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Can Smoking Marijuana Create Skin Problems?

As marijuana is increasingly being legalized for both medical and recreational use, there are many aspects to discover about the plant’s effects on your health. This includes your skin, the body’s largest organ.

There’s some talk online about marijuana aggravating oily skin and causing acne, while others claim that smoking it can benefit your skin.

The bottom line is there isn’t enough scientific evidence available to establish links between smoking marijuana and your skin health. So far, research into any skin benefits of marijuana have looked at topical uses only.

Let’s cover the claims about smoking marijuana and its effects on the skin, both good and bad.

Marijuana contains a variety of naturally occurring compounds that primarily affect your central nervous system (which includes the brain).

The plant itself has increasingly gained a reputation for its cannabidiol (CBD) content, which may affect your brain but doesn’t get you high. Another chemical called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the substance that does get users high.

All marijuana contains THC, but CBD, as a derivative, doesn’t have THC. However, CBD oil production currently isn’t regulated, so quality and concentration likely varies.

Traditional marijuana has hallucinogenic effects, which are attributed to THC. It can also cause side effects that mostly affect your brain, lungs, and heart. Another side effect is dry mouth.

However, there’s no concrete proof that marijuana can dry out your skin and perhaps lead to acne and other skin care concerns .

It’s well-established that smoking tobacco products such as cigarettes can lead to long-term skin damage.

You may notice that people who smoke tend to have more fine lines and wrinkles compared to those who don’t. This may be due to the effect that tobacco has on collagen content in the skin. Collagen is the natural protein in your skin responsible for elasticity and plumpness.

Still, it’s not clear whether these same effects apply to smoking marijuana. While cannabis itself isn’t considered carcinogenic, the smoke from both tobacco and possibly marijuana contain carcinogens, with tobacco smoke having the most-established negative effects.

On the flip side, the marijuana plant itself has been found to have anti-inflammatory components .

There are conflicting claims on the internet about marijuana and your skin, none of which are based on scientific studies.

Some suggest marijuana can potentially benefit your skin and keep sebum at bay. Sebum is the oil produced from sebaceous glands that can contribute to acne. Others claim that it can make your skin age more rapidly and perhaps worsen inflammatory skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, and rosacea. A lot of the confusion has to do with the way marijuana is used.

One possible benefit of smoking marijuana is its ability to reduce the risk of certain cancers. This may include skin cancer .

Other preliminary studies show that the anti-inflammatory effects of marijuana could help certain skin diseases , but more clinical trials are needed.

The truth is that researchers now have more opportunities to study the effects of marijuana on skin health, partly thanks to the legalization of the substance in some states.

As more studies are conducted on marijuana, the more concrete clinical evidence we will have on its effects on the skin.

When considering marijuana for skin health, there also seems to be more evidence that topical uses of cannabis, rather than smoking it, may benefit the skin. “Topical” here means applied directly to the skin.

One review suggested that cannabinoids in marijuana, when applied topically, may produce anti-inflammatory and anti-itching effects for eczema.

Another study of topical cannabis found that cannabinoids “show promise” to help treat acne due to its anti-inflammatory effects.

While being around others who smoke marijuana may infrequently lead to a “contact high” from THC, there’s no evidence showing that secondhand marijuana smoke can affect the skin.

It isn’t well-known what the side effects of inhaling marijuana smoke are, so it’s unclear what the long-term risks associated with secondhand smoke from marijuana might be.

Very little research has been done to determine whether smoking marijuana can lead to skin problems like acne. Here's what we know so far.

Does Smoking Weed Cause Acne?

First off, let’s be clear: smoking anything is unhealthy for your skin. Smoke is high in hydrocarbons, which damage collagen production on contact with the skin. That means that even second-hand marijuana smoke can irritate the skin and cause acne flare-ups. Free radicals are also found in massive amounts when marijuana leaves are burned, and inhaling that smoke floods the body with millions of toxins that isn’t the best for the complexion.

Will I Break Out After Smoking Weed?

Despite persistent rumors that THC increases testosterone levels in young adults, there is no evidence that the cannabinoids in marijuana are directly responsible for acne flare-ups at any age. Patients who vape, consume edibles or apply topicals should see no major skin irritations even if they consume regularly. If you’re concerned about the effects smoking flowers can have on your skin, keep an eye on Revolutionary Clinic’s deals page for discounts on concentrates and edibles.

If Not Marijuana, What is Causing My Acne?

So the chemistry points to a conclusion that cannabis doesn’t cause acne. Physiology, however, might have something very different to say. THC promotes a strong appetite and reduced inhibitions, leading to what medical marijuana patients affectionately call “the munchies.” There is a strong link between high glycemic index foods and acne, and those same foods are most often consumed while under the influence of THC heavy cannabis.

Stress is a potential side effect of overconsumption of THC in some people. That burst of anxiety can take hours to subside, and during that time the body’s stress levels can cause acne inflammation.

Since these effects are brought on by cannabis, it could be argued that marijuana may be indirectly responsible for some people’s acne issues. But there’re obvious solutions to these triggers: Stock up on healthy snacks while you’re waiting for your cannabis delivery and consume your cannabis responsibly. Start low, go slow, and you won’t find yourself in a paranoid state.

Can Smoking Marijuana Cure My Acne?

Aha! This question is more fun because there’s a much clearer answer.

And that answer is ‘maybe.’

Have More Marijuana-related Questions? Ask Us!

Not conclusive, but provable. While the question of cannabis causing pimples breaks down into a bit of a philosophical debate about causality, the question of its benefits can be concluded with just a bit more research. Preliminary findings show that cannabichromene (one of the cannabinoids found in marijuana) may suppress excessive lipid production in the skin’s glands. That, paired with cannabis’ anti-inflammatory properties makes marijuana a potential inhibitor of acne. The staff at Revolutionary Clinics is carefully monitoring the market, so when a truly effective, cannabis-based topical that reduce acne hits the shelves, we will be the first to carry it for you!

Disclaimer: The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from healthcare practitioners. Please consult your healthcare professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act require this notice.

Do you suffer from acne and are worried that if you smoke weed it could get worse or you might break out? If so, click here to get the truth about marijuana and skin conditions.