Alopecia Areata

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Alopecia Areata and Medical Cannabis Treatment​

Alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease causing the loss of body hair, affects nearly 6.8 million Americans. The condition does not discriminate when it comes to age; sufferers of all ages live with the fear of losing their hair. Noted as a polygenic disease, in which both parent’s genes combined cause the condition, alopecia may also be caused by environmental conditions. With no known cure for the condition, millions of Americans suffer without answers. The good news is CBD reportedly helps treat the disease.

Types of Alopecia Areata 

There are three forms of the condition: alopecia areata, alopecia totalis, and alopecia universalis. Alopecia areata is the most common and least intrusive form of the disease, only attacking small sections of the scalp or body, which causes coin-sized hair loss. Alopecia totalis is when all hair on the scalp is lost, and alopecia universalis is when there is a total loss of hair all over the body. 

What is promising in all three forms of the condition is that active hair follicles remain alive with the ability to grow hair back when in remission. There are several symptoms of alopecia areata, beginning with small oval clumps of hair loss on any part of the body. Other signs include hair loss on only one side of the scalp and rows of tiny dents on fingernails. 

Though the signs and symptoms of the alopecia areata, alopecia totalis, and alopecia universalis are similar, treatment is not, especially for adolescents and adults. When there is more than 50% of hair loss due to the condition, oral and injectable medications are required, which sometimes have adverse side effects.

Alopecia Areata and Cannabinoids 

While there is no known cure for Alopecia areata, and present treatments for the condition can be harsh, finding CBD helpful is promising for the millions who suffer from it. One specific study in Free Radical Biology and Medicine reports how cannabidiol is proven to alleviate oxidative stress and inflammation associated with the condition. 

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder that may be treated with CBD, which has reportedly helped with strengthening the immune system. Furthermore, hair loss is connected to inflammation, which CBD reportedly also helps heal with its anti-inflammatory qualities. The CBD magazine Hempedia reports some success with hair loss sufferers seeing regrowth after using topical CBD oil. It also suggests taking CBD orally. 

Lastly, CBD is chock-full of amino and fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamins, all vital for hair growth.  Amino acids assist healthy red blood cells that supply oxygen to hair follicles, while fatty acids reportedly promote blood flow to the scalp. Antioxidants protect from free radical damage, and vitamins nourish new hair. Even more, CBD assists in regulating sebum, which is the oil that helps protect the scalp and skin. 

Like so many medical conditions, alopecia areata is yet another that shows successful treatment with CBD. As CBD continues to help promote a healthy scalp and skin, growing research to come is promising. It’s important to avoid topical products containing THC, as this may slow down hair growth.

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Content Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Michele Ross, PhD
Content Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Michele Ross, PhD

Written By: Angela Underwood
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