marijuana cannabis hair lossAs more countries legalize cannabis, also referred to as marijuana, few people talk about the potential relationship between it and premature hair loss or gray hair. Yet-to-be-published research from The University of Amsterdam suggests that cannabis use could lead to hair loss [1] in people who regularly consume the drug for recreational or medicinal purposes. Other studies propose a link between marijuana and hair loss or gray hair, although there is still a lack of research on this topic. Read this guide to learn more about the possible connection.

THC Might Increase Cortisol. Marijuana could affect hair indirectly. Research shows that THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis, increases cortisol levels [2] in the body after use. Cortisol — known as the “fight or flight” hormone — limits a few body functions and could cause gray hair [3] and telogen effluvium [4], temporary hair loss that typically occurs on the top of the scalp. Increased cortisol levels can cause other problems, such as stress [5], anxiety, and weight gain.

Did you know that 40 percent [6] of women aged 40 or over have visible hair loss?

Cannabis Might Affect Hormone Levels. Some research suggests that marijuana affects the body’s hormones [7], mainly through the thyroid, pituitary, and adrenal glands, and the reproductive system. Again, this process can increase cortisol levels, which triggers a stress response and, sometimes, might cause gray hair or hair loss. Did you know that the average human loses around 50-100 scalp hairs [8] a day? If you are losing more than this amount, you might suffer from hair loss.

Cannabinoids. Marijuana might also cause gray hair and hair loss via cannabinoids [9] — naturally occurring compounds found in the cannabis plant. The human body generates its own cannabinoids, called endocannabinoids, which can attach themselves to receptors in hair follicles.

THC in marijuana produces additional cannabinoids called exocannabinoids. These compounds also attach themselves to hair follicles. This influx of cannabinoids in the system might prevent the growth of new hair follicles, according to researchers [10] from the University of Debrecen.

A Final Word. Although there is a marked lack of solid research about the link between marijuana and hair, some studies suggest a relationship between the two. Cannabis — and one of its compounds, THC — could increase cortisol levels in the body, leading to gray hair and telogen effluvium. If you suffer from hair loss, consider doing more research on this topic to learn the potential causes and how you can ease symptoms.

Transitions member hair loss centers offer all proven hair replacement and hair restoration solutions for men and women. If you are considering hair loss treatment or one of a variety of hair loss solutions to meet your needs and want to learn more, we encourage you to contact a Transitions member hair loss center to schedule a consultation.

Footnotes:

[1] https://torontohairtransplant.com/marijuana-hair-loss/

[2] https://www.zrtlab.com/blog/archive/the-effects-of-cannabis-on-your-hormones/

[3] https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2020/01/new-findings-suggest-how-stress-may-trigger-gray-hair/

[4] https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/expert-answers/stress-and-hair-loss/faq-20057820

[5] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/ways-to-lower-cortisol

[6] https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/hair-loss/hair-loss-medref

[7] https://www.zrtlab.com/blog/archive/the-effects-of-cannabis-on-your-hormones/

[8] https://www.health.harvard.edu/a_to_z/hair-loss-a-to-z

[9] https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-are-Cannabinoids.aspx

[10] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17567570/

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