By the time they reach the age of 35, 95 percent of American men will have experienced some degree of hair loss. Women also have to contend with naturally thinning hair as they age, and conditions such as alopecia affect a sizeable proportion of the population (nearly seven million people in the U.S. alone, according to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation). But in recent years, a number of new options have emerged to help people deal with these issues, and CBD appears to be one of the most promising.
We’re used to hearing about how CBD (the health-boosting compound in cannabis that doesn’t cause a high) can benefit the skin. It’s no longer an obscure health supplement but something you can find on the shelves of luxury department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and across CVS and Walgreens pharmacies throughout the country. However, its uses in hair care are lesser known.
That’s set to change in the coming months as hair care brands begin to incorporate CBD into their products. One example is Vegamour, which creates and sells vegan products containing plant-derived actives. The brand recently announced that they will release an extensive line of CBD-infused hair serums. Another example is Emera, a brand known for their CBD shampoos, conditioners, nourishing scalp treatments, and more.
Serums like those from Vegamour are the latest iteration in the CBD hair care trend. “Our research has shown that CBD has inherent, clinically-proven actives that naturally work in tandem to stimulate healthy hair growth,” Dan Hodgdon, Vegamour’s CEO, told Yahoo Finance. Hodgdon claims that the forumations used in this new line of serums allows for the full absorption of CBD into the scalp, maximizing results for the customer.
According to Hodgdon, “Our first-to-market topical line of CBD serums is designed to penetrate the skin and has proven to stimulate hair growth by increasing blood flow around the hair follicles while reducing inflammation.”
But will they work, or is this just another case of a beauty brand using CBD as a highly lucrative marketing tool?
To be fair, there are many reasons why CBD serums could be beneficial for hair growth. Hemp plants (from which the CBD in these serums is extracted) are rich in amino acids, essential oils, terpenes, vitamins, and minerals that are vital nutrients for healthy hair. They stimulate growth, improve strength, and give a glossy sheen to the hair. A 2019 study published in the journal Dermatology and Therapy found that many of these nutrients play a vital role in promoting healthy growth, preventing hair loss, and even slowing down the graying process.
But this doesn’t necessarily mean that CBD hair products will stimulate hair growth. Part of the issue is the type of oil used in the product. There are many different kinds of CBD oils, ranging from CBD isolate which contains only cannabidiol itself, to full spectrum CBD oils that include the full range of other compounds found in the plant. The more refined the oil is, the less effective it will be on the hair.
Another key variable is the carrier oil used in the serum itself. CBD isn’t easily absorbed by the body on its own, and as a fat-soluble compound it does best when used in conjunction with a carrier oil such as coconut oil. This makes it easier for the body to break down and process, allowing its key components to reach the bloodstream and circulate throughout the scalp. If the serum contains other carriers, the CBD may not be as effective.
Despite this, it’s not hard to see why beauty brands are starting to use CBD to address the hair care concerns of the nation. In theory, this non-intoxicating compound has all of the ingredients needed to inject life back into your hair and restore it to its former glory. Although this potential remains theoretical for the time being — no scientific studies have specifically examined the potential of CBD serums to boost hair growth — people seem willing to give it a try.