Results haven’t been published yet but researchers at the University of Amsterdam suggest that regular smoking of cannabis contributes directly to hair loss.
Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug and is used by roughly two million people in the UK, despite the many known negative side effects. The study of men and woman aged between 18 and 60 who regular smoked the drug found that young males in particular were prone to the effects of regular smoking and hair loss is one of them.
If we think about it hypothetically for a second, the link between marijuana, skunk, green, gear – whatever you want to call it – and thinning hair makes sense, and can be inferred through previous studies. Regular cannabis use harms the body in two distinct ways – via the effect of the substance itself and via negative lifestyle changes, such as increased stress levels, irregular eating habits and poor dietary intake.
Hormonal link between cannabis and hair loss
Any major change in our lives can be reflected in the condition of our skin, hair and scalp. Studies suggest that smoking cannabis alters multiple hormonal systems within males and females, which can lead to side effects such as hair loss, lowered libido, increased aggressiveness, acne, and increased facial hair.
General link between smoking and hair loss
The general toxicity of smoking has been linked to hair loss. The carcinogen content has been shown to slow down cell proliferation in the hair follicles – the result being significant hair loss as the follicles prematurely enter telogen (resting phase of the hair growth lifecycle) until the environment is more conducive to growth. Sometimes hair loss treatments are necessary to promote regrowth.
Nutritional link between cannabis and hair loss
According to one study, cannabis use “affects food and liquid intake behavior, taste preference, and body weight. Changes in specific nutrient status and metabolism can also develop.” Nutritional deficiencies can contribute to increased hair shedding by weakening hair shafts that cause breakage to the hair and slow re-growth.
Cancer link between cannabis and hair loss
Studies have concluded that higher consumption of sodium, lower fruit and vegetable intake, lower serum carotenoid levels, higher alcohol intake, higher cigarette use and the compounded carcinogenic effects of marijuana place users at a higher future risk for cardiovascular disease and cancer, particularly site-specific cancers such as cervical and prostate. Hair loss has also been linked to cancer, particularly of the prostate, and a recent study suggests frequent or long-term marijuana use may double a man’s risk of testicular cancer. It’s currently one of the most common cancers in younger men, with approximately 2,000 new cases each year in the UK.
Stress link between cannabis and hair loss
Stress is a key player in hair loss and regular marijuana users tend to have a lot of stress and use the substance to alleviate the problem. However, cannabis is a depressant and because it affects hormone levels it only exacerbates stress which in turn aggravates hair loss.
There are numerous factors that can cause thinning hair which must also be considered when diagnosing the condition, such as a genetic tendency to thinning hair despite the use of marijuana. However, as head of the most recent study, Dr Bob van Rossum said: “This just goes on the ever growing list of negative effects of smoking cannabis.”