There is a digital truckload of anecdotal evidence that suggests smoking pot does not cause hair loss because many regular smokers do not experience hair shedding. Some pot users say smoking thickens their locks.
There are also physicians who consider marijuana a non-toxic substance with anti-psychotic, anti-anxiety, or anti-cancer properties.
Recent and Previous Research
The University of Amsterdam completed a research study that links regular marijuana use directly to hair loss. They studied men and women between the ages of 18 and 65 who smoked cannabis on a regular basis. Those in the study most prone to hair loss due to the effects of smoking were the younger men.
The health of your hair and skin always reflects the overall state of our well-being. Previous research shows that smoking marijuana affects the balance of both male and female hormonal systems. The result may be:
- the appearance of acne
- increased facial hair
- more aggressive behavior
- decreased libido
- hair shedding
The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology completed their own study a few years ago (2007). They report that THC, the component that creates the cannabis euphoria is “deposited at high levels in the hair shafts of human cannabis consumers.” They concluded that THC:
- inhibits the elongation of hair shafts
- suppresses the distribution of hair follicle proteins
That’s science journalese for saying that regular use of pot can negatively impact hair health and stunt its growth.
There are also barbers blogging or writing on forums who have noticed that regular marijuana use changes the texture of people’s hair, making more fine or baby-like. It’s difficult to think of a reason why they would make that up.
Lifestyle and Stress
Any toxic or carcinogen content entering the body from smoking slows down the production of cells in hair follicles. This causes hair to enter the resting (telogen) phase of their growth cycle, waiting for the follicles to regain health and a state of production. This disruption of the growth cycle can cause hair shedding.
Regular smokers may also make negative lifestyle changes that weaken hair shafts and retard normal growth, such as:
- eating irregularly
- changes in taste preference, choosing less nutritious foods
- weight fluctuation
- vitamin and mineral deficiencies
People often talk about “mellowing-out” on pot and some smokers use cannabis to self-medicate against high levels of stress. However, cannabis is a depressant and messes with our hormone balance. Although a smoker may enjoy an immediate psychological chill-out factor, marijuana use can simultaneously cause physical stress, possibly resulting in hair loss.
And So It Seems . . .
If you smoke cannabis regularly you will:
- alter your body’s chemistry
- likely make lifestyle changes that will-affect your health
- possibly experience hair loss
You may notice the hair loss soon after taking up marijuana or after five years of regular smoking. This can happen even if you are not genetically wired for baldness, but is very likely to speed up hair loss if you are so wired.
As with many things in life, people must weigh pleasure against risk. However, if you start smoking pot and your hair begins falling out, wisdom and common sense tell you to lay-off the cannabis and seek a hair loss professional for treatment.