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Does Smoking Weed Cause Acne?

Finally, an answer to an age-old question, “Is marijuana OK for the skin?”

While some people insist that cannabis causes skin problems, especially acne, others suggest that the natural plant is not to blame for this issue. Acne is America’s most common skin condition. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), the condition affects up to 50 million Americans each year. Moreover, up to 85% of people aged 12-24 experience minor acne at least.

You may only end up with blemishes if you smoke an excessive amount of the herb. Indeed, the amount in question is likely far beyond what a human is reasonably capable of consuming. If you use weed and have acne, it is more likely that your general health and lifestyle contribute to the skin problem, rather than cannabis.

So… What Did You Eat Last Night?

Just about everyone who has consumed a hybrid or indica strain has had the munchies – even those who have consumed certain sativas, too. When the munchies arrive, they don’t make you crave healthy foods. Instead, you begin raiding your fridge and cabinets for everything that is remotely greasy, sugary, crunchy, salty, or sweet. Before you know it, your snack stash is wholly gone, and your belly is full in a blissful, albeit bloated state.

The consumption of unhealthy oils, fats, excessive salt, and too much sugar, are all widely linked to acne and an increase in blemishes, or irritations on the skin. Therefore, while smoking marijuana itself doesn’t cause acne, the ingredients in the food you turn to when you have the munchies are a contributing factor.

The Solution to Beating the Munchies?

If you want to keep using marijuana, remove all junk food from the house when it is time for another smoking session.  There is a multitude of healthy snack options, which satisfy the cravings you get when stoned. For instance, swap processed chips for organic potato chips with natural seasoning (salt and vinegar or sea salt and cracked black pepper are amazing, FYI).

Replace your artificially colored and sweetened candies for organic options that use colorants from plant extracts and more-natural sources of sugar. Also, switch out as much wheat and flour as you can. For some sensitive individuals, slight gluten sensitivity may cause intense outbreaks. Steer clear of pizza, baked goods, and anything that involves dough or flour.

Exercise caution when choosing the marijuana strain type. Not all strains cause the munchies, but you must purposefully seek the ones that don’t. Here are a few that won’t have you clearing out your refrigerator. Durban Poison, ACDC, Black Beauty, Doug’s Varin, Jack the Ripper, and many others.

These strains are typically higher in cannabinoids other than THC, which may explain why they don’t cause the munchies.

does weed cause acne


Have You Checked Your Stress Levels Lately?

Cannabis use doesn’t directly cause acne, at least not in the way you think. Instead, there’s strong evidence to suggest that stress levels are a contributory factor. For some individuals, marijuana does not alleviate anxiety and stress. Instead, it enhances these unpleasant effects.

It’s a double-edged sword. Cannabis is both relief from stress and anxiety, and a culprit! Specific individuals are prone to THC-induced paranoia and increased anxiety. In this case, going through one of those experiences while high can amplify stress levels.

This occurrence is more common when you consume THC in higher doses. Sometimes, beginning with a lower dose prevents such episodes. There is ample research that shows a strong connection between an increase in acne and elevated stress levels.

A study by Zari and Alrahmani, published in Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology, in December 2017, discovered as much. The team analyzed the stress levels of 144 sixth-year medical students from King Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia. Overall, the researchers found a strong correlation between increased stress and heightened acne severity.

Alas, there are negative side effects of THC over-consumption, which can encourage stress. The result is a potential increase in acne.

Stress, Cannabis, and Acne: What Is the Solution?

CBD, otherwise known as cannabidiol, potentially neutralizes and decreases the paranoia and anxiety sometimes caused by THC. For this reason, having the perfect balance between CBD/THC in the cannabis you consume can work wonders. A great way to start is by picking a strain with a higher CBD percentage and a lower THC percentage.

Options include:

Consuming a high-CBD tincture is another option. Hailed as offering healing without the high, CBD doesn’t cause an intoxicating effect and may not share THC’s adverse effects, which include increases in anxiety or paranoia. CBD could significantly decrease your stress levels.

Is Marijuana Smoke Responsible for Acne?

does marajuana cause acne

The link between acne and smoking itself is well-known. A study by Capitanio et al., published in Dermato Endocrinology in May-June 2009, explored the issue. The researchers concluded that there was a “straight correlation between smoking habit and post-pubertal acne in which the clinically non-inflammatory type – APAA – is the most frequent.”

The likely reason is due to the toxins found in smoke. While marijuana smoke doesn’t carry as many toxins and carcinogens as its tobacco counterpart, it is far from harmless. Also, few people are aware of the origins of their herb. If a manufacturer treats it with chemicals, bad things could happen to your body in the long-term. A combination of toxins and chemicals go directly into your body’s system. Acne is potentially a side effect.

Cannabis Smoke and Acne: What Is the Solution?

does smoking weed cause acne

Make sure you know where your marijuana is coming from. It helps if you are familiar with the practices used while growing your cannabis. In this case, at least you understand the decision you make when you opt to smoke weed. Choose organically grown marijuana that is free from toxic chemicals. Toxins not only damage your skin but your whole body.

Finally, if you think the smoke itself is at fault, pick a smoke-free option such as an edible, tincture, extract, or even a balm. The marijuana world is full of new ways to consume weed that don’t include lighting up. Perhaps you will enjoy a fun experience?

Hemp Might Help Acne

Although there is not much direct evidence of cannabis helping acne, topical creams derived from marijuana are used to treat skin conditions. Place the cream on the troublesome area, and leave it there for a specified period. These topical creams are typically CBD-heavy, or else suppliers derive cannabidiol from industrial hemp.

The results of a study by Olah et al., published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation in September 2014, give a little weight to the theory.  The team studied the impact of CBD on the cells that create sebum in humans, sebocytes. Their research found that CBD stopped the cells from producing excess sebum.

Furthermore, the study found that CBD oil triggered an anti-inflammatory reaction in the cells. This process prevented the activation of inflammatory cytokines. Bear in mind that cytokines possibly trigger acne. Therefore, reducing them could reduce acne breakouts. Indeed, it is worth investigating whether CBD cream helps to moisturize dry, damaged skin.

Final Thoughts: Does Marijuana Help or Cause Acne?

If you are curious about weed’s connection with acne or are a regular marijuana consumer struggling with recent outbreaks, we hope this article has provided some clarity about this controversial topic. From what we know at present, the herb itself is unlikely to be responsible for the development of acne.

The more probable causes include cannabis smoke, stress, and lifestyle choices. Indeed, you could potentially reduce instances of acne by applying CBD balm to affected areas.

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