Cannabis Use among Patients with Alopecia Areata: A Cross-Sectional Survey Study

Int J Trichology. 2022 Jan-Feb;14(1):21-24. doi: 10.4103/ijt.ijt_96_21. Epub 2022 Feb 1.


Importance: Little is known about cannabis use among patients with alopecia areata (AA). These patients often experience significant psychosocial burden and may seek alternative therapies beyond that of traditional medical treatments, such as cannabis.

Objective: To characterize cannabis use among patients with AA.

Design: This was a cross-sectional study conducted from March 9, 2021, to March 22, 2021, using a web-based survey distributed to adult patients with AA using the National AA Foundation's email listserv and social media platforms.

Results: 1,087 participants completed the survey (completion rate: 88.1%). Most participants were female (n = 870, 83.3%) and Caucasian (n = 771, 73.8%), with a mean age of 47.6 ± 15.5 years. 65.9% (n = 689) of participants with AA had a history of cannabis use and among those, 51.8% (n = 357) were current cannabis users. The most common reason for cannabis use among current users was for AA-related symptoms (n = 199, 55.7%), with the greatest perceived improvement in symptoms of stress (n = 261, 73.1%) and anxiety, sadness, and depression (n = 234, 65.6%). 80.4% (n = 287) indicated that cannabis had no impact on their hair loss.

Conclusion: Cannabis use is common among patients with AA and is often used to alleviate the psychosocial symptoms related to AA, despite the lack of perceived improvement in hair regrowth.

Keywords: Alopecia areata; cannabis; hair loss; marijuana; quality of life.