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Marijuana & Hair Loss: Can Weed Cause Hair Loss?

Mary Lucas, RN

Medically reviewed by Mary Lucas, RN

Written by Our Editorial Team

Last updated 9/6/2021

Loss of hair can be caused by a variety of factors such as genetics, tight hairstyles, medications and more. 

But what about some of your, er, extracurricular activities? What about the effects of marijuana?

Some people seem to think that marijuana can lead to hair loss. 

Is it true? Marijuana and hair loss? Keep reading! 

We’ll give you an answer on weed’s impact on hair growth and loss — plus, provide some proven methods to combat hair loss and encourage regrowth. Read on for healthier hair.

The Connection Between Marijuana and Hair Loss

We’ll cut right to the chase: There aren’t a ton of direct studies that connect marijuana use with hair loss. 

The closest study that seems to suggest marijuana could potentially lead to hair loss is one that was done in 2007. The study suggests that THC (which is an active ingredient in marijuana) is deposited onto hair shafts of people who use marijuana — which can prohibit elongation of the hair and suppress the distribution of hair follicle proteins. These things can affect hair health.

There are also some studies that seem to suggest that smoking weed could cause certain conditions that may lead to hair loss. 

There is also some thought that regular marijuana use can trigger the pleasure-seeking portion of your brain. In turn, this could lead you to seek out delicious (but unhealthy) foods while you’re high.

Studies have shown that nutritional deficiencies in your diet (specifically — not enough iron and zinc) can be bad for hair health. 

So, if you get high quite often and end up filling yourself with junk food, you may not get enough of these vitamins and your hair health could suffer. 

It’s important to note that it took a lot of leaps to get to these hypotheses (and that’s what these are), and there is no conclusive evidence proving that marijuana smokers don’t get enough zinc or iron in their diet. 

Researchers have also found a link between smoking cigarettes and hair loss. 

One of cigarettes' negative effects is that it has been found to damage your strands. 

Similarly, if you smoke marijuana, it is not unreasonable to conclude that the smoke could damage your hair. Again, it’s important to note there is no study to support this. 

Remedies for Hair Loss

Whether it be from marijuana intake or something else altogether, if you’re dealing with baldness you may be looking for hair loss treatment options. 

From medications to lifestyle tweaks, there are plenty of ways to curb hair loss. Some treatments may even promote healthy hair growth. Here are six common treatment options:

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Finasteride

The prescription medication finasteride (Propecia®) is commonly used to treat baldness. It works by preventing your body from converting testosterone into DHT, which is one of the major causes of hair loss.

This treatment option has been shown to work. In fact, one study found that 99.1 percent of men who took finasteride over a ten-year period stopped their hair loss from worsening. And of those men, 91.5 percent of them noticed regrowth.

To be effective, finasteride must be taken on a daily basis. You can easily find finasteride online along with the required consultation with a healthcare professional for the prescription. 

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Minoxidil 

This topical treatment comes in liquid and foam formulas. Minoxidil is an FDA-approved medication and it doesn’t require a prescription.

It is unknown exactly what makes minoxidil work, but it is believed to work by stimulating hair follicles to enter the anagen (growth) phase. 

Minoxidil is also thought to increase blood flow to your scalp, which can stimulate hair growth. 

A 2019 review of studies on minoxidil affirmed that it improved hair growth in both men and women who suffer from pattern hair loss. 

Finasteride and Minoxidil Together

These two hair loss treatments can be quite the power couple when used together. In fact, a study found that 94.1 percent of men dealing with hair loss saw an improvement in hair growth when taking finasteride and minoxidil together. 

The same study showed that, by comparison, 80.5 percent saw an improvement using just finasteride and 50 percent saw an improvement using only minoxidil.

This Hims Hair Power Pack contains both minoxidil and finasteride. 

Hair Loss Shampoo

Some shampoos are specifically created to help thicken hair and stimulate hair growth. This thickening shampoo is made with saw palmetto, a natural ingredient believed to work like finasteride to reduce hair loss. 

A study compared finasteride with saw palmetto for encouraging hair regrowth and showed that while finasteride was found to be most effective, saw palmetto also seemed to help. 

Biotin

You’ve likely seen biotin gummies on Instagram or in the supplement aisle of your local drugstore. They’ve become a popular product because it’s thought they encourage hair growth. 

Biotin is a B vitamin known for having positive effects on hair. One study found that women who had thinning hair and took an oral supplement containing biotin experienced hair regrowth compared to those taking a placebo. 

Some foods like eggs, milk and bananas, naturally contain biotin. 

If you’re concerned you’re not getting enough in your diet, a biotin supplement could help. 

This biotin gummy also includes vitamin D. Low levels of vitamin D have been found to contribute to hair shedding.

Lifestyle Tweaks to Reduce Hair Loss

You can also make lifestyle changes to help manage hair loss — especially to the tune of a balanced diet. (Eating the right nutrients can help you get a healthy head of hair.)

As mentioned above, marijuana use can lead to ‘munchies,’ which don’t always involve the most healthful food options.

Beyond biotin, studies have shown that not getting enough iron and zinc in your diet can be bad for hair health. 

This study also found that those who increased their iron and zinc intake saw an improvement in hair growth.

Some good sources of zinc include crab, cashews and oatmeal. To increase iron intake, add spinach, meat and seafood to your diet. 

According to researchers (and as mentioned earlier), there may also be a link between smoking cigarettes and hair loss. 

Cigarettes have been found to damage the DNA of your hair follicles, and smoke is a pollutant that can damage your hair.

Nixing your smoking habit could help your hair health.

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Marijuana and Your Hair

The final word on weed and hair loss is that there is no final word. There is one study that suggests that THC can build up on hair shafts, damaging the strands. 

And there are also some studies that show that the effects of smoking marijuana relate to issues associated with hair loss. 

The bright spot in all of this? No matter what is causing your hair loss, there are treatment options you can try. In order to determine your best way to get healthy hair, it’s helpful to first speak with a healthcare professional.

13 Sources

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references.

  1. Telek, A., Biro, T., Bodo, E., et al., (2007, June 12). Inhibition of human hair follicle growth by endo-and exocannabinoids. The Faseb Journal. Retrieved from https://faseb.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1096/fj.06-7689com
  2. Does Smoking Marijuana Increase Your Metabolism? Columbia University. Retrieved from https://goaskalice.columbia.edu/answered-questions/does-smoking-marijuana-increase-your-metabolism
  3. Trueb, R., (2003). Association between smoking and hair loss: another opportunity for health education against smoking? National Library of Medicine. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12673073/
  4. Finasteride (2018). Medline Plus. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a698016.html
  5. Yanagisawa, M., et al. (2019, January). Long-term (10-year) efficacy of finasteride in 523 Japanese men with androgenetic alopecia. Clinical Research and Trials. 5, 1-5. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/337105943_Long-term_10-year_efficacy_of_finasteride_in_523_Japanese_men_with_androgenetic_alopecia
  6. Badri, T., Nessel, T.A. & Kumar, D.D. (2020, May 4). Minoxidil. StatPearls. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482378/
  7. Suchonwanit, P., Thammarucha, S. & Leerunyakul, K. (2019). Minoxidil and its use in hair disorders: a review. Drug Design, Development and Therapy. 13, 2777–2786. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6691938/
  8. Hu, R., et al. (2015, June 2). Combined treatment with oral finasteride and topical minoxidil in male androgenetic alopecia: a randomized and comparative study in Chinese patients. Dermatologic Therapy. 28 (5), 303-308. Retrieved from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/dth.12246
  9. Rossi, A., Mari, E., Scarno, M., et al. (2012, October). Comparative Effectiveness and Finasteride Vs Serenoa Repens in Male Androgenetic Alopecia: A Two-Year Study. International Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology, Volume 25, Issue 4, pages 1167-1173. Retrieved from https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/039463201202500435
  10. Ablon, G. (2015). A 3-Month, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study Evaluating the Ability of an Extra-Strength Marine Protein Supplement to Promote Hair Growth and Decrease Shedding in Women with Self-Perceived Thinning Hair. Dermatology Research and Practice. Retrieved from https://www.hindawi.com/journals/drp/2015/841570/
  11. Biotin (2020). Medline Plus. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/natural/313.html
  12. Khan, Q., Fabian, C., (2010, March). How I Treat Vitamin D Deficiency. Journal of Oncology Practice, 6(2):97-101. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2835491/
  13. Guo, E., Katta, R., (2017, January). Diet and hair loss: effects of nutrient deficiency and supplement use. Dermatology Practical and Conceptual, 7(1): 1-10. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5315033/

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.