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Balding Pot Heads – Cannabis Smoking Linked to Hair Loss

Bob Marley SpliffResults 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.

There are strong links that suggest marijuana causes hair lossStress 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.”

More Information:
Hair loss in men
Hair loss in women

Interesting Articles:
When Hair Loss Can be Dangerous
Lifestyle Choices That Affect Hair Growth
Smoking and baldness
Cancer and baldness

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24th June, 2009 at 3:30 am


So many of these arguments are an attempt to strawman the benifits of cannabinoids. You don't have to smoke to injest them and get the chemical into your blood. The only knock at cannabinoids they have here is the hormonal link of increased aromatase activity and estrogen conversion from testosterone, proving the link between high estrogen in men and also high DHT to compensate for these female forces at work in the body. We get this kind of posion everyday for xenoestrogens in plastics and pesticides/preservatives (the wax on your apples) and phytoestrogens in plants (this is what they are refering to). Xeno have a lifespan of 1 year to 10 years where the phytoestrogens exist for a week to a month. Funny how they don't say tupperware in the microwave causes hairloss, shitty thing is, it does. Some people are very sensitive to phytoestrogens so there is a grain of truth here but like everything, take in moderation and you will be fine.

6th July, 2010 at 11:16 pm


I smoked cannabis in my teens and then started smoking it again about 4 years ago. I stopped smoking cannabis 8 months ago and 2 months after i stopped i got alopecia through stress and now have great balding patches all over my head which are getting worse. Maybe I should of just carried on smoking it!

17th March, 2011 at 9:21 am


oh seb, simmer down... i believe this article and the person who wrote this knows things about marijuana that are completely under the radar.. because whenever i smoke dope for a period of over 2 weeks, my hair and skin get SO OILY!! i also become highly pessimistic, angry and guilty from my lack of ambition... not everyone is the same, and some people can smoke down hard and have no side effects (associated to their hair at least).. but if you're smoking down on weed and see hair shedding, thinning and greasiness, weed is most certainly causing it.. I'm already seeing my skin calm down now that I've quit for a week. to sum things up... 8 months ago i was weed free, my hair was rich and i only needed to wash it every 3 days.. i was also very outgoing and felt good, got dates and was getting laid. 8 months later, having smoked anywhere from 6-12 j's a day, my hair is thin and needs to be washed every day. i also never leave the house (video games, movies, weed, food, music, masturbation).. i have developed an agoraphobic depression and have lost respect in myself.. go figure. needless to say, i hate weed and hope they never legalize it. and anyone who thinks that its not addictive is purely an idiot.

17th April, 2011 at 6:43 am


I can really relate to you "Theguy" 8-9 months ago I had a job, when things got fuzzy and stress full there I quit. I havent had a job since, Just recently I am starting to quit and at the time I did have a job every paycheck I would a little over a qtr oz. As for the hair thinning, yeah, big time. My family has a great thick hair and now its caused my self confidence to diminish. I was really outgoing to, babes, friends, everyone wanted to be around me and I them. Nowadays I dont do s***, and I hardly EVER see my friends, I havent tried to date in a long while. Its been over a week and I can feel somewhat better. The craving for it is gone but now theres that little voice thats saying o one hit will be ok, go ahead you deserve it, but so far I able to refuse, regardless the fact that Im constantly around it, and that my roommate makes a business of it, and what friends I do have offer to smoke me up just to hang with me.

18th October, 2011 at 7:34 pm


weed isn't the problem, it's just an escape like any other, it has draw backs like any other. letting it consume me is my choice. you hair will grow back if you don't smoke as much.

18th February, 2013 at 7:19 pm


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13th March, 2013 at 9:07 pm


Greetings! Very helpful advice in this particular article! It's the little changes which will make the greatest changes. Many thanks for sharing!

31st March, 2015 at 12:34 am


Weed obviously affects everyone differently. My problem is that if I smoke for a few months, I start to get smooth thumbnail sized bald spots on my head. Before I had a lot of crap going on to where I was stressed but now nothing is really wrong and I have no real stresses but I still get the bald spots from time to time. But the real question is why do these bald spots happen?

31st March, 2015 at 9:27 am

Sarah Belgravia

Hi there,

This sounds like it could be Alopecia Areata which causes patchy hair loss and can clear up and recur. If you would like a professional diagnosis and advice on treatment for alopecia, please contact us on 020 7730 6666 or drop us a message to book your free hair loss consultation, or if you are unable to visit either of our Central London hair loss clinics, simply complete our Online Consultation for further personalised advice.

23rd August, 2015 at 3:14 am


I had a great head of hair. I had not smoked pot for 2 years the started smoking again, within 3 months my hairline began to recede. Of course I was like every other bias pot smoking who believe pot could do no harm and was 100% good for everyone so I kept smoking. Within a year my hairline receded so bad I had to start shaving it bald. I quit smoking pot at the beginning of 2015 and my hairline magically stopped receding. Don't tell that to your average stoner though, they will defend marijuana til the death

13th September, 2015 at 7:25 am


I to am convinced. I been smoking weed off an on for many years now. When I'm not smoking my hair would look full, thick and alive. A few weeks of smoking and my hair starts looking thinner. I'm older now and notice that it effects me even more so than when I was younger. If I smoke now, I will notice thinning within a week and the texture of my hair changes too. It begins to get somewhat curly/wavy straw like and limp. I also start developing an itchy scalp which isn't a good sign and related to inflammation. It's ridiculous. I never had the itchy scalp much until about a year ago now. I believe that as we age the symptoms only gets worse. I have now quite for the 100th time and hope to leave it long enough to see my hair thicken back up a little. I believe I'll have to wait over 2 to 3 months at the least to notice any improvements. Sure the hair-loss or thinning doesn't happen to everybody, but if your prone to hair-loss through genetics, you can bet it will only speed up the process. Great article. Cheers...

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