Does Smoking Weed Cause Acne?

The other night I was at a large party and I’ve smoked a little bit of weed. I am not a regular user, but every once in a while it’s not so that bad.

Anyway, I thought it would be interesting to write about the effects marijuana has on acne and I believe many people are interested in it, especially younger people who are heavy users of pot and they are more prone to acne. By the end of this article you will know:

Marijuana (cannabis), what is it, how it works, studies and biology


Cannabis, better known as marijuana is a processed form of the female cannabis plant intended for use as psychoactive drug or medicine.

From the 483 known compounds in the plant at least 84 of them are cannabinoids which alter brain and body chemistry through the cannabinoid receptors. From them, the most well studied and most psychoactive is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Marijuana is the most popular illegal (not everywhere) drug around the world and is commonly used by many people as a medicine and pain relief drug. A lot of people also use marijuana for its anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties.

Cannabinoids Cocktail Guide

When someone smokes weed, many of these 483 chemical compounds get into the bloodstream and start interacting chemically with our bodies. Some of them even make us feel “high”. Depending on the dose and the concentration of chemicals in each use, you get different results. Cannabinoids which are some of the chemicals that cannabis has, have multiple effects on various cells in the body and trigger a cascade of biochemical changes.

Some of these changes are desirable and some others not so much. For both “good and bad high” cannabinoids are responsible, for the mental shift, for changes in the heart rate, muscle tension, and others. Cannabinoids have a strong impact and studying how our bodies react to all of them at the same time in different concentrations and ratios is a very difficult task for scientists.

An important ratio users look for is CBD/THC, THC as said before is the most psychoactive and also the most potent compound in Cannabis. THC is mostly responsible for the “high” you get when cannabis is used for medical uses, higher CBD/THC ratios are desirable because CBD “cancels” the effects of THC.

Misconceptions and Controversy

It’s numerous effects, both positive and negative, cause misconceptions and misunderstanding about what this drug really is. On top of that many studies have conflicting results spreading further confusion. For example, even though it has been shown that cannabis kills numerous cancers, marijuana smoke also contains over fifty known carcinogens including nitrosamines, reactive aldehydes, and polycyclic hydrocarbons, so there are studies to back up both the supporters and the opposers of cannabis.

One common problem with many of the studies is that most of the time cannabis users, also smoke tobacco and consume alcohol, therefore the scientists have difficulty to distinguish the effects each one of them has on the biological systems of these users. There is only one thing for sure, we can’t rely 100% on these studies and we have to wait until more accurate and unshakable data get published.


Does smoking weed cause acne?

This is a tricky one. There is no short answer. Pot has some compounds which cause the feelings of relaxation and euphoria, but they also cause stress and anxiety. Stress is well known to worsen acne and marijuana have the potential to help you chill, but you can’t always trust it as stress relief mechanism since it can backfire and throw you into panic attacks and anxiety.

THC that we’ve talked before apart from its action on the brain cells and brain chemistry it also causes an immediate hormonal imbalance. It has been measured that a small spike of 3 to 5% in testosterone is caused when people smoked weed. This spike is too small to cause serious problems for healthy people, but unbalancing your system is not a good idea if you have acne, which in many cases is caused by hormonal imbalance. If you have hormonal acne, smoking a marijuana cigarette probably will mess up your system even more. In this case, I don’t recommend it.


It has been measured that a small spike of 3 to 5% in testosterone is caused when people smoked weed. Click To Tweet


If on the other hand, you know you don’t have any hormonal imbalances and your acne has it’s rooted elsewhere you can experience the benefits of marijuana without fear of breaking out the next day or messing up with your system completely. Smoking pot, unless you smoke piles of cigarettes is not the root of your acne for sure, but it is a factor that can have a negative contribution towards the aggravation of your acne, which leads us to our second question.

Does smoking weed make you break out?

If you are healthy, no. If you do have acne, there is a possibility of acne breaking out after smoking weed, due to the mild testosterone increase which some times causes the oil glands to produce more sebum oil. Note that if you have a lot of inflammation on your acne you might actually notice a decrease in acne. This is because marijuana has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties, these can inhibit inflammation in your spots on the face and your body. Of course, there are safer things to calm down inflammation.

Is marijuana smoke harmful to the skin?

If you have acne and smoke weed pay close attention to this. In the marijuana smoke, there are hydrocarbons that inhibit collagen production, when the smoke has contact with your skin, your collagen production will slow down. This can make your skin look older as time passes by and have in mind that collagen is a crucial part of wound healing and scar formation. This means that if you have acne going on, marijuana smoke might scarring later on. Collagen acts in the scar formation process of new scars which get formed when acne is still present and damages the skin. If you interfere with this process things might go bad. People with scars but no acne have nothing to lose since their scars are already formed.

Smoke Without Killing Yourself

We have learned a few things about marijuana and THC. Suppose that you decide to go for it, which is the healthiest way to do it? It seems that smoking it like a cigarette is the simplest, easiest, cheapest and also the most unhealthy way to do it. The burned smoke of cigarettes has lot’s of carcinogens, which accompanied with the high temperature of the smoke they contribute to lung and other forms of cancer growths.

Luckily, you can avoid many of the negative side-effects of smoking marijuana simply by changing the delivery system you use. Weed vaporizers are the latest ‘health’ craze and there is a good reason for that. Vaporizers, even though they are expensive some times, they offer benefits compared to smoking, it is even better from a health perspective to use a vaporizer for your tobacco smoke instead of smoking cigarettes.

Using a vaporizer you can avoid most of the bad side-effects of cigarettes. And in case you want a scientific grounding for this, in a study published in the journal Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics, it was found that vaporizing cannabis is a safer and more effective way of delivering THC for medical uses.

Behold a nice infographic about vaporized cannabis compared to smoked from

Choosing The Proper One

Now that you are convinced (i hope) to use a vaporizer when and if you decide to lighten up, I want to add the last thing before you go shopping. Since marijuana is still illegal in many countries, the industry of vaporizers and the regulation of this market is at very low levels, if any of regulation exists. What you have to look for is the vapor to be clean! This is very important because it can be contaminated by metals or plastics. Glass is a clean material, so go for it. If you are unsure, I wouldn’t recommend using a vaporizer that may cause more bad than good.

When using a vaporizer keep in mind that:

  • As you leave the vapor in the instrument without inhaling, your THC concentration drops. Losses can exceed 50% after 90 minutes!!
  • In a study by the Leiden University was found that as much as 30%–40% of inhaled THC is not absorbed by the lungs but simply exhaled.

So if you leave your vapor for 2 hours and then “smoke” it. You will only get 25 to 30% of the THC that was in the vapor when it was still fresh.


One of the most stylish vaporizers out there is the Firefly. Firefly is portable and I believe it is the iPhone of vaporizers. Apart from its style, it is made of best quality materials so the vapor stays clean. It somewhat expensive at about 350$ on amazon, but I think it deserves it’s money, especially for those who smoke tobacco. I am not a heavy smoker but it is already on my 2015 shopping list.

Feel Good About It

In case you feel guilty for using weed, you shouldn’t, till now studies show that alcohol is more harmful than weed and according to Wikipedia marijuana is widely used for medical uses, it is estimated that 10 to 20 percent of patients with chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and AIDS have admitted of smoking cannabis for therapeutic purposes. Take into account that because smoking weed is still a taboo many people refuse to say that they use cannabis, even for medical purposes, so this number might be actually higher.

To cut the long story short, marijuana is widely used for therapeutic purposes in some diseases and is quite effective in relieving pain. It also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The downside is that most people (about 70%) get their THC doses through cigarettes. To avoid the downsides of cigarettes recently have been developed some high-end vaporizers which you can use.

How to deal with marijuana smoke

In any case, you should use a moisturizer when you are smoking (even when with vaporizer), especially if you are in an indoor environment. With moisturizer, you minimize the contact that marijuana smoke has with your skin and you minimize the impact it has on your collagen production. You can find millions of products out there, but there are only a few of them that they are labelled by the environmental working group as zero green.


There are some facial moisturizers you can use that also have a zero green label on EWG. If you are serious about using a facial moisturizer this one simply rocks: African Botanics African Botanics Neroli Infused Marula Oil. La Roche-posay Thermal Spring Water”, which is just water and will do just that, moisturize your face. Have a look at both and take your pick.

Of course, there is our old friend Aloe Vera gel, which is an amazing (+ cheaper) moisturizer and is combined with anti-inflammatory properties which are great for those who have acne. This is the one I use right now from my own plants.

 Marijuana, Appetite, bad foods and acne

Cannabis consumption has many side effects including increased heart rate, loss of short-term memory, dry mouth, reddening of the eyes and impaired motor skills. Some times cannabis also increases appetite, which is something you have to take care of before you get high. It is good not to have access to crap food but have clean – healthy snacks with you. Many times what you eat when you are high is worse than marijuana it self, for example, the night at the party, after I smoked I had increased appetite and I ended up eating the half from a chocolate cake that I found there. Which was definitely bad for my acne.

Pros and Cons of Smoking Weed

As we go close to the end I’d like to show you a brief table of the Pros and Cons of smoking weed that I found during my research. Please note that the table below is not intended to be a comprehensive list of pros and cons of smoking marijuana, if you see anything missing, post it in the comments (providing your source) and I will add it to the table.

Pros and Cons of Smoking Weed

Smoking Weed from Cigarettes Smoking Weed using a Vaporizer
Pros Increased Awareness and Euphoria Increased Awareness and Euphoria
Lowers the tension of muscles Lowers the tension of muscles
Pain relief Pain relief
Reduced nausea Reduced nausea
Increased appreciation of humour Increased appreciation of humor
Anti-inflammatory Anti-inflammatory
Anti-oxidant Anti-oxidant
Neuroprotective effects Neuroprotective effects
Potential to kill various types of cancer


  • Lung Cancer
  • Breast and Prostate Cancers
  • Leukemia and Lymphoma
  • Glioma
  • Skin Cancer
Potential to kill various types of cancer


  • Lung Cancer
  • Breast and Prostate Cancers
  • Leukemia and Lymphoma
  • Glioma
  • Skin Cancer
Cons Stimulates Cancer Growth Stimulates Cancer Growth
Containts lots of Carcinogens Contains less Carcinogens
Very Hot/Burning Smoke The smoke is significantly cooler
Irritating Articulate Matter Irritating articulate matter is decreased
Short Term Effects Increased heart rate Increased heart rate
Increased appetite Increased appetite
Lowered blood pressure Lowered blood pressure
Impairment of short-term Impairment of short-term
Impairment of psychomotor coordination Impairment of psychomotor coordination
Oxidative Stress for the cells exposed to the smoke (eg lung cells etc..) Oxidative Stress for the cells exposed to the smoke (eg lung cells etc..)
“Bad High” – Danger for panic attacks “Bad High” – Danger for panic attacks
Psychosis Psychosis
Flashbacks Flashbacks
depersonalization or/and derealization depersonalization or/and derealization
Long Term Users Potential for respiratory system dysfunction Potential for respiratory system dysfunction
Morphological brain alterations Morphological brain alterations
Cannabis may contribute to cardiovascular disease Cannabis may contribute to cardiovascular disease
For heavy users possible hair loss and acne For heavy users possible hair loss and acne

Get rid of acne as a pot user

Being a regular pot user might cause damage to your skin. Using the advices in this site, you can greatly improve your look even if you are a heavy marijuana user. Inevitably though, in order to regain your health you will have to replace weed with something else, more healthy, things like meditation and exercise. You won’t get the marijuana high after the gym nor after a meditation session*, but you will get stronger, healthier and calmer in the long run and you will slowly minimise the consumption of cannabis.

*Actually after a period of time there is a possibility that you will.


As you see, smoking weed isn’t that bad. It can trigger acne and other problems if abused but if smoking once in a while(see above) in rare occasions not only is not bad for your acne, it can actually be beneficial and help you cool down and chill for a while. But be careful, getting high, not always has positive effects, leads to poor choices, which among others include eating every crap food you can find in front of you. If you decide to smoke, be sure you don’t have access to that kind of food, that you use a vaporizer and that you have moisturiser to prevent smoke from contacting your skin.

NOTE: To avoid the negative effects of THC choose varieties with high CBD/THC ratio such as cannabis sativa.

NOTE: Cannabinoids may accumulate in the body, it may take up to 30 days to totally get cleared from a single dose. Therefore, regular use of cannabis should be avoided.

NOTE: Care to be spotted? In 2011, researchers at John Jay College of Criminal Justice reported that dietary zinc supplements can mask the presence of THC and other drugs in urine.

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