Since the Food Standards Agency (FSA) regulations have come into play in the UK, global cannabis brands have been more focused than ever on CBD cosmetics (and other cannabinoids besides), due to the fact that this form of product doesn’t fall under such strict guidelines. Even so, that interest has primarily been poured into skincare products, filling the shelves with CBD moisturizers, CBD face oils, CBD body butter and just about any other beauty product you can imagine.
Apart from that is, haircare.
While hemp seed oil is used in many shampoos and conditioners, there’s still a surprising lack of CBD haircare. Why this is the case is somewhat of a mystery because recent studies have revealed some pretty remarkable benefits to applying cannabinoids to your hair and scalp.
If you’re thinking outside the box and want to add something to your cannabinoid range that stands out from the crowd and is possible to sell with ease on a global scale, this could very well be what you’ve been looking for…
The hair growth product market is a reasonably gargantuan one to tap into. In 2021 the global hair growth products market attained a value of nearly USD 7.82 billion, and it’s still on a steady incline, with market interest reaching consumers around the world, particularly in North America, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa, Europe, and the Asia Pacific. Combine this with the equally thriving international cannabis industry, and you’re onto a big winner.
But, while the interest is definitely there, what does the science say? Will adding cannabinoids to haircare products actually provide any benefit to the user?
Recent studies would indicate that yes, it absolutely can.
One study, published in 2021, examined the results of 35 men and women applying a preparation of ultra-pulverized fine powder of the whole plant, containing 10.78% CBD, and 0.21% THC, infused into a lanolin base paste with natural Emu oil carrier.
The participants applied 3-4mg CBD oil directly to their scalp once a day for 6 months. The preparation used was an ultra-pulverized fine powder of high CBD cannabis Sativa (hemp) flower, containing 10.78% CBD, and 0.21% THC, infused into a lanolin base paste with a natural Emu oil carrier. Each participant was given a 2 oz jar (containing 1000 mg of the power, or 108 mg of CBD) to use over the course of a month, roughly equating to 3-4mg CBD per application. The study reviewed results after once daily use for 6 months.
By the end of the study, the hair count had increased 93.5%.
All participants had hair regrowth akin to results seen from popular hair growth products ‘finasteride’ and ‘5% minoxidil once daily foam’ (Rogaine). The main difference? Topical CBD caused no adverse side effects, whereas the other two products may cause an impressive list of them, including chest pain, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, unwanted facial hair growth, sudden weight gain, depressed mood, changes in blood pressure, rapid heartbeat and more.
There are also promising findings from topical application of THCV and CBDV, which are thought to stimulate hair regrowth using Endocannabinoid System (ECS) receptors that are found on hair follicles.
The aromatic compounds in cannabis may also possess some potential for boosting hair growth, so a terpene blend could be a great addition to a CBD haircare regime and would provide all the fragrance you need, too! (For more on Cannabis Terpenes see here)
Peppermint oil, which like cannabis, contains Caryophyllene, Limonene, Pinene, Terpinene and Germacrene, among other terpenes such as menthol, has been shown to dramatically increase hair growth in mice. After shaving all fur and then applying 3% peppermint oil (PEO) for 4 weeks, the PEO mice were found to have 307% more hair growth than the control groups, which had saline and jojoba oil applied instead.
The peppermint oil group was also compared to results yielded by 3% minoxidil. By week 4, PEO showed hair growth of around 92%, while minoxidil only achieved 55%.
Although results like these are fascinating, creating a cannabinoid formulation that works involves much more than just sticking some CBD into shampoo. In fact, as so many studies looking at the therapeutic potential of cannabis have shown, cannabinoids (and their actions) are very dose dependent. Not only that, but the effects are often biphasic, meaning they’ll produce one action at one dose, and potentially the opposite at another dose.
While concerning (you certainly don’t want a hair regrowth product to cause hair loss!) if the dosage and mechanisms can be fully understood and utilized, this opens up possibilities for hair removal products, too, designed to be applied to areas of unwanted hair growth.
Interested in creating your own range of cannabinoid hair products? From CBD hair serums with terpene infusions to whole plant cannabis shampoos and conditioners, we’d love to hear your ideas and help bring them to life.
The term "biphasic properties" refers to the fact that the effects of a drug can be different at different doses. In the case of cannabis, the biphasic properties refer to the fact that low and high doses of cannabis compounds can produce opposite or bidirectional effects.
For example, low doses of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) may produce calming effects, while higher doses may produce anxiety or paranoia. Similarly, low doses of CBD (cannabidiol) may have an anxiolytic effect (reduce anxiety), while high doses may cause sedation or drowsiness.
The biphasic properties of cannabis compounds mean that the optimal dosage varies depending on the individual, the condition being treated, and the desired effects. Therefore, it is important to start with a low dose and gradually increase the dosage as needed, while monitoring for any adverse effects.
Understanding the biphasic properties of cannabis compounds is important for using cannabis safely and effectively.