Marijuana could indirectly cause acne or aggravate it by creating hormone imbalances and inflammation in your body. However, there’s currently no scientific evidence that directly links marijuana consumption to acne.
Alright, Cheech & Chong, we’ve got a doozy for you today. For decades, people have debated the health benefits and drawbacks of smoking marijuana. So if you’re worried about how chiefing 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 the potential side effects of your smoking habits, especially when it comes to your skin health.
In this article, you’ll learn how smoking weed can (potentially) cause acne, whether cannabis has any benefits for your skin, and share a few tips for maintaining healthy skin while blazin’ up (and munchin’ down).
But, before we get into it, please remember to consult a dermatologist before making any serious decisions about your skin.
Does Smoking Weed Cause Acne?
Research has yet to find a direct link between marijuana and acne. However, there are three factors that may indirectly cause acne breakouts if you use marijuana:
- Hormone imbalances: THC and other cannabinoids can increase your testosterone levels, which in turn leads to excess sebum production
- Skin inflammation: Smoking marijuana increases inflammation, which can make it harder for your body to fight acne
- Increased appetite: Using marijuana often triggers cravings for junk food, which isn’t ideal for acne-prone skin
There isn’t much research examining the link between cannabis use and acne. However, inhaling THC (the psychoactive component of weed), could contribute to the development or aggravation 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.
Bottom line: 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 Might Cause 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.
Inhaling marijuana smoke (or any smoke for that matter), 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. Increased Appetite
One of the most common side effects of marijuana is an increased appetite, also known as “the munchies.” Unfortunately, eating foods that are full of fat, sugar, and refined carbohydrates can spike your blood sugar levels and cause inflammation, which leads to excessively oily skin. And we all know oily skin is a breeding ground for acne.
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, 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 Secondhand Marijuana Smoke Affect Your Skin?
There’s no evidence that secondhand marijuana smoke can lead to skin conditions like acne. Although being around others people smoking marijuana can lead to a “contact high,” that lingering smoke isn’t going to make you break out.
Do Marijuana Edibles Affect Your Skin?
There’s no evidence that eating marijuana-infused products like gummies or chocolates can cause acne or affect your skin in other ways. However, if you have a habit of indulging in junk food when you consume marijuana, acne could be the consequence of your poor diet decisions.
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 levels 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 Antifungal Properties
There has been some evidence to suggest that CBD has antifungal 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 scientific 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
It’s highly unlikely that cannabis use is the culprit behind your breakouts (or any skin problem for that matter). 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 one-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.