Cannabis Hair Oil Treatments Are Here, But Do They Work?

Find out if hair treatments using cannabis work.

Cannabis for your hair? Apparently so. It has all the amazing acids and oils we need to keep our hair healthy. Image Credit: By ivan_kislitsin on Shutterstock

You’ve heard of coconut oil for your hair. You’ve heard of olive oil for your hair. You’ve even heard of argan oil for your hair. But have you heard of cannabis oil for your hair?

It might seem a little “out there” to add cannabis to your hair care regimen, but people have been using plant-based medicines and ingredients to improve their follicular health for centuries. And, with this latest batch of hair oils, brands are hoping to cash in on the overwhelming popularity of CBD and cannabis and continue on with ancient traditions they’ve seen work.

Why Is Cannabis Good for Your Hair?

Let’s take a step back — first, is cannabis good for your hair? As you might suspect, the answer is simple: yes. The reasons why, however, are a bit more complicated.

Cannabis’ benefits for your hair are linked to its relationship with the body’s internal skin regulation system, which is known as the endocannabinoid system. In the 1990s, scientists discovered that this system relied on a specific set of chemicals to regulate the health of the skin. These chemicals, called endocannabinoids, are almost identical to those in cannabis plants, which are called cannabinoids. And before long, researchers realized that the chemicals in cannabis plants could have the same balance-restoring effects on the endocannabinoid system, the skin, and the body in general.

But what does this have to do with hair? Well, since the skin is the body’s largest organ, its health is a major factor in determining the health of hair. Much like how the quality of soil influences the health of the plants you grow in it, if the skin is off-balance then the hair will be affected, too. By working to support the endocannabinoid system, cannabis can ensure that our skin is in peak condition and the hair, in turn, follows suit.

Essential Fatty Acids
Cannabis is packed with essential fatty acids that are beneficial for the hair. Some of these acids promote blood circulation to the scalp, which speeds up hair growth. Others contain proteins that inject the hair with strength and durability. Some are fatty acids which could add shine to the hair and improve its overall appearance.

These acids aren’t produced in the body which is why they are called “essential”. Usually, people get these important nutrients from foods in their diet, but using a cannabis product topically (such as an oil treatment in the hair) can have the same effect.

Antibacterial
Since 1976, scientists have known that cannabis is effective at fighting bacteria. This is because CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) are both powerful antibacterial agents. Folliculitis and impetigo are common bacterial infections that affect the scalp. If untreated, they can do long-term damage to both the scalp and hair. So using a good cannabis hair product on the scalp and hair is a wise move if you want to avoid infections.

Anti-Inflammatory
It may come as a surprise that cannabis is anti-inflammatory, but scientists have been studying this potential for years, and so far the results have been highly encouraging. When it comes to your hair, inflammation of the scalp can occur in people who suffer from certain types of eczema, psoriasis, hypothyroidism, and other conditions.

Again, if these conditions are left untreated they can result in permanent hair loss, so using a natural anti-inflammatory like cannabis in hair products is a very wise move.

What’s a Cannabis Hair Oil Treatment?

A cannabis hair oil treatment is one that involves applying cannabis-infused oil to the hair and leaving it in for a period of time so that the hair can soak up its medicinal qualities. There are a number of different types of these treatments, but the most common ones involve hot oil.

“Hair oils are a great way to nourish and hydrate your hair,” said Corey Powell of Los Angeles salon Sally Hershberger, whose clients include Hillary Swank and Cameron Diaz. Powell is an advocate of using hair oils to restore moisture to dried out locks and provide a nutrient boost when your hair needs it most.

“Heat the oil in the microwave and coat your hair with it,” he advised. “Then wrap a warm, wet towel around your hair and wait 30 minutes before rinsing.” If your hair is damaged and in need of some extra care, take an extra step: massage the oil into your scalp and then leave the oil to soak in overnight, using a showercap to keep residue off your pillow as you sleep.

If you’re buying a ready-made cannabis hair oil treatment, it’s important to make sure it doesn’t contain hemp seed oil. While hemp seeds do have many health benefits, they don’t have any CBD or THC, which are the components that give cannabis hair oil treatments their special qualities.

On the other hand, you can source your own organic cannabis oil from your local dispensary and mix it with carrier oils such as coconut oil or castor oil (or essential oils like almond oil or jojoba oil) and create your own cannabis oil cocktail in the comfort of your own home.

Taking care of your hair’s appearance, particularly when you’re between appointments with your stylist, can be a challenge. If your hair has been lifeless or dull, broken and brittle, or just in need of that ever elusive je ne sais quoi, a cannabis hair oil treatment might just bring it back from the brink.

Sarah Tyrrell
Sarah Tyrrell
Sarah Tyrrell is a health, wellness, and lifestyle writer based in Ireland whose work has appeared in The Irish Times and The Independent, among others. In 2017, she founded the lifestyle brand “Self Love and Sarah” to promote healthy self image and body positivity for women.

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