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.
How Does Cannabis Benefit Your Skin?
Of the many organs of the human body, there is none larger than skin. It literally wraps our entire organism, and it works in ways that are indicative of the overall state of the body. If there’s a medical issue going on inside us, there is a good chance that our skin will manifest some symptoms. For example, skin dehydration is one of the most common illnesses that affect this organ. It can often be triggered by congestion or other common health issues.
However, there are many skin illnesses that can’t be dealt with as easily as dehydration, such as skin dryness. Although it can be medically treated to a certain degree, someone who is born with dry skin will always have that condition. Cannabis offers many benefits to skin treatment, such as anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and soothing properties.
Since medical research is undergoing breakthroughs daily, is there a possibility that cannabis may be used to treat dehydrated and dry skin?
What Is the Difference Between Dry and Dehydrated Skin?
As we explained before, dry and dehydrated skin are two different conditions that affect the largest organ in the human body. Most people tend to mistake the two, since their effects are relatively similar. But it’s important to know that dehydrated skin is merely a condition in which the skin needs water, and it’s caused mostly by external factors, whereas dry skin is a genetic illness, which means it can’t be successfully cured.
Too much sun exposure, for instance, could lead to skin dehydration. If you happen to live in an area where the weather is particularly dry and hot, there is a chance that you might develop this condition as well. Some body-types have more sensitive skin than others, and are more vulnerable to becoming dehydrated if they use certain skin products, such as makeup. On the other hand, diet also influences whether your skin becomes dehydrated or not. People who consume a lot of caffeine have shown a consistent tendency towards developing skin dehydration.
There are many ways that CBD — one of the major components of cannabis — could help people with these complications. Both skin dryness and dehydration could be treated, as we will elaborate below.
How CBD Can Help With Skin Problems
One of the most common methods to treat skin problems is hemp oil, which is a treatment recommended by almost every doctor in the United States. Dermatologists such as Dr. Jeanette Jacknin, who is a member of the doctors’ board of California, hold hemp oil in high regard. Hemp oil has many beneficial components, such as Omega-3s and Omega-6s. These compounds are very effective in treating dehydrated and dry skin.
However, Dr. Jacknin warns that this solution is not without flaws. In contrast with CBD, hemp oil is less effective as an anti-inflammatory. In some cases of dermatitis, especially the ones related to acne and seborrheic skin problems, CBD has been the most effective treatment. Her conclusion is that, given how CBD has successfully treated other skin issues, it might prove the better alternative for treating dry and dehydrated skin.
Should You Go with an Isolate or a Full Spectrum Product?
When it comes to the choice of which one to get, Dr. Jacknin recommends you go with a full-spectrum product. She argues that isolates cover fewer benefits. Therefore, even if they are more expensive, full-spectrum products are still the best choice.
Dr. Jacknin says that full-spectrum products are better since they have all the other cannabinoids and terpenes which isolates lack. She considers that the effects of these components are still unknown because there is still not enough scientific data available on them. This particular phenomenon is known as the “Entourage Effect”, and it consists of a synergistic interaction between cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and fatty acids found in cannabis. The results of this process, in particular, are still unknown, and they could potentially bring great health benefits.
How The Benefits of Cannabis Found Their Way Into the Beauty Industry
Nowadays, almost every skincare product on the market makes use of cannabis extracts. Professionals of the beauty industry have found that cannabis components have many anti-aging properties that work well in hand creams and hair care products. In addition to the documented benefits of cannabis on skincare, it also has significant hydrating properties.
One group of cannabis component that is highly sought after in the beauty industry are the Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs). These components fulfill several important tissue functions in the human organism and are directly responsible for the maintenance of healthy and hydrated skin. Although the human body can produce many EFAs on its own, it is unable to develop Omega-3s and Omega-6s, which are perhaps the most important EFAs.
There are many external sources for Omega-3s and Omega-6s. They can be found in food and other natural substances rich in these components. Cannabis is one of the most abundant plant sources for both of these. The oil extracted from cannabis is very rich in Essential Fatty Acids, which proves immensely valuable in repairing dehydrated skin or replenishing its lipid barrier. Cannabis extracts can also heal damage and boost elastin fibers, which results in smoother, softer skin.
How THC Can Help with These Problems
The other major cannabis component is THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), which holds major antioxidant properties. This chemical component is the one responsible for getting people “high” when they smoke cannabis. THC has very significant health benefits, such as anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antioxidant properties. Although it is only one of many cannabinoid components, THC also stands out for its chemical reliance. Short amounts of THC can be combined with other regenerative oils rich in Essential Fatty Acids and help treat a wide variety of skin conditions. Eczema, acne, psoriasis, aging, and even scars can be regularly treated with the use of THC.
If you choose to make use of THC as a skincare treatment, you don’t need to worry about its effects on the brain. Once applied, there is no risk that THC will go further than the skin level. This prevents the cannabinoid from infiltrating the bloodstream, and therefore, potentially, getting you high.Since medical research is undergoing breakthroughs daily, is there a possibility that cannabis may be used to treat dehydrated and dry skin? ]]>