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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? Marijuana & Skincare

Written by Stryx Collaborator — July 29, 2020

Listen up, gents. We know how it feels to look in the mirror and see some red, swollen acne staring back at you. For those of you who like to engage in the occasional use of recreational marijuana, you might be wondering. does smoking weed cause acne?

As one of the premiere providers for men’s makeup, we’re here to debunk every myth surrounding marijuana and acne. We’ll explain the science behind how marijuana affects your body, the different effects that come with smoking marijuana, and finally, how to properly conceal and treat your acne if you have any. Let’s get started!

Can Marijuana Cause Acne?

There is no evidence that suggests a direct evidence between marijuana and acne. However, marijuana use could potentially make existing acne worse. This is due to the fact that marijuana can affect other parts of the body which directly contribute to acne outbreaks.

Why Might Marijuana Cause Acne?

Acne develops when hair follicles on the skin get clogged up with dead skin cells and oil. While it’s mostly prevalent with teenagers going through puberty, it can affect anyone at any age.

And even though marijuana use doesn’t necessarily increase oil production on the skin, it has the chance to alter contributing factors that can make acne outbreaks worse. Marijuana use might cause acne because marijuana can change hormonal levels, increase appetite, and cause extra stress. If any of these apply to you, don’t worry! We’ll be going over each one specifically.

Changes in Hormonal Levels

The reason teenagers are more likely to develop acne is due to an increase in testosterone levels during puberty. One study suggests that marijuana usage increases a person’s testosterone levels, which could, in turn, increase acne production.

Marijuana, and more specifically THC, impact the hypothalamus portion of the brain, which is in charge of connecting the nervous system to the endocrine system. And the endocrine system is what’s responsible for your hormonal levels. So when you feel moody, you can blame your endocrine system.

This relationship is why marijuana affects your mood and pain levels. When there’s a change in hormonal levels, sebaceous glands can enlarge and begin to produce more sebum. And when there’s an overproduction of sebum, this sebum can get trapped in hair follicles which then cause those annoying, red bumps that we like to call acne.

Increased Appetite/Munchies

You’ve likely heard how smoking marijuana gives you the munchies and how stoned folks are prone to eating an entire bag of Doritos in one sitting. This is due to the fact that when you smoke weed, your appetite may increase.

The reason for this is that the chemicals in marijuana impact certain parts of the brain related to appetite. For example, it alters the basal ganglia, which enhances eating pleasure. It also impacts the limbic forebrain, which increases food palatability. This is why stoners are more likely to reach for sweet and savory snacks because the sensations of eating them is enhanced when the brain’s chemicals are altered this way.

Increased appetites means that people are more likely to choose foods that are high in fat, sugar, and carbohydrates, all of which can raise blood sugar levels. Again, more research is necessary, but a poor diet has certainly been linked to an increase in acne.

How to Control the Munchies

There are several ways to handle these munchie cravings. If you enjoy the recreational use of marijuana from time to time, then you should have a big meal beforehand so that you’re not as hungry later.

You can also stave off your appetite by keeping yourself busy with other activities that are safe to do while under the influence, such as playing video games or painting. You may also want to try a different strain of marijuana if one in particular seems to always make you hungry.

If you partake in marijuana from time to time, then it can be a good idea to keep temptation out of your house. The next time you go grocery shopping, avoid unhealthy snacks. If you don’t have those Oreos that you love to snack on, then you won’t have to face the temptation of scarfing down an entire package.

Smoking

Smoking cigarettes has a negative impact on people’s skin, and it’s possible for marijuana to have a similar effect. Research indicates smoking tobacco increases the time it takes for pimples to heal and can even worsen inflammation. This can lead to some users switching over to vaping or just quitting upfront.

Marijuana smoke could have a similar effect but again, more research is necessary. If you’re concerned about the smoke either way, then there are alternative ways of consuming marijuana, such as edibles.

Does vaping cause acne? We made a post about that as well

Increased Stress

For some, marijuana can be a way to alleviate stress and calm your nerves. For others, it can be similar to alcohol and instead, be an enhancer for anxiety. In states where marijuana is not legal, the fear of getting caught with marijuana alone is enough to build up the stress which may lead to an outbreak. For some, that specific strain of marijuana may bring about inducing effects which can cause the anxiety.

Stress alone can’t cause acne , but it has been known to be a contributing factor. While marijuana may not worsen pimples, the underlying stress that may come with the marijuana can certainly have an impact.

How to Deal With Acne

Credit: The Fashionisto

While marijuana may not have a direct effect on your acne outbreaks, you may still have acne that is present on your face. And here at Stryx, we believe in helping you develop healthy and clean skin, which is why we’re going to show you how to deal with acne.

Conceal Pre-existing Acne

It’s pretty tough to get rid of already-existing acne right away. There’s no secret formula that can make them vanish within minutes, but one way we can keep acne at bay is by concealing it. Concealing pre-existing acne is extremely easy and will only take a few minutes of your day.

Grab your favorite concealer acne, and apply about half-a-fingertip length of concealer to every red spot on your face. Then, using a patting motion, spread the concealer evenly across your skin until the concealer has blended in with your natural skin tone.

By doing so, you’ll cover your pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, and other acne within minutes. You can also use your concealer to cover other skin problems like blemishes or dark circles under your eyes.

If you’re looking for a great concealer at an affordable price, check out Stryx’s concealer pen. The concealer’s pen-like build allows it to be taken anywhere and with twist-click mechanism, you’ll hear a click each time you turn the pen to signal when you’ve pushed out enough concealer to use.

We’re currently rated as one of the best makeup products for men, with a 4.9/5 rating and a 99% recommendation rate out of the thousands of male customers that have used our product. If you’re looking for an affordable, portable top-of-the line concealer that only takes seconds to hide your acne, then check out the Stryx concealer pen today.

Develop a Nighttime Routine to Prevent Acne

I cannot stress the importance of a nighttime routine. At the end of the day, your face has been battered by dirt, bacteria, and maybe even the concealer you’ve used to hide pre-existing acne. If you don’t clean away the dirt, bacteria, and makeup, then they can clog your pores, leading to inflammation and breakouts.

That’s why it’s important to develop a nighttime routine to prevent acne. Here’s our suggestion. Start by removing your concealer. If you’re using a Stryx concealer, then you won’t need any type of makeup remover. Simply wash your wash and be done with it.

Next, we recommend using a gel cleanser to help get that deep clean so that each pore is thoroughly washed of dirt, oil, grime, and yes, even makeup. We recommend checking out our Stryx gel cleanser since the Tea Tree Leaf Oil, Aloe, and Vitamine B within our product will not only prevent stripping of your natural oils, but also leave your skin replenished with the proper nutrients.

After you’ve given your face a deep wash, we like to use moisturizers so as to make sure that our skin isn’t dry. Moisturizers work by creating a seal on the surface of the skin which then prevents water from escaping.

This helps keep your face from developing dry skin and in turn, prevents the overproduction of oils that would help compensate for said dry skin.

With only two products, you can develop an effective yet simple nighttime routine that can keep pesky acne at bay. But unfortunately, sometimes even if we don’t want acne to show up, it does, which is why we always like to keep our trusty concealer pen on hand!

Side Effects of Smoking Weed

Marijuana may not cause acne, but there are other side effects to be aware of. If you notice any of the following happening to you, then it may be a good idea to pull back on how much marijuana you’re using.

Increased Anxiety

Many people smoke weed to try to calm themselves, but in actuality, marijuana usage can actually increase anxiety. There are two main active ingredients in weed: THC and CBD.

THC is the psychoactive component of marijuana, and it’s associated with increased feelings of anxiety. If you notice heightened anxiety when you smoke weed, then you may want to stick with a strain that only contains CBD or just small amounts of THC.

The relationship between anxiety and marijuana use seems to differ from one person to the next. Some report feeling calmer when high while others feel more paranoid after lighting up a joint. Be aware of your mental state, and if you frequently find yourself feeling worse after smoking, then you may want to find another way to unwind.

Increased Heart Rate

High levels of THC have also been associated with an increased heart rate. Excessive THC consumption can increase your resting heart rate by as much as 20 to 50 beats per minute . Sticking with just CBD may be best for users who already have heart conditions.

Studies also show that synthetic cannabinoids, like “Spice,” can also have a negative impact on users’ hearts. They’ve been linked to various medical emergencies, such as low blood pressure, kidney failure, and abnormal heart rhythms. Therefore, if you’re going to use marijuana, make sure you’re using the right kind.

Short-Term Memory Problems

THC works by attaching itself to receptors in the brain responsible for memory formation. It impacts the cerebral cortex, amygdala, and the hippocampus, which are all necessary for forming new memories.

As a result, users may have issues with thinking, which is why you shouldn’t drive or operate machinery while high. It’s still unknown if long-term marijuana usage creates persistent memory issues.

Can Secondhand Marijuana Affect Your Skin?

Being around others who smoke weed even if you yourself are not smoking can lead to what’s known as a “contact high.” However, there’s no evidence that secondhand marijuana smoke will affect your skin. If you’re really worried, then it’s recommended to stick with CBD if you want to relax.

Can Edibles Affect Your Skin?

There’s also no scientific evidence to suggest edibles will affect your skin. You may hear anecdotal evidence of people who smoke weed regularly who also have bad acne. In these instances, the acne is likely a separate phenomenon from the weed usage. You should never drive or go to work while high, but you don’t have to worry about marijuana impacting your skin at all until scientific research suggests otherwise.

People have always wondered: does smoking weed cause acne? We're here to debunk every question you might have about marijuana and skincare, the side effects of weed, and how to treat acne.