’ go!
Table of Contents
Can Smoking Marijuana Cause Hair Loss? – The Relationship
This is the biggest question here. Studies show that smoking weed can indeed cause hair loss. So, if you do it regularly, chances are that you will experience hair thinning and ultimately hair loss.
Now, we know telling you that rolling a few blunts and smoking them every day can cause hair loss does not suffice. You would need concrete evidence to convince you of the same. In that regard, here are some of the ways that the drug can cause balding.
Marijuana Tampers With Your Hormones
Did you know that hormones control almost everything in the human body? According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), regular smoking of weed reduces the amount of the FSH and LH hormone levels in the body.
These hormones play a crucial role when it comes to the production of testosterone. And as you may already know, testosterone is one of the critical influences as far as hair loss is concerned.
Now, when you experience hormonal imbalance, your hair is likely to thin and eventually fall out.
It Induces Stress
Smoking marijuana can you stretch your body mentally and physically. This then stimulates the production of a hormone known as cortisol. When this hormone is produced in excess, your body will certainly respond. Generally, it usually responds with a condition known as telogen effluvium.
Now, telogen effluvium occurs when your hair grows in three phases. These include, telogen, catagen, and anagen. If your hair follicles get to the telogen stage ahead of time, you experience a condition known as telogen effluvium.
Basically, this condition is often triggered by hormonal imbalances and changes, stress, injury, or illness.
Telogen effluvium usually leads to excessive hair shedding. Fortunately, it is a condition that can be managed. All you need to do is control your stress levels and regulate your hormones, and your hair will start growing again.
It Decelerates Cell Production
The generation of cells is necessary as far as your hair growth cycle is concerned. Without new cells, your hair follicles will not get to the phase required to make your hair grow strong and healthy.
A study conducted by the University of Debrecen in 2007 shows that exocannabinoids and endocannabinoids obstruct hair follicle growth.
These can be found in various areas of the body, and some of them play a part in some physiological processes including, mood, appetite, memory, and pain sensation.
If studies are anything to go by, then smoking weed inhibits the growth of hair follicles, and here’s how.
Your body creates its cannabinoids, which are known as endocannabinoids. The kind produced by marijuana is referred to as exocannabinoid, and just like the ones produced by the body, it can attach to receptors in the body. This will result in an imbalance that will subsequently cause hair loss.
The same studies also reveal that the endocannabinoid produced by the body and the exocannabinoid decelerate the elongation of the hair shaft. Simply put, cannabinoids work to obstruct hair shaft growth and development and trigger hair loss.
Marijuana Causes Oxidative Stress
The act of simply smoking a joint usually triggers your body to generate free radicals. These radicals usually react to other molecules in your body to potentially damage your DNA cells.
When there is an excess of free radicals in your body, you experience what is known as oxidative stress.
The chemicals in your marijuana smoke are toxic and could damage the DNA cells in your hair follicles. Consequently, this results in reduced hair growth.
Several studies show that hair follicles are particularly susceptible to oxidative stress.
Moreover, marijuana is thought to reduce blood flow to the scalp and also to the hair follicles. Smoking negatively affects blood circulation hence hindering the supply of the nutrients required for hair growth.
It Interferes With The Hair Growth Cycle
The simple act of smoking weed is generally toxic and has been associated with hair loss. The content in the smoke is known to delay cell production in the hair follicles.
This then results in considerable hair loss since your hair follicles prematurely enter the resting stage of the hair growth cycle known as telogen. Consequently, your hair may start growing again when the environment allows it.
Affects Nutrient Absorption
According to some studies, cannabis intake has an impact on liquid and food intake, body weight, and taste preference. Alterations in metabolism and nutrient status are also bound to develop.
Of course, when you lack certain nutrients in your body, your hair can weaken, break, and start shedding. Even if you resort to treatments, the hair is unlikely to regrow at the speed that it is supposed to.
It Is Apparently Linked To Cancer
Smoking cannabis can lead to hair loss. Research shows that lower vegetable and fruit intake, and higher sodium consumption puts you at higher risk of cancer and cardiovascular conditions.
Now, with that said, you probably know that hair loss can sometimes be linked to cancer. Some studies show that regular and long-term use of marijuana doubles the risk of developing prostate cancer in men. This is with about 2,000 new cases being recorded in the UK each year.
So, we wouldn’t be surprised then that smoking the same can also cause cervical cancer in women. It appears that the drug causes site-specific cancers.
Does Research Back These Claims?
Our answer to that would be a resounding yes, and here is why. According to the University of Amsterdam, the use of marijuana is directly linked to hair loss.
The institution conducted a study on women and men between ages 18-65 years that smoked weed regularly. In the end, they discovered that the sample used was susceptible to hair loss.
The state of your skin and hair usually reflects the general well-being of your body. Studies show that marijuana use affects the hormonal balances in both men and women. And as we have previously mentioned, hormonal imbalance can lead to hair loss.
Another study conducted by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology reports that THC; the component found in cannabis is usually highly deposited in the hair shafts of consumers.
The thing about THC is that it hinders hair shaft elongation and obstructs the dispersal of hair follicle proteins. This is another way to say that the regular use of cannabis can stunt hair growth.
A look at some blogs written by renowned barbers also reveals that long-term use of pot can change hair texture. Simply, it can make the hair finer and more susceptible to breaking and shedding.
We don’t think that they would go through all the trouble to make such allegations up and then go ahead to publish them.
Measures for Combating Marijuana-Linked Hair Loss
Now that we have established that marijuana can cause hair loss, you are probably wondering what to do to combat its effects on your hair. Here are several things you can do.
Reduce Marijuana Intake
The first thing you would want to do is to immediately stop using marijuana, and you may already have figured that out. However, just like with any other drug, it is addictive and may be hard to stop. In that regard, you want to do it gradually.
Reduce your intake systematically until whatever you consume is low enough to diminish the drug’s negative effects on your body and hair.
Use The Weed Differently
A lot of the damage caused by marijuana stems from the harmful chemicals released when it is burnt. Therefore, instead of smoking it, you can opt for a non-combustible method such as vaporizing or vaping.
With the said methods, you vaporize marijuana using dedicated devices that heat the plant without burning it. If you prefer using cannabinoids, you will be pleased to learn that they can be vaped as well.
Although they are synthetic, they are preferable because they are less harmful. Alternatively, you can decide to use marijuana as an edible.
Those weed cookies are not so bad after all, no? Anyway, another way you can consume marijuana is in the form of capsules.
Needless to say, edibles and capsules are safer. However, you must be mindful of how much you take because overdosing can lead to adverse effects.
Supplement Nutritional Intake
Just as we have previously mentioned, one of the major side effects of marijuana use is poor nutritional choices. Therefore, you will find yourself leaning more towards junk food like processed carbs if you are a user.
You can reduce the likelihood of losing hair by taking micronutrients like minerals and vitamins in abundance. This is because they are going to supply your body with the required nutrition. As a result, you will have fewer cravings for junk food.
The easiest and best way to increase your nutritional intake is to incorporate lots of vegetables and fruits into your diet.
Find the Underlying Cause of Your Hair Loss
From what you have read so far, you can tell that marijuana can cause hair loss in some people. That said, it is not usually the main factor.
The underlying issue for your hair loss could be anything from chronic illness to genetic predisposition. As such, you want to find out what is really causing your hair loss instead of blaming it all on marijuana.
For instance, gradual, chronic hair loss that begins at the temples signifies pattern baldness. This is thought to be caused by androgens in the DHT hormone that attack your hair follicles.
If you experience acute, sudden hair loss, it could be linked to alopecia aerate or telogen effluvium (which we have previously discussed). Such is usually caused by triggers in your environment including, stress, nutritional deficiency, and disease.
Hormonal imbalance can also cause hair loss, particularly in women. An underlying medical issue could also be a cause. Therefore, before pinpointing your hair loss to marijuana, have a health practitioner rule out any medical issues first.
What we have realized thus far is that if you regularly smoke weed, it will:
*Modify your body’s chemistry
* Change your lifestyle in a way that will negatively affect your health
*Possibly lead to hair loss
The thing with marijuana is that you may begin noticing hair loss as soon as you start using it. In most cases, it may happen several years down the line.
However, it is worth mentioning that you can lose hair even if you are not genetically predisposed to balding. Also, marijuana is likely to accelerate hair loss if you are predisposed.
So, just as with everything in life, it would be best to weigh the risks you are likely to face because of marijuana usage. If you begin using and your hair starts to fall out, common sense is to stop and seek treatment.
Final Thoughts On The Relationship Between Marijuana and Hair Loss
We will admit that the correlation between hair loss and marijuana is not sufficiently studied. However, it is guaranteed that not using will not negatively affect the health of your hair. The most that could happen is that you would benefit from it.
We cannot also forget to emphasize the significance of individual differences. Individuals respond differently to cannabis, whether physically or emotionally. The reason this happens is not something that has been extensively studied, yet there is a difference in how hair follicles respond to marijuana.
You also want to consider that marijuana laws are different in different states. This means that you may find yourself being fined or serving a prison sentence for being in possession. So, make sure to find out what laws govern you.
Ultimately, if you are keen on reversing or combating hair loss, you may want to reduce your consumption of cannabis or quitting it altogether.