Updated on January 31, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Alopecia is a form of hair loss that causes excessive thinning, patching and in more extreme cases, baldness. Although it is common to lose around 100 to 150 hair strands per day, alopecia manifests as a more severe form of hair loss that causes hair to fall out more rapidly and in higher amounts.
When an individual experiences alopecia, they may begin to feel helpless. Hair loss and balding can create severe emotional distress, triggering higher levels of stress and depression in individuals experiencing the effects of alopecia. For many, hair loss triggers an emotional response that leads to feelings of low self-esteem and embarrassment, potentially causing more hair loss in the process.
Luckily, there are many medical treatment options available to patients experiencing the adverse effects of alopecia. Individuals who wish to avoid adverse effects or unwanted symptoms from harsher prescriptions can turn to alternative therapy to find relief. Medical marijuana is known as a valid form of treatment for both autoimmune disorders and stress management.
Alopecia can arise from a myriad of root causes and consequentially afflicts patients in different ways. Patients with alopecia can experience varying degrees of side effects and symptoms, with the affected area and severity of the hair loss differing from patient to patient. There are several distinct types of alopecia, including:
Alopecia can occur at any age and affects both men and women. For some patients, the onset of this illness can be sudden and may seem to arise without a cause. Even though alopecia does not significantly affect one’s physical health, the psychological effects of hair loss can be devastating. Luckily, there are many medications — including medical marijuana — currently on the market that offer patients a way to manage their symptoms.
Alopecia typically occurs in response to stress or immune system issues, causing the body to attack hair growth follicles that lead to thinning and balding. To prevent these issues from occurring or worsening, many patients seek a form of medication that targets anxiety or autoimmune diseases. However, these prescriptions may initiate potentially adverse effects.
Medical marijuana is a treatment option that offers patients a way to lessen their stress and stabilize their immune system, solving the cause of hair loss and resolving alopecia issues. But how does it work?
Marijuana possesses more than 85 natural compounds called cannabinoids. These cannabinoids play a crucial role in ensuring the proper regulation of the endocannabinoid system — a vital bodily system responsible for controlling many of the body’s daily functions.
In patients with autoimmune disorders, the endocannabinoid system may contain receptors and endocannabinoids that are irregular or unable to perform their required tasks effectively. Cannabis stimulates the endocannabinoid system by binding to its numerous receptors and stimulating positive results.
Marijuana is also known to induce feelings of calmness and relaxation. Because stress can play an influential role in alopecia, alleviating any feelings of anxiety or excessive worrying is crucial, as well. Research studies support evidence that cannabis products rich in CBD can significantly decrease levels of anxiety. Aside from the other substantial benefits boasted by medical marijuana, patients can enjoy less stress and potential relief from their autoimmune disorders when using cannabis, too.
Due to the growing acceptance of medical cannabis, many health professionals are now willing to prescribe marijuana to alleviate the symptoms of various health issues and complications. Alopecia is a serious condition that can create feelings of anxiety, depression and more. Don’t suffer from the symptoms alone — reach out to a doctor in your state instead.
Trained medical professionals can connect you with the resources you need and help you apply for your state’s medical marijuana program. Remember to schedule regular visits with your physician so they can assist you in finding the right strain, method and dosage for your condition, symptoms and lifestyle preferences.
For more information about how cannabis can be used to treat alopecia areata , check out our resources: