Who doesn’t dream of having long, healthy hair? Not everyone is blessed with a full head of hair , but there are many products on the market that can be used to encourage hair growth. One surprising solution? Cannabis. Recent studies have found cannabis to be a natural solution for hair growth.
But does it really work? And what other effects does it have? Read on to find out.
Hemp for Hair Growth
There are many different cannabis constituents that can affect us in different ways. One of the constituents said to be most beneficial for hair health is hemp. A study conducted on patients with atopic dermatitis, a condition that makes your skin and scalp itch, showed that ingesting dietary hempseed helped improve symptoms of the condition by causing changes in patients’ plasma fatty acid profiles. Results showed that dryness and itchiness were significantly reduced as a result of introducing hemp.
So, what exactly is hemp, and how can it help your hair?
There are two types of cannabis plants, Indica and Sativa. Most cannabinoids can be derived from either plant, but hemp is derived only from the Sativa family. Hemp is non-psychoactive and is grown mainly for industrial purposes. It can produce crucial resources such as paper, clothing, building materials, and more. Hemp is also rich in nutrients, and many people take powder or supplemental forms for the many health benefits it provides. If trying to achieve healthy hair growth, hemp oil can be used in hair products, taken orally, or applied directly to the hair. When used this way, hemp provides the following benefits:
- Moisturizes the Scalp and Hair: when hair becomes dry, it is brittle and prone to breakage. It’s necessary to keep hair moisturized in order to achieve a healthy mane. Hemp oil is known for its moisturizing properties. It injects moisture into the hair and scalp, while creating a barrier to reduce water loss. It is also easily absorbed, so it doesn’t leave behind a sticky residue like some other hair products.
- Stimulates Hair Growth: hemp oil is rich in Omega-3, Omega-6, and Omega-9 fatty acids, all of which can be beneficial in stimulating growth. It also provides keratin, a protein which makes up 90% of hair follicles, to promote growth and improve blood circulation in the scalp, ensuring hair follicles are nourished.
- Strengthens Hair: the moisture hemp provides helps strengthen hair, making it less prone to breakage. It also helps hair maintain its natural texture, which makes the scalp livelier and better able to support hair.
CBD and Hair
CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that is gaining attention for the health benefits CBD provides. CBD can be useful for everything from reducing anxiety to slowing the growth of cancer cells. Research also shows that the way CBD affects the endocannabinoid system (ECS) could be beneficial for hair growth and help reduce symptoms of hair disorders. Because of this, CBD is also increasingly being used in hair products. CBD products are known to promote hair health through the following:
- Provides Protein: CBD contains all 21 known amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. Its high amino acid content allows hair to build up collagen and elastin, both of which are essential to hair growth. It also strengthens hair, making it less likely to break, and helps hair look thicker and fuller. One amino acid in CBD, tyrosine, even helps to maintain hair color.
- High in Antioxidants: CBD is also rich in antioxidants like vitamin A, C, and E. These vitamins protect us from pollution-induced free radicals. When it comes to hair, they help shield it from environmental damage like dryness and frizz.
- High in Fatty Acids: Like hemp, CBD is rich in Omegas 3, 6, and 9, so it keeps hair hydrated and protects against moisture loss. This keeps hair strong and reduces the likelihood of breakage.
- Improves Scalp Health: CBD regenerative nature provides many benefits for the scalp. It promotes good blood circulation and helps keep the scalp moisturized, which helps keep dandruff and dry or irritated hair follicles at bay.
Marijuana for Hair Growth
Another cannabis constituent that has been studied for its effect on hair is marijuana. Although previous research showed that THC could help prevent hair loss and improve hair health, it has recently been found to have quite the opposite effect. Results have not yet been published, but recent research conducted at the University of Amsterdam suggests that the use of cannabis can contribute directly to hair loss. The university conducted a study on men and women between the ages of 18 and 60 who regularly smoked weed and found that young males, in particular, seemed to be more prone to hair loss than other participants in the study. Although more research needs to be conducted, below are some theories on how marijuana is linked to hair loss.
- It Causes Hormonal Changes: those likely to experience hair loss have a condition known as Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA). AGA is caused by a sensitivity to DHT, a hormone produced when an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase attaches to testosterone. For those with AGA, normal levels of DHT trigger responses in sensitive hair follicles that lead to hair miniaturization and loss. Studies have shown that marijuana can reduce the levels of LH and FSH in the body, two hormones responsible for testosterone production. Less of these hormones means less testosterone and less DHT, which can lead to increased hair loss, as well as weight gain, erectile dysfunction, fatigue, anxiety, and depression.
- It Slows Cell Production: the production of new cells plays a key role in hair growth. A 2007 study by researchers at the University of Debrecen found that endo and exo-cannabinoids inhibit the growth of human hair follicles. Endocannabinoids are cannabinoids produced naturally in the body. Exo-cannabinoids are cannabinoids introduced to the body, like THC. Both attach themselves to cannabinoid receptors to produce certain effects, one of which inhibits the proper development and growth of the human hair shaft by slowing cell production to induce hair loss.
- It Increases Stress: most people look to THC as a way to decrease stress. However, the truth is, THC actually increases cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone produced in the human body during periods of stress. Increased cortisol can induce a condition known as telogen effluvium. Telogen effluvium occurs when hair follicles enter the third cycle of hair growth, the telogen or resting phase, prematurely. This can be due to hormone changes, stress, injury, and more. Telogen effluvium is usually a temporary condition that goes away once the stressor is removed. However, with ongoing use of THC, the condition can continue indefinitely.
Of course, more research is needed to prove that THC may be an agent that promotes hair loss and counter evidence has been found as well. For instance, in the case of cortisol production, many say that while THC can promote the hormone’s production, the effect may wear off in frequent users who build up a tolerance. Other studies have determined that THC can actually be beneficial in hair loss due to its ability to stop the development of DHT, which is known to inhibit hair growth by binding to hair follicle receptors.
Clearly, there is room for debate when considering the effects of THC and hair loss. Concerned users are advised to pay close attention to research while using responsibly.
Using Hemp and CBD to Improve Hair Health
Both hemp and CBD can be used to promote healthy hair growth. Hemp comes in both powder and supplemental forms. Supplements can be taken directly, and powders can be added to foods and smoothies for easy ingestion. Similarly, CBD can be taken as a capsule, oil, or edible, and may also be vaped.
Taking hemp and CBD orally may provide many health benefits and improve your hair as a side effect. But if you’re really targeting your hair health, it is best to apply these products directly. While you could apply hemp or CBD oil directly to your hair, most bottles will barely cover even a small section. Don’t waste your hemp or CBD oil trying. There are several hemp and CBD shampoos, conditioners, and other hair products available on the market. Using these are recommended as the best way to reap the benefits of cannabis when it comes to hair health.
So, if your locks are looking limp instead of long and lustrous, and your hair care products just aren’t cutting it, try some CBD or hemp infused products to see how you can get your hair looking its best.