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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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24 Comments

24th June, 2009 at 3:30 am

Seb

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

Paul

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

theguy

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

CduB

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

420guy

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

Anon

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13th March, 2013 at 9:07 pm

zuma

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

80HD

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

Tim

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

Richard

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...

12th December, 2015 at 3:08 pm

simple guy

In all honesty, very helpful comments. I liked the discussion more than the article. Its nice to find other people whom also struggle and understand whats going down for someone in a sort of binge or habit that just has too many potholes (yeah, analogy and double stoner vocab) .that its just impossible not to slip.

15th December, 2015 at 4:09 am

Rodney

Sure, that's why Bob Marley had almost no hair - NOT!

19th June, 2016 at 10:40 pm

Will Ross

Hey Rodney...shut the fuck up. Im so tired of pot heads in blatant denial about the effects of chronic weed use...(chronic🙂) I have been a HEAVY smoker for 20+ years now and was just like every other stoner willing to defend Marijuana to the death but I refuse to be ignorant and closed minded to the point of my own demise. I both love and hate weed at the same time at this point. Im most definitely addicted physically and mentally. I stop and go through horrible withdrawals. Can't sleep or eat. Night sweats. Dreams return after a week or two. Depression. However smoking on a regular basis is no better. Depression,fatigue,low sex drive,poor sexual function. The list goes on and on. Ive recently wondered about weed and hairloss as my hairline has gotten noticeably worse and was suprised to find others making the connection as well. I am not against weed against others smoking weed or against the right to choose to smoke weed. What I am against is people being so fixed in their opinion that they are blinded to any other opinions and experiences. I thought weed was supposed to expand your mind? However most habitual weed smokers are nothing but extremely closed minded. Remember that everyone is different and our bodies are comparable to highly individual ecosystems IMO. Obviously different people can be effected VERY differently by the same substance. Period

20th June, 2016 at 7:00 am

Will Ross

Oh btw let me add extreme laziness, lack of motivation, anxiety, paranoia, short term memory loss ect. It seems like all the initial benefits turn to the opposite with continuous use. Initially helps depression but long term causes depression. Enhances sex/decreases sex drive and function. Helps ease anxiety/causes anxiety. Sparks creativity/kills ability to actually put any ideas into action. Helps sleep/cannot reach REM state for quality sleep. Plus the fact that all I ever want to do is get high. For 5 minutes make all the plans in the world then 5 minutes later end up in the couch watching tv. Family Guy/Simpsons/other entertaining but essentially dumb life wasting shit. At some point I will look back on my life and I truly hope I have something more to look back on. Haven't smoked for 2 weeks today dear God help me cause its some difficult shit. Yes good old harmless Marijuana can be a mutha fucka to quit and I've detoxed from alot of hard drugs in the past. Crack, Heroin, Methadone, Xanyx, cigarettes, e cigs and before you think oh no wonder let me say ive been completely clean from all of them for over 6 years now and thought the weed wasn't harming me at all. I realized on a pros and cons list it goes like this. Pros-I like to get high off weed. Cons- well its a really long list. Plus I have a 4 1/2 year old daughter and am a better father when not smoking. This is a 3rd or 4th attempt to stop smoking. At least habitually but for me I feel it may be an all or nothing situation. Trird just the weekends and I grit my teeth and count down the days till its time to smoke again Friday-Sunday. Theres no way to truly detix like this. Maybe this was the wrong place for this rant but oh well. Thought it might help someone. Peace

26th July, 2016 at 9:42 am

S.s.g

Weed is fucked up,it got me all lazy ,headaches for days ,rise in boey temperature ...weight loss....i thot it was dope both its not

29th July, 2016 at 9:31 pm

Abbey

Can totally relate to this! Weed has taken over my life and like you guys, I've suffered with hair loss. After two year of not getting to the actual cause, I was diagnosed with ferritin deficient anemia (low iron stores) and now take vitamins for it. The thing is it seemed to escalate when my weed intake increased 😏 I'm 27 but feel 67. I look pale, I'm spotty, my hair gets greasy quickly, I've lost weight, I constantly feel tired. Most days I'm just counting down the hours until bed time. I don't socialise with anyone anymore and have told myself up until now that Im doing that because I wanted to eliminate the drama from my life (which in a way it has) but I also close myself off from meeting new people and dating. Its only yesterday I realised I had a problem, but realising it and not doing anything about it feels worse! I wanna stop but I forget I've made this decision and light up without thinking. Every time I remember I'm trying to stop, I'll start convincing myself that I'm only doing it because today's been stressful or I'm entitled to have some happiness ect ect and it continues! I hate the fact I'm reliant on something to control my emotions. If I go without it I'm the most irritable, snappy, stressed out angry person and it's horrible! Sorry for the rant and going off topic but people need to be aware that yes, weed is addictive and can have poor effects on your mental health. As for hair loss, I'm not sure but from my experience, there was definitely an increase in hair loss, thinning and structure when I began smoking daily. At the moment I smoke from morning till night. I fit it around everything I do.

15th August, 2016 at 3:17 pm

Oscar

Hi all So nice to see an active forum on this issue of weed and hair loss. There is a definite link between smoking and hair loss, for SOME people anyway. I found this forum post, maybe it will put to bed any doubts you guys have. But with my story: I started smoking regularly the start of 2015, and around August of the same year, I started noticing rapid thinning of my hair and hair loss. I thought weed was the greatest thing ever and I constantly convinced myself it had cured my depression and social anxiety and everything else, so it took me all of 6 months to slow down and eventually quit it. After this, I noticed my hair loss slowing down, and also the depression starting to creep back in. Regarding my hair, 5 months later, my hair and skin feel A WHOLE LOT better, but I havent noticed any hair regrowth yet? Have any of you guys that quit noticed any regrowth? Regarding the depression, there was no way I was going back to weed so I remembered this one quote Bob Marley made: "Weed let ya mind meditate". So what the heck I turned to meditation. This opened up a WHOLE new world for me, I had no idea meditation could have this effect on a persons life. After 6 months of meditating 20 minutes a day, I am free of ALL anxiety and depression. Even my hair loss and bald patches are not a big life crisis any more like I used to think when it was falling out, hair regrowth would be nice, but if not thats ok too. Hope this helps some of you esp the ones trying to quit, I know I was in those shoes about a year ago.

15th August, 2016 at 3:20 pm

Oscar

Also, after a lot of research, I found something called Hemp Oil Shampoo, which has the active ingredient CDB in it derived from the cannabis plant. Apparently this could have benefits in working as an antagonist against the THC, the thing in weed that actually causes the hair loss.

22nd August, 2016 at 10:00 am

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Oscar, thanks for your input here. The shampoo you mention is unfortunately unlikely to help - here's why

22nd August, 2016 at 8:48 pm

Oscar

Thank you very much for this article, it was very enlightening to me. I definitely would expect some regrowth by now, although I do notice my hair in much better condition, and also there is no shedding anymore, my hair feels strong. Would there be any side effects in taking Hair Vitalics? Or is it all natural? And do I need to take it along side a treatment like Minoxidil? Thanks again.

23rd August, 2016 at 2:26 am

Mikeymike

Hi all , Been a pot smoker since about 13. HEAVY for about 7 yrs. Only oils now. But yes. Hair used to be full and thick. Now its somewhat thinning and receeding. Noone in my family is bald. I assume its frok the pot. Just chiming in..and i absoulutely love pot. Used to defend it etc etc..but you cant be ignorant to side effects. Its truly is hard to quit, i dont care how often i tell myself tht i gotta quit but its tuff..mayne its cause im bored. But i dont let it take over or rule my life. Even though i think about it often if im not buzzin. I work, gym, hobbies. But i LoVE my reefer in the evening. Ha lied, i cheef in the a.m alot but never call of work bc of it. Just a dab or two then not again till after gym later that night..may not seem like much but i really would like to quit..i cant just "cut back"..im either all on or not at all..Faaaak i need help....i think

23rd August, 2016 at 10:11 pm

Joe Carrillo

Brooo mikeymike im the same. Dude i have alopecia areata now on my face and now a soft bald spot on my head. Im stopping today, i drink alot of beer and smoke alot but im gonna stop smoking first and see if this has anything to do with it first. Sucks i rely on substances to get through my days.

24th August, 2016 at 11:31 am

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Oscar, We're happy to hear that. In terms of regrowth, oil is often very good for the condition of the hair but not for addressing a hair loss condition. Assuming your thinning is a sign of male pattern baldness then in order to see regrowth then yes, clinically-proven treatments such as minoxidil are beneficial in helping to regrow the hair. This can also be used as part of a combination male hair loss treatment course alongside the daily tablet finasteride 1mg (to inhibit the DHT) and/or with additional hair growth boosters. Hair Vitalics are indeed a natural product combining vitamins, minerals, botanical extracts and amino acids to help keep the hair strong and in good condition. There are minimal potential side effects associated with this product and you can find out about these, here.

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