CBD, hemp seed oil and hair loss
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- Research overview
- The studies
- What the experts say
- Bottom Line
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.
There is no evidence to support that either oral or topical cannabinoids are effective for moisturizing the scalp or ameliorating hair loss. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
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.
CBD, hemp seed oil and hair loss Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents Research overview The studies What the experts say Bottom Line
What happened when I tried a CBD oil hair treatment
Weeding out the roots at Hari’s salon on Fulham Road
BD oil is a hot topic in beauty at the moment, and many brands have recently added CBD-infused products to their range.
However, until now, it’s not really made its way into the world of salon treatments. Which is why when we heard Hari’s Fulham Road salon had launched London’s first ever in-salon CBD hair treatment, we couldn’t wait to give it a go.
What is CBD oil?
CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is one of 104 chemical compounds found in the marijuana plant. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the main psychoactive substance found in cannabis but unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive.
So what’s the deal? Is it legal?
Medicinal cannabis products (the definition of which encompasses any cannabis oil containing more than 0.2 per cent THC) are currently illegal in the UK. CBD oil, however – cannabis oil containing less than 0.2 per cent THC – has been legal in the UK for some time.
Holland and Barrett were the first UK retailer to stock a CBD oil back in January of this year, and since then, several low concentration versions of cannabis oil (and products containing cannabis oil) have hit the shelves of British pharmacies.
Why *might* it help your hair?
While the medical benefits of CBD are as yet unproven, many take it orally (for pain, anxiety, depression) and topically for conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
It’s rich in the fatty acids omega 3 and omega 6 and also contains high doses of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium and vitamin E – all of which are great for the skin (and scalp).
It’s also understood to contain good levels of linoleic and gamma linoleic acid (GLA) – essential fatty acids which promote the maintenance of normal hair growth.
Hari, Founder of Hari’s hairdressers, is convinced of its benefits for hair. “CBD increases blood circulation therefore when used in our in-salon, Hari’s CBD Life Force Hair Treatment, it promotes hair growth and healthy hair production,” he says. “In addition, the CBD Oil balances sebum production so it’s great for both oily and dry or problem scalps helping to address a variety of hair and scalp complaints.”
So what happens in the treatment at Hari’s?
Hari’s have partnered with a specialist CBD oil brand called Spirit of Hemp to create a unique treatment. Spirit of Hemp’s products are unusual in that they contain a combination of pure, raw CBD oil combined with CBDA oil, which is essentially CBD before it’s heated and treated. CBDA is a more potent compound, so the logic is that you need less of it to feel the therapeutic effects.
The initial ritual
Once shown to my seat inside the beautifully botanical Hari’s salon on Fulham Road, I was offered the usual magazines and refreshments (it was post-6pm on a Friday, so mine was a gin and tonic) before being presented with a little pipette full of CBD oil (a third of the size of those we used in science class), which I was instructed to squeeze out under my tongue and hold there for 60 seconds. Full disclosure: ingesting CBD oil tastes faintly like licking a stoner’s carpet – best washed down with a gin chaser.
As a total novice in the marijuana department, I was intrigued (read, mildly concerned) to know what the pipette’s effects might be. Would I be chuckling my way through a head massage? Falling off my salon chair? However, my therapist assured me that (thanks largely to the lack of THC in the oil) any noticeable effects, which would take 15-20 minutes, would be very gentle. “You may feel particularly relaxed and revived,” she said “equally some people feel nothing.”
While the gulp of CBD oil worked its magic, the therapist set about applying the topical CBD mask to my hair. The treatment contains CBD and CBDA oils blended with coconut oil, Tamanu (a Polynesian nut oil) and other essential oils designed to deeply nourish the hair from the roots to the tips. It’s meant to help sensitive scalps, cleanse pores, balance sebum production and stimulate blood flow, encouraging healthy hair growth, lustre and shine.
While one therapist spent an intensely relaxing ten minutes massaging all that oily goodness into my scalp, neck and temples, another treated me to a wonderful hand massage (there’s a choice between optional hand and foot massage at this point), again using CBD oil.
While the distinctly weedy smell of the CBD means it wouldn’t be my massage oil of choice, the excellent double massage more than made up for it.
Tea and Infusion
Once it’s all massaged in, I sat under a heater for 20 minutes to ensure the mix penetrated to maximum effect. I was presented with a freshly brewed pot of Spirit of Hemp tea to enjoy whilst it developed. The Hemp Flower tea was brimming with CBDA and Flavonoids which I was told helps to reduce inflammation and offer protection from chronic and age-related diseases.
I wasn’t sure if it was the oil, the tea or (most likely) the gin and tonic, but there could be no doubt that by then I was feeling intensely relaxed.
Finishing Life Force Blow Dry
Finally, my hair was given an all-natural rinse to clean, cleanse and strengthen strands and smooth split ends. With glossy locks blow dried to perfection, I left the salon feeling all warm and fuzzy… and ready for another gin.
Weeding out the roots at Hari's salon on Fulham Road