The endocannabinoid system and trichotillomania: A promising target for treatment?

Jon E. Grant, Brian L. Odlaug, Samuel R. Chamberlain

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Trichotillomania is characterized by the repetitive pulling out of one's hair leading to hair loss and functional impairment. Understanding the pathophysiology of trichotillomania is one approach to the eventual development of more effective treatment options for this disorder. The current body of neuroscience research in trichotillomania is limited, but the available evidence of disorders arguably related to trichotillomania (for example, Tourette's syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder) offers hints of possible mechanisms underlying repetitive motor behaviors. Preliminary research supports the possible use of δ9-tetrahydro-cannabinol in the reduction of tics and obsessive-compulsive symptoms. In addition, in an open-label pharmacotherapy study a cannabinoid agonist was effective in reducing hair pulling behavior in trichotillomania. Taken together, these findings suggest that pharmacological modulation of the endocannabinoid system may be a promising avenue to help reduce the compulsive motoric aspect of trichotillomania.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCannabinoids in Neurologic and Mental Disease
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9780124171244
ISBN (Print)9780124170414
StatePublished - Jan 21 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2015 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Cannabinoid
  • Compulsive
  • Impulsive
  • Motor system
  • Pharmacotherapy
  • Trichotillomania


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