Does smoking weed cause acne?
Cannabis is known to have many health benefits, with medicinal marijuana used globally to treat everything from Parkinson’s and arthritis to seizures and poor appetite, but what are its effects on the skin?
Based on prior research on the effects of cigarette smoking on the skin, we know that acne and smoking correlate, but does this translate to smoking weed, too? And how does weed and CBD skincare factor into the equation?
If you’re worried about weed’s influence on your skin, here’s everything you need to know about weed and acne.
Does Smoking Weed Cause Acne? The Short Answer is it Depends
Currently, no scientific evidence or peer-reviewed studies show that smoking weed causes acne or any other significant negative effects on skin health.
While the scientific research has not produced any direct evidence that smoking weed can cause acne, some pretty compelling arguments show smoking marijuana use can create an increased risk of a frustrating skin condition.
What Causes Acne?
To better understand how smoking weed can contribute to a suitable environment for acne and other skin conditions, we first need to look at what acne is.
Acne, officially termed “acne vulgaris,” is a skin condition where dead skin cells and oil from the sebaceous glands clog pores and hair follicles.
Acne is one of many inflammatory skin diseases and can present as painful bumps called pimples, solid impactions called blackheads, superficial discoloration of the skin without painful inflammation, or any combination of these.
Several primary factors cause acne and a host of other factors that have a relatively minor effect on the body’s largest organ. Changes in hormone levels, eating unhealthy foods, and even secondhand effects from marijuana or tobacco smoke and other factors can cause an elevated risk of acne.
Let’s take a look at some of those factors and how they all contribute, even if only in small ways.
Significant Hormone Changes
One of the primary causes of acne is a shift in hormones, particularly testosterone levels. As young adults advance through puberty, they frequently experience an increase in the occurrence and severity of acne.
Since medical associations agree that rising testosterone levels contribute to more sebum in both males and females, this is considered one of the significant root causes of acne.
Another relatively substantial factor is the increased appetite when most people smoke weed.
Anyone with a little bit of cannabis experience has probably experienced how it enhances eating pleasure and increases food palatability. Most know this as “the munchies,” and it can play a more significant role than you think.
When most marijuana enthusiasts get the munchies, they head for some snacks.
Unfortunately, the most common choices are sweet and savoury snacks & dairy products, which can raise blood sugar levels and cause excess oil production. This excess oil and sebum can fuel an acne breakout.
Smoking Anything At All
The medical community has been pretty united in its stance that inhalation of any smoke, either from cigarette smoking or smoking weed, causes irritation and damage to the airways and lowers blood flow.
In fact, it’s this decreased blood flow that leads to the trademark red eyes and dry mouth that we all experience after smoking up.
This decreased circulation also reduces the oxygen content in the blood and can prevent our skin from healthy, routine self-cleaning processes.
Any reduction in the skin’s ability to clean itself can result in the appearance or worsening of acne.
While not directly related to using cannabis, lapses in personal hygiene can contribute to the development of acne and more frequent breakouts.
We know that the “dirty stoner” stereotypes are far from accurate, but we should also be extra vigilant and take more care of our skin daily.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve had a little too long of a wake & bake session once or twice and have had to rush off to work without my full morning shower routine.
Does Smoking Weed Cause Acne to Become Worse?
There are no indications that smoking marijuana can worsen existing acne, and some clinical investigation shows it may even help mitigate one of the main causes of acne. It may even be harnessed as a treatment for acne, though the medical community at large would need clinical trials and more research.
Cannabis Use Lowers Testosterone
This isn’t limited to smoking cannabis and applies even to recreational and medical marijuana edibles, too.
Since the abundance or overproduction of testosterone is one of the primary drivers of acne formation, there are some indications that not only does marijuana not cause acne, but it may be effective in reducing the frequency of breakouts & their severity.
Cannabis Reduces Inflammation
Cannabis products and marijuana use, the CBD component, in particular, are known for having robust abilities to reduce inflammation. Inflammation is most often lessened when an outside medication reduces blood flow to the area.
This means that anti-inflammatory products like CBD oil may even become effective methods of treating acne and even other conditions like atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema.
Around the world, CBD skincare is already gaining popularity as a viable treatment for various symptoms, including but not limited to acne, dermatitis, and eczema.
More clinical trials would be needed to demonstrate this, but the thought of a future when you may be able to treat acne by following professional medical advice like “eat a few gummies” or “try CBD skincare” is certainly encouraging.
What About The Effects Of Secondhand Marijuana Smoke?
So we know that weed doesn’t cause acne, but if you already have a case, will smoking weed cause acne to worsen?
In short, we don’t know for sure. Again, there are some very logical reasons why it could set the stage for it to impact acne.
Secondhand Smoke Lingers
If you know someone who has been a smoker for any length of time, you’ve probably noticed that not only does smoke linger, but it eventually settles and sticks to things.
Anyone smoking tobacco in their car has seen the results of this after cleaning the inside of the windshield.
The same applies to marijuana smoke, no matter where you indulge. Cannabis smoke has oils and tars in it, along with terpenes and other organic compounds. That stuff that coats the inside of your bowl after firing one up is the same stuff that goes into the air, just in smaller quantities.
Time For An Oil Change
While marijuana smoke is often seen to leave a sticky, oily residue on the surroundings in locations that are frequently smoked in; the same residue is also washing over your face when you take a hit.
That oily residue can cling to your skin in addition to the oils your skin produces naturally and can overwhelm it, resulting in a breakout.
If you smoke marijuana often, be sure you give your smiling face a good scrub at least once a day to make sure you keep the chances of developing or worsening acne to a minimum.
Does Smoking Weed Cause Acne? A Complicated Answer
It seems pretty cut & dry that even though smoking weed doesn’t directly cause acne, it certainly can help create the ideal conditions for acne breakouts and other skin problems.
Wed can drive tokers to not only to consume the typical junk food that is a major contributing factor but as we’ve seen, it can also cause changes in the endocrine system that cause severe acne.
Eliminating smoking weed won’t prevent acne, and marijuana may even be empowered to reduce acne breakouts and the occurrence of similar skin conditions.
The largest factor generally rests with the person’s behaviour. Cutting back on unhealthy food while maintaining effective skincare regimens can be the most effective way to see clear skin again.
Instead of getting you high, CBD skincare products and cannabis topicals soak directly into your skin, delivering all the healthy benefits of cannabis without any of its psychoactive effects.
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