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Can CBD Help With Hair Loss? We Investigate

CBD is the darling of the beauty industry at the moment. If you’re like us you’re intrigued by the hemp plant-derived cannabidiol. We know that CBD can benefit those with anxiety. There are also claims that CBD can smooth wrinkles, hydrate, and even get rid of acne. The scientific jury is still out on substantiating those claims, but what we do know is that CBD has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. So how can those properties benefit hair? To get more information on how CBD might be able to benefit our hair and help with hair loss, we talked with Michelle Henry, MD, a board-certified dermatologist, Harvard-trained Mohs surgeon, and Cantu Partner.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of using CBD for hair loss. We want to share the differences between CBD and hemp seed oil. These are two variations of Cannabis sativa that are both hitting the skin and hair care market. They each have anti-inflammatory properties, but they are created differently. On the one hand, CBD oil is derived from the stalks, leaves, and flowers of the hemp plant which means there are higher concentrations of CBD in its makeup. On the other hand, hemp seed oil is made from the seeds of the Cannabis sativa plant.

Now that we've given you that tidbit of information, it's time to talk CBD for hair loss.

Meet the Expert

    is a board-certified dermatologist, Harvard-trained Mohs surgeon, and Cantu Partner.

Type of ingredient: Hydrator and anti-inflammatory

Main benefits: Soothes the scalp, regulates oil production, and anti-inflammatory

Who should use it: In general, anyone can benefit from using CBD in their haircare routine. However, if you are dealing with excessive hair loss or scalp issues, you will want to check in with a healthcare practitioner before use.

How often can you use it: It’s safe to use as needed.

Works well with: Most hair care products and can even be dropped into masks and treatments for added benefits.

Benefits of CBD for Hair

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CBD is an anti-inflammatory powerhouse, so much so that it is proven to help lower pain and inflammation due to arthritis. But, how does that benefit translate to our scalp? For starters, CBD naturally boasts a high concentration of antioxidants like vitamins A, C, making it an antioxidant-rich and anti-inflammatory option. "The actual active (cannabinoid) is anti-inflammatory and can help psoriasis and eczema," Henry tells us. "For scalp and hair issues that are triggered by inflammation such as psoriasis, dermatitis especially in women who have hair loss in women. If women patients don’t want to use traditional medicine. CBD oil can help with those issues."

Hemp seed oil has also entered the haircare chat, but because hemp seed oil is derived from seeds it doesn’t carry as many anti-inflammatory benefits as CBD oil. However, for those that are looking to moisturize a flaky or irritates scalp, Henry tells us hemp seed oil does just that. “Hempseed oil is going to help lock in moisture in the hair and scalp. What people forget is that the scalp is an extension of the face. What’s become more popular is the skifinification of the scalp and extension of skincare, so we should use similar ingredients. Do all the things we would do on the face (moisturize, nourish) on the scalp to help with hair loss and stimulate hair growth.”

Because hair loss and irritation can be attributed to many other factors, talking with your healthcare provider about your unique concerns is the best option.

Hair Type Considerations

CBD can benefit a range of hair types. However, Henry notes that research on CBD's ability to promote hair growth is limited. "I have not seen any studies about [CBD oil] directly stimulating hair growth. However, reducing inflammation is encouraging hair growth and protecting the hair." We can thank Phytocompounds —antioxidant effects and antimicrobial properties— for that. When applied to our skin, the hemp plant can molecularly connect to the CB1 and CB2 receptors in our bodies and reduce inflammation—this includes our scalps. Before you run out and purchase a CBD product for your hair, there are a few things to keep in mind. As we noted at the start of the story, CBD and hemp seed oil are different. Hemp seed oil does offer up fatty acids, which are excellent hydrators of the hair and scalp. However, CBD has a higher level of anti-inflammatory benefits. So when looking at the label of products, you'll want to be mindful of your needs and the ingredients in your product of choice. The labeling can be a bit confusing, but we hope our breakdown helps.

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How to Use CBD for Hair

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When using CBD oil on your hair and scalp, you'll want to follow the same practices you would with any other hair care ingredient if you're using a CBD-infused shampoo, conditioner, or styling product used as recommended or as often as your hair type calls for. When it comes to applying CBD oil to the scalp, six to eight drops are typically more than enough for any oil you plan to use on the scalp, and we'd apply that same cadence here.

The Best Products with CBD and Hemp Seed Oil

Made with a blend of 100 mg CBD oil-enriched, arnica flower, hemp, and tamanu seed oils, this oil calms and moisturizes the skin and scalp.

Formulated with cannabis Sativa seed oil, ginseng root, and horsetail extract, this formula moisturizes and softens each strand to encourage thicker, healthier-looking hair.

Made with a 3:1 broad-spectrum cannabinoid complex with a blend of baobab and castor oils, rosemary, cedarwood, and other herbal extracts, this rich multitasking formula can be used as a scalp treatment, leave-in, or as an addition to any hair mask.

With a blend of three natural, raw ingredients: 100% pure and certified organic hemp seed oil, pure shea butter, and coconut oil, this hydrating formula can be used on the hair, scalp, and body.

CBD oil is an anti-inflammatory hydrator that soothes the scalp and regulates oil production.

CBD can benefit a range of hair types. However, Henry notes that research on CBD's ability to promote hair growth is limited. "I have not seen any studies about [CBD oil] directly stimulating hair growth. However, reducing inflammation is encouraging hair growth and protecting the hair."

When it comes to applying CBD oil to the scalp, six to eight drops are typically more than enough for any oil you plan to use on the scalp, and we'd apply that same cadence here.

Detection of cannabinoids in hair after cosmetic application of hemp oil

All data generated or analyzed during this study are included in this published article.

Abstract

The detection of cannabis constituents and metabolites in hair is an established procedure to provide evidence of exposure to cannabis. We present the first known evidence to suggest that applying hemp oil to hair, as cosmetic treatment, may result in the incorporation of Δ 9 -tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabinol (CBN), cannabidiol (CBD) and in one instance, the metabolite 11-hydroxy-Δ 9 -tetrahydrocannabinol (THC-OH). 10 volunteers treated their head hair daily with commercially available hemp oil for a period of 6 weeks. Head hair samples were collected before and after the application period. Hair samples were washed with methanol and subjected to clean up via liquid/liquid and solid phase extraction procedures, and then GC-MS/MS for the analysis of THC, CBN, CBD, THC-OH and THC-COOH. Application of hemp oil to hair resulted in the incorporation of one or more cannabis constituents in 89% of volunteers, and 33% of the group tested positive for the three major constituents, THC, CBN and CBD. One volunteer showed low levels of the metabolite THC-OH. We suggest that cosmetic use of hemp oil should be recorded when sampling head hair for analysis, and that the interpretative value of cannabinoid hair measurements from people reporting application of hemp oil is treated with caution in both criminology and public health.

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Introduction

Cannabis Sativa is a plant species of Cannabis. In addition to its recreational use as a drug of abuse, the plant has widespread alternative uses including the production of food, cosmetics (hemp), textiles and medicinal applications 1 . When toxicology laboratories are required to investigate past exposure to cannabis, analysis of hair can provide powerful evidence. The compounds usually targeted for hair analysis to identify cannabis exposure are: Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main active compound of cannabis, the metabolite [11-nor-Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol-9-carboxylic acid (THC-COOH)] and two cannabinoids (cannabinol (CBN) and cannabidiol (CBD)) 2 . Typically passage of these cannabinoids into the hair includes passive diffusion from blood, diffusion from sweat/sebum or external contamination. One of the key questions to be addressed when interpreting the results of cannabinoid hair analysis is that of proof of consumption. Are the results sufficiently clear to suggest cannabis was consumed, or could the results actually be the result of passive exposure to cannabis smoke, or other mechanisms? Passive exposure is defined by an individual being in an environment that is exposed to drugs, an important public health problem. Cannabis smoke can be inhaled or absorbed into the hair by persons other than the intended smoker/user 3 . Researchers have evaluated second-hand cannabis smoke exposure and the corresponding levels of cannabinoids in biological samples 3 , 4 . Herrmann et al. discovered that in unventilated, confined conditions cannabinoid detection was above threshold and higher concentrations of THC and THC-COOH were found predominantly in the blood, urine and hair 4 . THC and THC-COOH have lower incorporation rates in hair in comparison to other bodily matrices. The low presence of THC may be explained by its weak affinity to melanin while the acidic nature of hair may be the reason for the absence of THC-COOH 5 . Along with the levels of cannabis constituents detected in passive exposure, analysis has been conducted to understand what physiological impact exposure has 3 . Past research has shown evidence of increased heart rate and minor impairments in coordination and memory 4 , 6 , 7 . Identification of THC/CBN/CBD in hair suggests exposure to cannabis, which could be due to low level or infrequent use of cannabis or historic or passive exposure. However, some argue that the presence of cannabinoids in hair, especially THC is indicative of repeated or chronic exposure 5 , 8 . The distinction between external contamination and consumption can be difficult for cannabinoid hair analysis 9 , and the implication of a positive test result can have significant consequences for the individual involved. THC-COOH is only formed inside the body, and the presence of this gives unequivocal proof of consumption when detected in hair samples. The metabolite has never been discovered in cannabis smoke ruling out environmental contamination 10 . With hair analysis, THC-COOH is detectable at very low concentrations. The drawbacks for detection from this biological matrix are the requirement for expensive instrumentation and sample preparation can be a more time-consuming process when compared to urine 11 . Routine laboratory screening of hair for cannabis varies and includes the detection of cannabinoids and/or THC-COOH 8 . Hemp is a variety of Cannabis Sativa and is closely related to Cannabis with the difference being in the percentage of THC 12 . Hemp is grown for industrial use and found in food, lotions, medicines, clothing and construction materials. Hemp oil is extracted by pressing the seeds from the female hemp plant 13 . The legalisation of hemp has caused controversy. This is because research has shown that the use or consumption of hemp products could have the potential to impact on drug testing for cannabis 14 .

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Hemp oil products are advertised in health shops for their good source of omega fatty acids 15 . Bosy et al. 16 assessed whether oral consumption of hemp oil would negatively affect existing drug screening protocols. Various oils were screened (THC content of bottled oils was 36.0, 117.5, 36.4, 45.7, 21.0, 11.5 mg/g) and administered to volunteers and their urine measured for metabolite levels. GC-MS analysis determined the amount of THC-COOH in each participant’s urine to be below the confirmation cut-off within a 48 hour cessation period. Similarly to hemp oil, hemp foods are classified as ‘natural foods’ and are commercially available. Leson et al. showed that daily consumption of hemp food can lead to the presence of THC and THC-COOH in urine, but these compounds were below the confirmation thresholds 17 . These authors 16 , 17 suggest that hemp food and oil products do contain cannabinoids but in very low concentrations, and that ingestion of such products should not be deemed as a concern in drug testing. The Cannabis plant has been used in the production of cosmetics through the use of hemp oil and cannabis extracts 18 . An evaluation of Cannabio® shampoo revealed levels of THC, CBD and CBN, three constituents that indicate cannabis exposure 19 . However, normal hygiene practice using the cosmetic produced no positive results in hair. Extreme use could generate positive results for CBN and CBD but not the primary constituent, THC.

Hemp oil is marketed as an effective cosmetic treatment for hair, with claims that direct application of the oil to hair has moisturizing benefits, can aid hair growth, may protect the hair and aid in damage repair, and the oil may add shine to the hair. These claims are unsubstantiated but there is a substantial number of online retailers selling various hemp oil based products intended for direct application to head hair. The composition of these products range from pure hemp oil, to hemp oil included at a relatively low concentration into shampoos and other hair treatments.

In this paper we investigate direct hemp oil application to head hair and the implications on resulting cannabinoid measurements.

Results

Cannabinoid concentrations pre and post hemp oil application

Head hair samples were collected from volunteers as described in Methods, and analysed before and after the six week period of hemp oil administration. Results are displayed in Table  1 .

How to revive your hair and scalp with hemp oil

If you want to learn about hemp oil benefits for hair, you’ve come to the right place. This nourishing oil is one of nature’s secrets to shiny, beautiful hair and a healthy scalp. There are plenty of oils out there that are excellent for your hair, and hemp oil is one of our favorites. Let’s talk about why.

Whether you have dry tresses, a flaky or itchy scalp, or just want to make your hair grow as fast as possible, hemp oil has got you covered. Hemp seed oil is a staple beauty item for gals who want to keep their strands and scalp in tip-top shape.

Hemp oil is a clear, greenish oil with a slightly nutty flavor that is pressed from hemp seeds. It has been used in the Far East for centuries as both a natural health remedy and beauty staple.

Contrary to popular belief, hempseed oil does not contain much (if any) THC, the psychoactive compound from cannabis plants that gets you “high”. With that said, your hair will look so healthy and beautiful with regular use that you will be floating on cloud nine!

Hemp oil’s secret is that it contains a mega-dose of important fatty acids and essential nutrients that are ideal for hair and scalp health. It also has oleic acid, Stearidonic acid, and Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA), which are great for your skin.