CBD is so clearly useful and effective that the FDA approved a CBD-based drug for certain types of epilepsy in 2017. That doesn’t mean all CBD products are equally effective and useful, however.
Frauds and fakes always crop up around items of real value. Today, the CBD industry is plagued with overpromised products that underdeliver, so it’s natural to be skeptical of CBD products that are seemingly premised on shaky foundations. Are CBD hair products the next best thing for your ‘do, or are they BS that you would do well to avoid?
What are CBD hair products?
CBD hair products are conventional hair products, such as shampoo or conditioner, that have been infused with CBD. These hair products are usually considerably more expensive than their conventional counterparts, and they contain varying amounts and types of CBD.
Why do people think CBD is good for hair?
CBD has been studied intensively for its potential antioxidant properties. Research indicates that oxidative stress has a negative impact on overall hair health, and oxidative stress may also contribute to hair loss and age-related balding.
Proponents of CBD hair products make connections between research into CBD’s potential impact on oxidative stress and the role that oxidative stress appears to play in hair health. There are nuances to this argument, however, that tend to get lost within the marketing copy.
Questions that potential users of CBD hair products should ask include:
- Does CBD have high bioavailability at the scalp?
- Is using shampoo or conditioner the most effective way to apply CBD to the hair and scalp?
- Could using CBD hair products harm your hair?
- Which type of CBD (isolate, broad-spectrum, full-spectrum) is ideal for hair?
- Which type of CBD is most commonly included in CBD hair products?
Does CBD help hair?
On its face, the premise that CBD might help with hair loss makes some intuitive sense:
- CBD has been intensively researched for its potential antioxidant abilities
- Hair health is intimately tied to oxidative stress
- Therefore, CBD should be investigated for its usefulness as a hair treatment
Upon further examination, however, this argument becomes shakier. Even if CBD does have antioxidant properties, does applying this cannabinoid to your hair in the form of shampoo or conditioner allow CBD to exert these properties effectively?
Could CBD cause unanticipated harm to your hair or scalp? Perhaps most importantly, could the other ingredients included in CBD shampoos or conditioners mitigate or negate the potential hair health benefits of this cannabinoid?
Studies into CBD and hair health
At present, no research has been conducted into CBD and hair health. A few years ago, this lack of relevant studies could have been chalked up to an overall dearth of CBD research. These days, however, CBD has been studied for potential benefits as wide-ranging as:
- Cardiovascular health
- Skin health
- Antimicrobial properties
- & dozens of other topics
CBD has been researched for practically every potential benefit under the sun. Yet, studies into CBD and hair health are notably missing. It’s clear that the international scientific community does not believe CBD and hair health to be a compelling topic of research.
Perhaps awareness of CBD’s potential for hair health simply hasn’t percolated throughout the scientific community yet. Or, perhaps scientists have discarded this potential benefit as BS.
Does CBD shampoo help hair growth?
One of the most widely promulgated claims regarding CBD and hair health is that this cannabinoid promotes hair growth. Like horse shampoo and other hair growth fads, the claim that CBD helps with hair growth is predicated on the thinnest evidence and often promoted in the form of a guarantee.
Even if CBD does help with hair growth, it would provide these effects gradually over time. Manufacturers who claim their CBD shampoos provide immediate boosts to hair growth are almost certainly spouting BS.
Does CBD treat thinning hair?
Thinning hair is usually the result of an age-related condition called androgenetic alopecia. Like its name suggests, androgenetic alopecia is a genetic condition, meaning that it’s hard-coded into your DNA.
Even if CBD prevents hair loss by boosting the health of your hair or scalp, there’s no evidence that this cannabinoid can interfere with the progression of genetic conditions. We call BS on claims that CBD helps with age-related hair thinning.
Does CBD prevent hair loss?
Age isn’t the only factor that can cause hair loss. You can also lose hair due to trichotillomania, a form of obsessive hair pulling, or other stress-related conditions.
The effects of CBD on stress have been researched. If it’s true that CBD is useful for stress, however, the ideal area of application would be internal, not topical. Applying CBD to your hair won’t help with stress reactions that originated in your nervous system.
Does CBD prevent dandruff?
Dandruff can be caused by oily skin, dirty hair, or fungus. There’s no evidence that CBD impacts skin oil levels, acts as a cleanser, or has antifungal properties. As an oil, applying CBD to your scalp could make dandruff worse if this condition is caused by oily skin.
Does CBD clean your hair?
CBD is commonly packaged in shampoo. The primary purpose of shampoo is to clean your hair, so it would make sense if CBD had hair-cleansing properties. However, CBD shows no potential as a cleanser.
Does CBD make your hair healthier?
Research into the impact of CBD on overall hair health has not been studied. It is unclear whether applying CBD to your hair in the form of shampoo or conditioner would provide further benefits to your scalp or follicles than ingesting this cannabinoid internally.
Does CBD oil hurt your hair?
It’s entirely possible that CBD oil could damage your hair. While CBD is generally considered to be a safe substance without considerable side effects, studies into the toxicity of CBD have not covered the safety of applying CBD to your hair.
Proponents of CBD hair products, however, claim that CBD oil has been proven to be safe or even beneficial when applied to hair. Citing the abundance of omega fatty acids and vitamin E present in hemp oil, they claim that CBD oil contains substances aside from cannabidiol that might help with hair health.
There’s just one problem. CBD-rich hemp flower extract, the primary active constituent of CBD hair products, is not the same substance as hemp seed oil, which contains vitamin E and fatty acids. CBD-rich hemp flower extract, on the contrary, does not hold any nutritional value for our bodies or hair.
Ignorant conflations like these should make any consumer skeptical of the CBD hair care industry. If manufacturers of CBD hair products know so little about their own products that they seriously believe CBD oil contains omega acids and vitamin E, they’re almost certainly full of BS. Even worse, their products might be full of cheap, artificial ingredients that could hurt your hair.
Is using CBD on your hair and scalp BS?
Research into the potential benefits of CBD for hair health is certainly warranted. At present, however, the CBD hair care industry is permeated with snake oil and rampant BS. Despite the total lack of direct evidence that CBD might be useful for hair health, manufacturers claim that CBD is a miracle cure for baldness and bad hair days.
The good news is that applying CBD oil to your hair is unlikely to cause any harm. Applying CBD in the form of shampoo or conditioner, however, which only remain in your hair for a few minutes or less, is likely far less useful than simply squirting CBD oil onto your scalp and rubbing it in.