Does Smoking Weed Cause Acne? by Rehab Recovery Centers

Around 147 million people around the world smoke weed, meaning 2.5% of the world’s population uses marijuana.[1] This means that smoking weed is extremely common.

Smoking weed can cause side effects such as increased appetite, weight gain, and in some cases, anxiety or paranoia. But many weed users wonder if their smoking habit is linked to their issues with acne.

While smoking weed does not directly cause acne, it can cause side effects that lead to an increase in acne and related skin issues. Habitual marijuana use leads to changes in hormonal levels, changes in appetite, and altered skin healing times. The combination of these three side effects often causes individuals to struggle with problematic acne.

What is Weed?

Weed is also referred to as cannabis, marijuana, pot, bud, and flower. This substance is directly derived from the Cannabis sativa plant. Marijuana comes in many different colors, however, it is usually a green plant with purple or orange hairs.

Individuals who use weed can smoke the plant, cook it into a food or pastry, and even drink it in tea. The chemical compound found in marijuana that is responsible for its psychoactive effects is known as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

The common psychoactive effects of THC include:[2]

  • Euphoria
  • Feelings of relaxation
  • Lethargy or drowsiness
  • Heightened sensory perception
  • Laughter
  • Altered perception of time
  • Increased appetite
  • Anxiety or panic
  • Fear or distrust

Does Smoking Marijuana Cause Acne?

There are limited studies on whether smoking marijuana causes acne. However, there is also no evidence that smoking weed directly causes individuals to develop acne, blemishes, or other forms of skin issues.

While smoking weed does not directly cause acne, some of the side effects of THC can worsen an individual’s acne. This is because using marijuana causes changes in people’s behavior, often making them feel lethargic or increasingly hungry. These effects cause changes in an individual’s diet, stress levels, and hygiene routines, which can exacerbate acne and skin blemishes over time.

How is Smoking Weed Linked to Acne?

Weed consumption can indirectly lead to a worsening of acne.

The lethargy associated with smoking weed can cause individuals to slack on their hygiene and an increased appetite can cause individuals to eat greasy foods. Additionally, marijuana can lead to hormonal changes, which may cause an increase in acne and blemishes.

Increased Appetite

According to research, smoking marijuana increases one’s appetite by stimulating cannabinoid receptors (CB1) in the brain.[3] This causes the CB1 receptors to release a hormone that increases food intake. Additionally, a study on animals found that THC might trigger the release of ghrelin, an appetite-stimulating hormone.[4]

Because of the increased appetite individuals experience, they tend to consume large amounts of food while under the influence of marijuana. This is referred to as having “the munchies.”

Oftentimes, people consume food that is high in carbohydrates, sugar, or grease, leading to inflammation. This inflammation causes the body to produce more sebum, an oil that is produced by glands on the skin. When the body produces too much sebum, dead skin cells stick together and clog pores on the skin – leading to worsening acne.

Changes in Hormones

Marijuana use is linked to a brief increase in testosterone levels. Testosterone belongs to a class of male hormones referred to as androgens. While both men and women have testosterone in their bodies, men naturally have significantly higher levels of this hormone.

When marijuana use causes an increase in testosterone levels, the body begins to create extra sebum. Additionally, high levels of testosterone can cause changes to the skin cells that line hair follicles. This causes the high follicles to become stickier and more likely to clog pores, leading to increases in acne.

Changes in Skin

Frequent or heavy smoking can lead to changes in the skin like faster skin aging, reduced blood flow to the skin, and increasing the amount of time it takes for skin to heal. Additionally, research suggests that smoking leads to an increased risk of developing inflammatory skin diseases.[5]

In other words, smoking weed can cause skin inflammation to become worse and pimples to take longer to heal.

Finding Help for Marijuana Abuse and Addiction

Smoking weed can cause an array of health effects, from increased hunger and sleepiness to feelings of paranoia and panic, but quitting weed allows your mind and body to recover.

If you or a loved one struggles with marijuana abuse or addiction, Rehab Recovery Centers can help. Contact us today to get started.



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