Multiple factors can cause hair loss. For instance, hormonal changes, old age, pattern baldness, cancer treatment, etc., are the most common known causes of hair loss. Also, your diet, including the drugs and supplements you take, can be the primary culprit of the condition. Of course, marijuana products can be used as supplements, hence the question: does marijuana cause hair loss?
Typically, smoking marijuana regularly is a habit that can raise questions about hair quality. In response to that, based on scientific research and claims, we will uncover everything you need to know about hair loss and smoking in this article. So, let’s start with a brief history of marijuana and hair loss.
Background History of Smoking and Hair Loss
Marijuana is a psychoactive component that occurs in the cannabis plant. The herb has been in existence for centuries, and its application is vast for medical and recreational purposes.
However, several studies have predicted an increase in hair loss, especially among people who smoke often. For example, a community-based study in Taiwan showed that hair loss becomes prevalent in men who smoke daily. Considering other potential causes of hair loss, such as family history and age, the study still revealed smoking has an impact on hair growth.
Another similar study conducted in Jordan showed that men who regularly smoke are likely to develop gray hair even before they reach 30 years. Similar results were also revealed by a study done in England.
All these studies strongly support the claims that smoking can result in hair loss. Apart from that, smokers tend to have more gray hair, noticing changes in hair texture after smoking for years. But can you develop all these conditions from smoking marijuana?
Does Marijuana Cause Hair Loss?
Several studies portray the benefits of smoking marijuana and its risks. Although hair loss is not the main focus of the studies, it is evident that smoking marijuana may cause hair loss, graying, and thinning.
First, marijuana causes hormonal changes. Of course, some hormones are responsible for male development and the reproductive system. For example, FSH and LH commonly cause sexual development in men. Also, they trigger the synthesis of testosterone, an active hormone in the progression of MPB (Male-Pattern Baldness).
Smoking marijuana lowers the levels of LH and FSH. As a result, testosterone level goes down, which, at some point, is beneficial since it lowers the production of DHT. Regardless, decreasing testosterone levels have adverse side effects. For example, it can cause an inability to get an erection and reduced sex drive. Further, it can cause regression of Androgenetic Alopecia, resulting in hair loss.
The other way smoking marijuana can cause hair loss is by slowing down cellular activities. The growth of hair may seem like a simple process. However, many cellular activities occur, including the division of cells. Besides other activities that influence cellular actions, marijuana has a significant impact. Basically, smoking marijuana inhibits cellular division at the follicles. This results in premature hair growth as they enter the catagen phase, causing hair loss.
Lastly, marijuana may increase cortisol levels in some people, which reduces hair quality when it happens. Although the use of marijuana makes the user relax, it can as well cause an increase in levels of cortisol which induce stress.
The good news is that most situations regarding hair loss are temporary conditions that can improve once you stop smoking too much.
Signs of Hair Loss Due to Marijuana
Alopecia and Telogen Effluvium are among the many types of hair loss due to smoking marijuana excessively. Some signs indicating hair loss can be evident. Such signs are as follows.
Hair recession often happens due to genetics. If there is no treatment, the condition progressively forms baldness at the temples. You will slowly notice your hairline forming the pattern “M.” After that, the hair at the temples becomes weak and thinner, indicating hair loss. The hairline recedes to an abnormal position from the normal forehead hairline.
Hair Thinning and Weakening
The weakening of follicles results in unhealthy and wispy hair strands. If this happens, you will likely realize your hair is becoming thin and weak.
This condition results from inflammation which occurs due to an increase in cortisol or irritations. Inflammed follicles reduce the quality of your hair strands. Hence they become weak.
Increased Hair Shedding
It is normal to shed hair naturally on a daily basis when showering and while sleeping. Usually, hair loss occurs at the telogen phase to facilitate new hair growth. However, if you notice that you are shedding more hair, that is abnormal. It may be happening because the follicles prematurely enter the telogen phase.
How to Combat Effects of Marijuana on Hair Loss
If you are wondering how to prevent hair loss attributed to the use of marijuana, here are some tips:
Reduce How Often You Use Marijuana
The best way to curb marijuana-induced hair loss is by avoiding it. However, if you are using marijuana as a medical supplement, you can talk to your doctor so that they may reduce the dose.
Take More Nutritional Supplements
Using essential nutritional supplements will be a good option if you feel you can’t stop using marijuana. Make sure every meal you take has enough vitamins A, B, C, and D. Also, you should include minerals such as niacin and iron in your diet. Other foods such as vegetables, fruits, and lean meat can also be helpful in preventing severe hair loss.
Stimulating the Scalp
Stimulating the scalp may reverse the effects of inflammation, stress, and hormonal changes that cause calcification and tension on the scalp. You can do the stimulation using bare hands or a particular device to massage the scalp. This breaks up the calcification and tension in the scalp, thus ensuring adequate blood flow in the follicles.
Marijuana has many recreational and medical benefits. However, the plant may also cause a few side effects if you use it more often than recommended.
Some of its subtle side effects include nausea, vomiting, headaches, and many more. But does marijuana cause hair loss? Yes, it can if you exceed the recommended dosage daily. It is best to use marijuana moderately and seek medical advice if you suspect your hair starts thinning.