Could cannabis reverse hair loss? New study reveals a-mane-zing potential
Research into the wide ranging powers of the cannabis plant continues to reveal exciting possibilities. The latest news? Cannabinoids may be an effective way to reverse hair loss.
A study published in the International Journal of Trichology centered on people suffering from alopecia, a common autoimmune disorder that causes hair loss. The six-month trial saw patients achieve impressive hair regrowth using a topical containing full-spectrum hemp extract; a few participants saw upwards of 2000% regrowth. The solution even outperformed widely used treatments like minoxidil (Rogaine).
The results are promising for the millions of people around the world who deal with alopecia. According to data, two percent of people will experience the condition at some point in their lives.
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Small sample size, big results
The Florida-based research team followed a cohort of 15 men and 16 women, none of whom were currently using treatments for their hair loss. The ages ranged from 31 to 64; 27 identified as white, two Asian, and one mixed race.
There were no reported conflicts of interest; Colorado-based CBDLuxe supplied the hemp extract for the study.
Scientists went to great lengths to document the individual hair counts on each participant. The team meticulously tallied each hair and took several photos. They even went so far as to place a tattoo on the most severe spot.
The patients were given an emu oil-based topical containing 33 milligrams of hemp extract comprised of 60 percent CBD, 12.6 percent CBD-V, and 3.7 percent THC-V. The topical also contained roughly five grams of menthol from peppermint oil. The cohort was instructed to apply the solution once every morning.
Every single person in the study saw some form of hair regrowth—anywhere from 31.3 percent to 2000%. The topical seemingly performed better in men, who saw an average regrowth of 246 percent while the women in the cohort saw an average of 127 percent regrowth.
When asked to give a self-reported “psychosocial perception of ‘scalp coverage’ improvement,” all participants said they were “happy” or “very happy” with the progress. No side effects were noted by any of the patients.
“Entourage effect” could be the key
Study authors concluded the cannabinoids likely made a significant impact due to how they interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a part of the mammalian nervous system responsible for maintaining balance in the body. All three cannabinoids block the signaling of CB1 receptors, a part of the ECS thought to affect hair growth.
The team added that the peppermint oil (which has also shown promise for hair loss) was likely boosting the onset of the anagen phase—aka when your hair is actively growing. It’s unclear if the cannabis would have performed as well without the peppermint oil, but the results were still viewed as encouraging with the possibility of the “entourage effect” credited with success.
The research out of Florida mirrors findings from a 2021 study that revealed CBD could be an effective way to reverse hair loss. In that paper, participants achieved up to 93.5 percent regrowth.
For people suffering from alopecia, the news that cannabis may ease their struggles likely comes as a sigh of relief. While more research is needed to confirm the findings, the current data could drastically shift the way people deal with hair loss in the future.