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9 Things Smoking Weed Does to Your Body

When it comes to polarizing health topics, few subjects spark more debate than weed (except maybe CrossFit or the Paleo Diet). Can it improve your health? Lower stress? Make you more forgetful? Even make you thinner?

The science is still, well, hazy—but some research is starting to give us an idea of what exactly weed does to the human body.

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For instance: Toking up regularly could dull your emotional response and cause addiction, according to a marijuana study from the University of Michigan Health System. Researchers analyzed 108 people in their early 20s (69 men and 39 women), all of whom were taking part in a larger study of substance use. In the study, participants sat in an MRI while they played a game, in which they pressed a button when they saw a target on a computer screen cross in front of them. Before each round, they were told they could win 20 cents or $5—or they might lose that amount, or have no reward or loss. Scientists assessed the moment of anticipation (a.k.a. when volunteers knew they could get a few dollars richer).

Now, you’d think getting free money would be cause for excitement, but scientists found the more marijuana use volunteers reported, the less their reward centers were activated.

“Over time, marijuana use was associated with a lower response to a monetary reward,” study author and neuroscientist Mary Heitzeg, Ph.D, said in a press release. “This means that something that would be rewarding to most people was no longer rewarding to them, suggesting but not proving that their reward system has been ‘hijacked’ by the drug, and that they need the drug to feel reward—or that their emotional response has been dampened.”

That’s not all. Smoking weed might also be more addicting than you think.

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“Some people may believe that marijuana is not addictive or that it’s ‘better’ than other drugs that can cause dependence,” Heitzeg said. “But this study provides evidence that it’s affecting the brain in a way that may make it more difficult to stop using it. It changes your brain in a way that may change your behavior, and where you get your sense of reward from.”

To be fair: Even if one scientific study suggests that marijuana might help your bones grow or hurt your short-term memory, that doesn’t necessarily make it true. All this research is still developing, and it’ll be a long time before we know anything for sure about weed’s effects on the human body. Still, it’s good to know where the science is heading.

Find out all the other ways—good and bad—marijuana could be influencing your health.

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Find out 9 ways marijuana could be influencing your health. The science is still hazy—but research is giving us an idea of what weed does to the body.

Does smoking marijuana cause acne?

It is unlikely that smoking weed causes acne. However, some people who already have acne might find that it worsens or improves if they smoke marijuana. Testosterone levels, behavioral changes, and skin healing time can all influence acne, and these factors all have a link to smoking weed.

There are not many scientific studies looking into the direct effects of marijuana on acne. More research is likely in the future, though, as more and more states in the United States are legalizing recreational cannabis use.

Keep reading to learn more about the link between smoking weed and acne. We also discuss some other side effects of smoking weed and other possible causes of acne.

Share on Pinterest Smoking weed may have an effect on existing acne.

There is no evidence that smoking weed causes acne, but it could make existing acne worse. This effect may occur due to behavioral changes relating to marijuana or because of the effects of smoking on the body.

Smoking weed can change a person’s behavior. They may feel lethargic or have an increased appetite. Diet, hygiene, and stress are not causes of acne, but these factors could make breakouts worse if a person already has acne.

Increased appetite

An increased appetite may lead people to choose fast food or processed foods that are high in sugar, fat, and refined carbohydrates. Eating these foods can raise blood sugar levels.

There is some evidence that this may increase inflammation, which can cause the body to produce more sebum. Sebum is oil that the glands on the skin produce. If the body makes too much sebum, it can stick dead skin cells together, forming plugs that clog pores in the skin and make acne worse.

Hormone level changes

Marijuana may also cause a brief rise in testosterone levels. Testosterone is a hormone in the body. Both males and females have this hormone, and the amount in the body changes over time.

Levels of this hormone increase during puberty, which experts believe to be a trigger for acne. Higher testosterone levels may increase the amount of sebum that the body makes, potentially explaining why many teenagers develop this skin condition.

Therefore, there is a possibility that a rise in testosterone resulting from marijuana may increase the risk of acne. However, the rise in testosterone levels due to smoking weed is very small, and the evidence comes from a single study. More research will be necessary to confirm this link.

Smoking

No clear link exists between smoking and acne, but smoking can speed up skin aging, reduce blood flow to the skin, and increase healing time. Some research suggests that people who smoke have a higher risk for inflammatory skin diseases.

Smoking weed with tobacco is likely to have some effect on the skin over time. Pimples could take longer to heal, and inflammation may be worse.

Alternative ways of consuming weed, rather than smoking it, include edibles and using a vaporizer.

It is unlikely that smoking weed directly causes acne. However, some people who already have acne might see it worsen or improve if they smoke marijuana.