Does Smoking Weed Cause Acne? 3 Reasons Blazing (Might) Cause Breakouts

does smoking weed cause acne

Alright, Cheech & Chong, we’ve got a doozy for you today. For decades, people have debated the health benefits and drawbacks of smoking green. So if you’re worried about how chiefin’ might impact your skin, you’re not alone. 

While there isn’t a ton of research on the subject, there are some potential links between marijuana and acne. Whether you’re an occasional toker or a regular “wake-and-baker,” it pays to know what impact your smoking habits could have on your skin. So let’s dive into why cannabis might cause breakouts. 

We’ll also explore some other potential causes of acne (hint: it usually has nothing to do with weed) and a few tips for maintaining healthy skin while blazin’ up (and munchin’ down).


Does Smoking Weed Cause Acne?

The answer is, unfortunately, inconclusive. While there are correlations between the two, research has yet to determine if there is a causal link between smoking marijuana and breakouts.

When it comes to inhaling THC (the psychoactive component of weed), there have been several studies that show there is a connection between consumption and the development of acne. The answer is not necessarily due to smoking weed, but more so the ancillary effects marijuana has on the skin, like causing skin inflammation or its effects on sebum, the oils your body naturally produces, which can clog pores and lead to the presence of pimples and blackheads. 

On the other hand, many of us are now familiar with CBD. This cannabinoid does NOT get you high and has been credited with significantly reducing inflammation and itchiness of the skin. 

Although there’s no definitive answer on the topic, there’s enough information to suggest a possible link between the physical act of smoking and the increased risk of inflammation. 

3 Reasons Smoking Weed Could Aggravate Your Acne

Here are a few reasons why marijuana use could make acne breakouts worse.

1. Hormonal Changes 

One reason why smoking weed could aggravate your acne is due to hormonal changes. 

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other cannabinoids found in cannabis have been shown to affect hormone levels, specifically testosterone levels. Testosterone is known to stimulate sebum production in the sebaceous glands, which are located in the skin and produce oil to lubricate and protect it. 

If your oil production gets thrown out of whack, it can play a role in the development of acne. 

2. Inflammation

Good ole Mary J, when inhaled while smoking, can cause inflammation internally and externally. This inflammatory reaction can result in redness and swelling as well as increased sensitivity of the skin. 

This inflammation can lead to breakouts due to clogged pores caused by sebum production from overactive oil glands in the skin. 

3. The Munchies 

The only thing less conclusive than the science of smoking weed and acne is the science of your diet and its impact on skin health. But one thing that anyone who has ever enjoyed a nicely rolled joint after a long week’s work knows is the experience I’m about to share with you. 

You’re finally relaxing after a long week’s work when your stomach decides to make its opinion known. It’s starving, like the type of starving Sarah McLaughlin used to ask for your money to cure, and if it does not receive copious amounts of food immediately, it will die. 

So what do you do? You indulge… by taking a trip around the corner to a local establishment we like to call Taco Bell. 

The result? The wrappers and drippings of 2 Cheesy Gordita Crunches, a Chicken Quesadilla (extra spicy ranch of course), a Crunchwrap Supreme, a Baja Blast, and one, no two, bags of Trollis for good measure, are strewn about your floor, and a gnarly stomach ache that lasts until the following evening ensues.

Now, any sane, non-marijuana-induced mind would reason that the meal I outlined above is not suitable for your body, skin, or soul…jk, it’s definitely good for the soul, and we tend to agree.

Consuming high-sugar, high-salt, and high-fat foods have been linked to increased breakouts. 

For what it’s worth, from my not-so-peer-reviewed studies, I’ve always found that I’m more inclined to break out when I eat like shit, so this one stacks up in my big book of personal science. 

Does Cannabis Have Any Benefits For Your Skin?

As much as we love the occasional puff-puff-pass, it seems that when it comes to skincare, smoking marijuana may not be your silver bullet. But let’s focus on the good news. Topical CBD might be worth the shot! 

1. Stress Relief 

Anyone who has ever rushed home to smoke a doob after being chewed out by their boss knows it’s stress-relieving powers, but this extends beyond just smoking. CBD use has been shown to provide stress relief as well. And the effects of stress on acne-prone skin are well known. So chill out…maybe your skin will take note.

However, remember that managing stress isn't a one-size-fits-all approach, and what works for one person may not work for another. For more tips on maintaining mental clarity, check out our blog on how to unplug.

2. Controls Sebum Production

Marijuana has been known to control sebum production - the oily substance secreted by the skin’s sebaceous glands which can contribute to acne, when excessively produced. There’s hope for us oily skin folks! 

3. CBD Has Anti-fungal Properties 

There has been some evidence to suggest that CBD has anti-fungal properties, but we always recommend working with your dermatologist if you are dealing with any sort of fungal infection. 

4. CBD May Decrease Inflammation

CBD works by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which helps to regulate many physiological processes, including inflammation.

While more research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms by which CBD reduces inflammation and its potential benefits, current evidence suggests that it may be a promising natural treatment option for those with inflammatory conditions. 

5. CBD May Regulate Lipid Production

There has been some evidence to show that CBD helps regulate lipid production in the body, but more research is needed to understand its effects fully. 

Don't Blame Mary Jane For Your Breakouts

In reality, cannabis isn't the culprit behind your breakouts; instead, focus on lifestyle and other external factors that can contribute to skin issues. Keeping a balanced diet and a regular skincare routine can help you maintain a healthier, sexier complexion. 

For an easy fix, try Revival by PrettyBoy — the perfect 1-step moisturizer to help balance and nourish oily, acne-prone skin. It features Niacinamide, a jack-of-all-trades ingredient shown to reduce inflammation, improve skin texture, and protect against environmental damage (like the type your face endures when hotboxing the ole’ Honda Civic). 

Head on over and grab your bottle today! Your skin will thank you. 

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