With legalization widespread across Canada, how cannabis affects the body has become a widely debated topic, including seeking answers to questions such as does smoking weed cause acne?
Humans have utilized marijuana for centuries for a wide range of uses and treat a broad scope of conditions. By now, it’s common knowledge that smoking cigarettes is damaging to the skin and can even cause acne and premature signs of ageing.
That said, smoking cannabis is one of the most common ways to consume the plant, so does smoking weed cause acne, as well?
While professionals continue to research extensively, the question itself is complex and not all that straightforward to answer.
If you’re curious about learning about the effects of marijuana and its potential to cause acne, then keep on reading.
Does Smoking Weed Cause Acne?
Based on the current research, which is quite limited, there aren’t any direct correlations associating the cannabinoids in cannabis with any skin conditions or acne-related flare-ups. That said, the cannabis plant is complex, and while this lack of findings may seem like a positive, it’s not that simple.
Smoking marijuana might not directly cause acne, but its psychoactive effects can undoubtedly influence the likelihood of developing it in the future or promoting breakouts.
Side effects of smoking marijuana, such as the ‘munchies,’ can significantly facilitate acne flare-ups. Thus, in a sense, it’s not that smoking marijuana itself can cause acne, but some of the side effects can contribute to it as well.
That said, some properties within cannabis may also help to reduce acne, which leads us to believe that it’s not as black and white as one might initially think.
Below, we’ll outline some of the most common influences marijuana may have on the skin.
If you are familiar with cannabis, you are likely already familiar with one of its most common side effects, colloquially known as the ‘munchies.’ In case you aren’t, the munchies are a side effect of cannabis that causes a massive increase in appetite in the user.
This sensation often results in smokers devouring fatty and carb-rich foods en masse.
The problem with this is, the foods that the munchies tend to cause users to crave are usually quite detrimental to the skin.
For example, many of the most common foods that users research for are full of refined carbs and unhealthy fats, which can worsen inflammation and increase the sebum production in our skin, clogging the pores and making acne worse.
Hormones and hormone regulation also play a crucial role in the likelihood of developing acne. For example, puberty, a time when hormone levels increase to unprecedented levels, has many people commonly breaking out with some variation of acne.
That said, marijuana use has also been shown to impact testosterone levels in the body when consumed, although these effects tend to last only in the short term.
In this sense, smoking weed has been reported to cause brief rises in testosterone levels for short bursts of time, which may potentially contribute to sebum production and, as a result, acne-related problems.
However, it’s difficult to say with absolute certainty whether this is the sole cause or not. On the topic of hormones, genetic factors also tend to play a significant role in how much acne individuals develop or accumulate.
Since each person has different genetics, how bodies respond to various internal and external factors will differ.
Undoubtedly, smoking has adverse effects on the skin. In fact, even breathing in second-hand cannabis smoke has been shown to reduce overall skin health as it damages blood vessels in the skin.
So, while marijuana itself may not contribute directly to acne formation, it might be the act of smoking itself that does.
Smoking has been shown to increase the rate of skin ageing as it impairs the blood vessels’ ability to function and carry nutrients to the needed locations. Not to mention, smoking can also cause inflammation as well.
While it may seem counterintuitive, several cannabis products can help benefit the skin. As we mentioned previously, the cannabis plant is a complex one with thousands of unique chemicals with a host of therapeutic abilities.
That said, many people swear by cannabis topical products, such as creams, lotions, and CBD oils, to help reduce flare-ups and inflammation so commonly associated with acne.
Cannabis topicals are designed to be non-psychoactive and have anti-inflammatory properties. They are meant to be applied directly to the skin for localized relief towards areas that have suffered from inflammation or irritation.
Some non-psychoactive cannabis oils, such as CBD oil, can also be ingested orally to provide a sense of relaxation and reduce overall stress levels, another key culprit of acne.
Along with helping lower stress levels, CBD oil may also help alter how our bodies produce sebum, the oil produced by the skin glands that can cause whiteheads by clogging pores. This, coupled with the reduction in stress, may act as a force multiplier against acne and alleviate any surprise flare-ups and prevent future ones from popping up as well.
Additionally, research indicates that topical cannabis cannabinoids may also supply anti-itching relief on top of the anti-inflammatory properties, making them effective for other skin conditions, including eczema, rosacea and psoriasis.
How to Keep Your Skin Healthy While Smoking
As we stated previously, smoking can have detrimental effects on the skin, both from ingestion and second-hand exposure. Ultimately, the best way to keep your skin healthy and avoid acne flare-ups when consuming cannabis is to seek ulterior consumption methods outside of smoking.
In this way, broadening one’s horizons to other cannabis-infused products, such as THC and CBD tinctures, topicals and edibles, is an excellent way to see what else is available on the market while also protecting your skin.
These products also offer a heightened sense of discreetness by not producing an attention-grabbing smoke cloud or distinctive smell, allowing users to dose anytime, anywhere, without drawing unwanted attention.
Even for users attached to the more traditional smoking method, adding some variety in your consumption methods to reduce the amount of frequency of your smoking by incorporating these other products could still be beneficial for the long term.
Cannabis and Skincare
While the act of smoking may not be ideal for relieving any acne-related problems, marijuana itself hasn’t been shown to cause acne outright. That said, while cannabis may not be the problem itself, it’s still important to be aware of the side effects that may contribute to acne development.
Factors such as the munchies and exposure to cannabis smoke are potential external factors that may increase your likelihood of promoting breakouts. Thus, it is beneficial for users to diversify their ingestion methods to incorporate other non-smoke-producing products.
CBD oil and other cannabis topicals are emerging as one of the most popular items for receiving the benefits of cannabis while also serving to combat rather than contribute to acne formation, yet another example of how cannabis can share its wealth of therapeutic properties.