By Miguel Ordoñez

Many new hair-care products contain CBD, and marketeers are certainly hyping up the power of cannabidiol. But research on CBD’s effectiveness in this regard remains sparse and inconclusive. Find out if the cannabinoid has a role to play in the future of hair health. 

Can CBD Help Your Hair?

Does CBD benefit hair health? Nobody knows because nobody has really studied it. Early evidence suggests that the endocannabinoid system plays an important role[1] in cells involved in hair growth; how CBD impacts these cells remains to be seen.

But CBD oil contains more than just CBD. These preparations often use olive oil as a carrier, which packs an array of nutrients including vitamins, amino acids, and fatty acids. Studies are testing oils[2] for their potential to protect hair from damage, with a focus on hair shafts (the visible portion of hair above the scalp).

Researchers are also working hard to determine if CBD has anti-inflammatory potential[3]. Furthermore, they're looking to see if CBD shampoo could play a beneficial role[4] in inflammatory conditions of the scalp, including scalp psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis.

Can CBD Help With Hair Loss?

Edit: People start to lose their hair for a number of reasons, including stress, genetics, scalp infections, and conditions such as alopecia areata. The idea of plant-based formulas helping to prevent hair loss—and even promote hair regrowth—sound far-fetched. But this hasn’t prevented researchers from taking the plunge and exploring how CBD affects these areas. It’s far too early to say if CBD helps with hair loss, but some interesting studies are underway.

Edit: A 2020 study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology explored the potential of CBD as a differential modulator of human hair growth[5], with a particular focus on its implications in inflammatory hair loss disorders. The researchers tested the cannabinoid on two types of cultured human hair follicles and outer root sheath keratinocytes. They noted CBD’s ability to bind to adenosine receptors in this context, but stated the need for follow-up studies employing a wider range of CBD concentrations.

A case series published in the journal Cannabis looked at the effects of CBD-rich hemp extracts in humans. The authors of the paper discuss how CBD works when it reaches hair follicles[6], noting its action as a negative allosteric modulator of CB1 receptors and an agonist of the TRPV1 and TRPV4 receptors. During the study, they conducted a hair count on alopecia patients, and counted again after six months of treatment.


What cbd hair-care products are out there?

There are now plenty of CBD-themed hair-care products on the market. How you wish to apply CBD to your hair or scalp is completely up to you. For maximum convenience, you can simply switch to a CBD-infused shampoo or conditioner. More complex formulas include those used in scalp serums and hydrating masks. And, of course, if you want to keep it simple, you can also massage most types of CBD oil directly into your scalp (depending on exact ingredients). For those who require styling, CBD-infused hair gel is also an option.

While CBD may not be a cure for your hair problems, it can still potentially strengthen and protect your hair in several ways. Hair experts are convinced that CBD has a role to play, even if they do not yet know exactly what it is. Many are optimistic that research into the medical applications of cannabinoids will continue, especially when it comes to skin and hair conditions. Regardless, there is no evidence to suggest that CBD could harm your hair, while there is a growing body of anecdotal evidence that claims it can help. You have very little to lose by trying out a new CBD hair-care product, whether it be a specially made scalp oil or just a cannabis-infused shampoo.

External Resources:
  1. Inhibition of human hair follicle growth by endo- and exocannabinoids - PubMed
  2. Hair Cosmetics: An Overview
  3. Antioxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Cannabidiol
  4. Efficacy and Tolerability of a Shampoo Containing Broad-Spectrum Cannabidiol in the Treatment of Scalp Inflammation in Patients with Mild to Moderate Scalp Psoriasis or Seborrheic Dermatitis - Abstract - Skin Appendage Disorders 2020, Vol. 6, No. 6 - Karger Publishers
  5. The Phytocannabinoid (e)-Cannabidiol Operates as a Complex, Differential Modulator of Human Hair Growth: Anti-Inflammatory Submicromolar versus Hair Growth Inhibitory Micromolar Effects
  6. Hair Regrowth with Cannabidiol (CBD)-rich Hemp Extract | Cannabis
This content is for educational purposes only. The information provided is derived from research gathered from external sources.

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