I have found more "anecdotal" references about marijuana use and
thinning hair than actual medical evidence. I have compiled the few
references I have found and leave it to you to make the judgment call
about whether marijuana might be an actual cause of hair loss or
thinning hair in your particular case. There are numerous other
factors that must also be considered which can cause thinning hair,
including nutritional deficiencies resulting from excessive marijuana
use and a genetic tendency to thinning hair despite the use of
It is also interesting that one of your previous questions asked about
Prozac and Hydroxycut, since both have also been associated with
thinning hair. Stress can also cause hair loss, and marijuana and
prozac are both avenues for alleviating stress/depression. Therefore,
you might want to investigate some of the imbalances brought on by
stress as well.
I have touched on all these issues since they are all linked together
and the information may lead you to some further explanations for your
thinning hair (if, in fact, you do have such a problem!)
MARIJUANA AND THINNING OR LOSS OF HAIR
"Marijuana and/or excessive alcohol intake can cause a general loss of
hair through their effects on the liver and blood sugar levels."
From "What Men Need to Know About Hair and Hair Loss," By David
Salinger. Director, International Association of Trichologists.
The following excerpts from a forum discussion on marijuana and
thinning hair provides ample evidence that this is a common problem,
even if it is not a serious topic of medical literature!
Q. "Does smoking pot have any affect on increasing dht or hair loss
for that matter.?
A. "There haven't been any studies to prove this... but i think it
does. I notice that if i smoke my hairloss will increase temporarily..
and my scalp feels very tingly during that time. I've been trying my
own experiment... i've cut down to only smoking a couple times per
month.. and i've noticed a slight improvement. I used to smoke a
little every day, and during that time I lost more hair then before i
started smoking... so i've cut down to compare.."
Q. "Hey I have the same problem, everytime I smoke I lose some hair, I
have been smoking almost every week in the past year and my hair is
starting to get pretty thin. I do not smoke with tobacco. What causes
this, and what can I do to stop it?"
A. "Probably the general toxicity of the drug is slowing down cell
proliferation in the hair follicles - we know the drug collects in the
hair fiber (hence hair testing) so it seems the follicles pick it up
quite well. If the slow down in cell proliferation is significant the
follicles will shut down and enter a telogen resting state until the
environment is more conducive to growth."
A. "I am a female (21 yrs.), and ever since I started smoking pot on a
daily basis, I have noticed an alarming rate of hair loss. For me to
think that it wasn't related to pot, would be ridiculous, as I take no
other medications, am quite healthy, and have no family history of
balding. My hair is now about 1\3 the thickness as it originally was,
and is continuing to fall out. Some dermatologists I have spoken to
suggest that smoking pot causes an imbalance of male hormones within
males AND females, which would lead to side effects such as hair loss,
sex drive loss in males, increased agressiveness, increased facial
acne, and increased facial hair. If you are really concerned about the
hair loss, I would suggest going to get your hormone levels tested to
see what the doctor might be able to do for you."
From "Marijuana and hair loss."
Marijuana's effect on estradiol levels:
"I am a 45 year old male with very thin hair. I decided at my age I
should have my hormone levels checked. I always assumed that I had
high levels of dht, but to my surprise they were very low, but my
estradiol levels were almost 4 times higher than healthy levels. My
other hormones were good. Would arimidex be of some help on my
thinning hair and my health in general?"
Aaron J. Kozol, R.Ph answered: "Arimidex (anastrozole)would probably
be of little benefit to your thinning hair but you may derive some
health benefits by normalizing your testosterone to estradiol ratio.
Getting your estradiol levels in check may not require an aromatase
inhibitor as powerful as Arimidex. Zinc has been shown to inhibit
aromatase. Increased estradiol levels in males may be caused by
increased body fat resulting in enhanced peripheral aromatization of
* Levels in men can also be increased by excessive use of marijuana or
alcohol or prescribed drugs including phenothiazines and
Consult with an endocrinologist to determine the best method for
decreasing your estradiol levels.
From "Ask a Hair Loss or Hair Transplant Expert."
"I am a 24 y/o African American women and I have been dealing w/ hair loss for
about 5 yrs now. when i first noticed that my hair was falling out, it
was severe breakage and I went to a dermatologist and he recommended
discontinued usage of perms/relaxers, weaves/braiding, heat and excess
stress because it could cause further damage to the folicals. well I
have tried so many methods in the last 5 yrs. I have been a little
successful. I cut all of my hair off and started from scratch, using
herbs like zinc, vitamin B, C and E. I have even been using oxygen
scalp treatments to open up my pores. all these things have worked
some but it seems as if they have stopped working. also at the
beginning of the hair loss i admit i was over stressed, using
marijuana, drinking and smoking cigarettes, not to mention being fresh
out of high school and entering into the world of adulthood and living
on my own. I had so much going on in my life during that time, but
since then i have discontinued the use of marijuana, drinking,
cigarettes, and eliminated some of my stress. I even changed my diet
but it seems as if nothing is working any more. can you help me?"
ANSWER: "Well, your diet and your lifestyle probably contributed to
the hair loss. We are what we ingest and from the sounds of your
letter, you were poisoning your body. It sounds like you are on the
right track with the vitamins you are taking. Keep that up. Eat a
healthy diet. Give up the caffeine and sugar and any processed junk
From Marijuana use, stress and hair loss. Ask the Herbalist.
STRESS AND HAIR LOSS
"Your hair has a way of telling you if your body is in balance.
"If you are healthy - physically as well as emotionally - your hair
will be radiant and shining and your scalp pliant and moist."
"If you are not well physically, or if you are upset emotionally, your
hair becomes dull and lifeless - it will begin to fall out, and your
hair will become waxy with the overproduction of your traumatised
"Truly, any major change in our lives can be reflected in the
condition of our hair, scalp and skin. If we are well and happy, we
reflect this health and well-being in the condition of our hair and
scalp. If we are in a slump, that slump is often manifested in the
appearance of our hair and scalp."
"Stress a modern day problem can be blamed for all types of illnesses,
and hair loss is no exception to this." Stop Hair Loss Now.
"Some characteristics of stress loss: It is caused when a stressor
causes an extra amount of hair to go into the loss-phase. So, it
typically takes 2-4 months after the stressor to show up. The stressor
can be physical (e.g., severe illness or surgery) or psychological,
such as severe depression. Unlike pattern hair loss, stress loss tends
to be associated with an increased rate of hair shedding, sometimes as
much as 3-400 hairs per day. Stress-induced hair loss also tends to
burn itself out after a few weeks to months. Finally, in stress-loss,
hair tends to regrow starting within a year or so after hair shedding
slows. In fact, if hair doesn't regrow, it probably wasn't entirely
NUTRITIONAL DEFICIENCIES AND HAIR LOSS
"The increasing use of marijuana both for recreational and medicinal
purposes, can have unwanted side effects on nutrition. For example, in
Marinol (the prescription grade THC), the question of the effects of
marijuana on vitamins becomes quite pertinent. A recent study that
examined the dietary intakes and nutritional status of marijuana users
and non-marijuana users using a national representative sample of U.S.
adults 20 to 59 years old seems to provide the answer."
"The study concluded that higher consumption of sodium, lower fruit
and vegetable intake, lower serum carotenoid levels, higher alcohol
intake, higher cigarette use and the compounded carcinogenic effects
of marijuana place marijuana users at a higher future risk for
cardiovascular disease and cancer. In general, substance abuse harms
the body in two distinct ways: via the effect of the substance itself
and via negative lifestyle changes, such as irregular eating habits
and poor dietary intake. You can beat these habits with the help of a
supplement regimen, which is available most efficiently in a liquid
From "Effects of Alcohol and Illicit Drugs and Vitamins," by Dr.
Obikoya. The Vitamin and Nutrition Center.
"Nutritional deficiencies can contribute to increased hair shedding by
weakening hair shafts that cause breakage to the hair and slow
regrowth. Hair problems that are caused by nutritional deficiencies
can be corrected by a proper diet. Principal nutrients that are
involved include vitamin A, certain B vitamins, the vitamin biotin,
vitamin C, copper, iron, zinc, protein, and water."
(Read further if you think nutritional deficiencies coupled with
marijuana might be a problem)
From "Diet and Hair Loss," by Kimberly A. Tessmer, RD, LD. ABC News.
As evidenced by the following chart, deficiencies of zinc (an
important mineral for men), several of the B vitamins (B5, B6 and
Riboflavin) and the Essential fatty acids can all be manifested by
See 1st Holistic. http://1stholistic.com/Nutrition/hol_nutr-def-symptoms.htm
HYDROXYCUT AND HAIR LOSS
I don't know if you have been taking Hydoxycut or are just considering
it, but one user, at least, has noticed hair loss with the product:
"I am a 23 year old male. No hair loss on either side of the family,
but about 4 years ago my hair started thinning. ( right after I
started taking hydroxycyt). I have been taking this stuff religiously
pretty much everyday. Right after I started taking this stuff, my hair
went to a full beautiful head to thin. Since then, it hasnt gotten
better or worse.
I was wondering if hair thinning was a rare side effect of taking
hydroxycut. I took the ephedra hydroxycut until it got taken off the
shelves them switched right over to ephedra-free. (1.5 yrs ago) Went
to a derm, and all blood work came out fine so I'm trying to find a
cuause to this hair thinning."
PROZAC/ANTIDEPRESSANTS AND HAIR LOSS
"Prozac: Prozac is a SSRI potent anti-depressant medication. The whole
group of SSRI antidepressants have been associated with rare cases of
increased hair loss."
From "Prozac - Proscar - Propecia." Peter J. Panagotacos MD.
"I am a 50 year old woman. My hair began to thin out several years
ago. My mother has very thin hair. I had been taking Prozac for a year
and in June 2002, I added 300 mg. Wellbutrin. Three months later,
while in Europe, my hair loss began to accelerate. My hair is getting
VERY thin on the top, back and sides (the scalp is visible). I
switched from Prozac to Zoloft, but it's still thinning out. Is there
an anti depressant not associated with hair loss? Given my proclivity
to hair loss, will it return if I take certain steps? Thanks much for
Robert M. Bernstein, M.D. answered: "Unfortunately they can all
potentially cause hair loss. There is no way to know in advance, other
than understanding that the more closely related the medications, the
more likely they will cause similar side effects. Due to the long
growth cycle of hair, please be aware that you need to wait 6-9 months
before making a judgement regarding cause and effect relationships
between the medication and your hair. Sincerely, Dr. Bernstein "
From "Ask a Doctor."
"Medicines that can cause hair loss include blood thinners (also
called anticoagulants), medicines used for gout, medicines used in
chemotherapy to treat cancer, vitamin A (if too much is taken), birth
control pills and antidepressants."
From "Hair Loss and Its Causes." Family Doctor.org
Although the medical evidence linking marijuana use and thinning hair
is nearly non-existent, the individual testimony by marijuana smokers
may be the best indication that there is a link. Again, however, the
cause may not be from the actual marijuana usage itself, but from
nutritional deficiencies, stress, or a host of other issues that seem
to coincide with individuals who habitually use marijuana!!!!
I hope this has been a bit of help!
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