Hair loss affects everyone in varying degrees with up to 100 strands of loss per day considered normal. Higher amounts of hair loss are not typical and may have hereditary, hormonal, or stress-related causes. Some who experience hair loss try shampoos or creams to stimulate regrowth.
CBD oil has frequently been in the press for its purported soothing effects on pain and anxiety. As with any trend, some people are making claims that can't be supported. CBD oil for hair loss is one of them. There are some online claims that research shows CBD is great for hair loss. The problem seems to be a lack of understanding about the difference between CBD oil and hemp seed oil.
Let's separate CBD from hemp seed oil. The former is a cannabinoid found in the trichomes of the cannabis plant. CBD can be derived from marijuana or hemp. Hemp seed oil, however, comes from the seed of the hemp plant. The amino acids and fatty acids necessary for hair growth are found in hemp seeds, not CBD oil, according to Dr. Adie Wilson-Poe, a neuroscientist at Legacy Research Institute, specializing in cannabis pharmacology.
Amino acids (dubbed the building blocks of protein) and fatty acids are essential to hair growth and can be found in abundance in hemp seeds. The same omega-3s and omega-6s that make foods like salmon and walnuts healthy options also play a role in nourishing the hair.
The following studies expand on these ideas to show how CBD oil may help slow or stop hair loss.
A 2014 study conducted at the University of Seville in Spain found that hemp seed oil contains optimal levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which can facilitate hair growth. Researchers also found other essential fatty acids in hemp seed oil, including linoleic and gamma linoleic acids. Finally, researchers noted the presence of minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium, all of which may enrich hair health. It's important to note that this research pertains to essential acids in the diet, not topical applications, and the study focuses on beneficial components of hemp seed oil in general, not specifically for hair loss.
In 2018, a group of scientists examined the chemical profiles of hemp seeds in a comprehensive study published in the journal Molecules. Researchers found that hemp seeds contain many biologically active compounds that could boost hair health, including the previously identified omegas as well as a range of vitamins. Orally ingested hemp seeds may contribute to a balanced diet that is high in these beneficial fatty acids.
What the experts say
Dr. Wilson-Poe says, “There is no evidence to support that either oral or topical cannabinoids are effective for moisturizing the scalp or ameliorating hair loss.”
The Belgravia Centre in London treats individuals dealing with hair loss. According to hair experts at the center:
“...(CBD) may help to improve the condition of the hair in the same way following a balanced, healthy diet would. However, CBD oil is highly unlikely to treat a medical hair loss condition, especially if this is a genetic complaint - namely Male Pattern Baldness and Female Pattern Hair Loss, both of which cause thinning hair anywhere in the vertex area from the crown to the hairline, in those affected.”
CBD shows promise for a number of applications but treating hair loss is not one of them. Hemp seed oil can't do all the things CBD seems to but it does provide vitamins and essential acids that support overall health, including healthy hair.
Major contributions from Dr. Adie Rae.