Real or Fake? Can Smoking Weed Cause Acne?

Just like with any other recreational drug, a lot has been said about marijuana, though most of these rumors about its side effects are only that, rumors.

However, that’s not the case for all of them so it pays to be well informed before consuming this drug.

One of the most pervasive rumors about marijuana is that it can damage your skin and can even lead to acne, which is something no teenager or adult wants.

Curious about whether or not this rumor is true, we decided to dig a little deeper to figure it out.

To better understand whether weed causes acne or not, it’s important to learn more about this drug. Namely, its components and the effects they had in our bodies.


Weed: What’s in it?

There are three well known compounds that give weed its particular characteristics.

· Tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC, which binds to your central nervous system and immune system receptors and makes you feel relaxed.

thc compound

· Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, also known as THCA, which has anti-inflammatory properties and can often be used with medicinal purposes.

THCA or Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid

· Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, which it’s actually considered a good anti-anxiety, anti-psychotic and, ironically enough, anti-acne agent.

CBD or Cannabidiol

If cannabidiol is known for its anti-acne properties, can smoking weed cause acne?

We asked that same question.

Getting to know THC

As it turns out, one of the side effects of THC is an increase in testosterone, both in men and in women.

Amongst its many side effects, testosterone is known for increasing the production of excess sebum, which can clog your pores and cause breakouts.

This increase in testosterone is pretty much immediate and it can also build-up over time which can, in fact, lead to acne.

THC and Testosterone

Is that all THC does?

Not really.

THC can trick your brain into believing that food smells and tastes better. It can also boost your appetite and make you crave all sorts of things.

Yep, THC causes the munchies.

Salty and greasy foods, sugary treats, fatty snacks and more might seem like an excellent idea when you’re high on weed but they’re also an excellent way of increasing your sebum production, which can clog your pores and cause breakouts.

So the problem is just THC?

We also asked that question and we found out that there are other possible explanations behind the whole “weed causes acne” deal.



When you smoke marijuana, traces of the smoke can be absorbed by your skin, which in turn slows down the production of collagen. This can not only irritate your skin but can slow down your skin’s regenerative properties, which can lead to pimples and breakouts taking longer to heal.

Not only that but, if you’re a pimple popper, this can also lead to scarring, as collagen plays a crucial part in healing.

Nutritional Deficiency

Nutritional Deficiency

While marijuana isn’t a harmful drug, it can certainly diminish your body’s vitamin and minerals.

Smoking weed can cause a significant reduction of vitamin D, which is essential for healthy and clean skin. Without this vitamin, skin conditions such as acne and premature skin aging can develop much faster.

Weak Immune System

Suppressed Immune System

If you recall, we mentioned that Tetrahydrocannabinol bonds to your immune system, which overtime can weaken it.

While this isn’t particularly harmful, it does make it harder for your body to fight off bacteria and infections. This not only can lead to an increase in common colds and stomach bugs but also a much higher probability of getting acne, which is actually caused by bacteria.

So can smoking weed cause acne?

As it turns out, it really depends on how you consume it.

Weed by itself doesn’t cause acne. Smoking weed, on the other hand, increases the probabilities of developing acne, which combined with external factors such as the age of the consumer (weed is very popular amongst teenagers), their dietary habits (cravings anyone?) and hygiene can eventually lead to acne.

Not only that but smoking, in general, is actually quite harmful for your skin as it can dry it, irritate it and even speed up the aging process.

Thus, if you want to avoid acne but you want to consume weed, you should find other ways of using it, such as ingesting it.

If you absolutely must smoke weed, however, there are a handful of things you can do to protect your skin.

How to Protect Your Skin While Smoking Weed

The trick is to counteract the harmful effects smoking has on the body, as well as to reduce the external factors that can lead to acne.

Thus, follow the next tips to reduce the appearance of breakouts when smoking weed:

- Drink water, as this will keep your skin hydrated which can reduce irritation.

drink water

- Use moisturizer, this will add extra moisture to your face and, depending on the moisturizer you use, can replenish the collagen you lose by smoking. Use it after every session.


- Stay away from the smoke. While we know that staying away from the smoke it’s impossible, try to do is as much as possible. (Shotgunning might be romantic, but it’s also a great way of getting a face-full of smoke.)

- Use vitamin supplements. As you now know, weed tends not only to weaken your immune system but also to deplete your vitamins and nutrients. In order to counteract this, you should find a high quality supplement that you can add to your diet.

Vitamin Boost

- Improve your diet. Improve your overall diet by eating more fruits and vegetables, as well as reducing carbonated drinks and junk food. This will help improve your skin’s appearance and your overall health.

If you can find a way to make your munchies healthier then more power to you. If not, at least don’t eat junk food when you’re not high.

So now you know it. While weed itself doesn’t cause acne, smoking it can damage your skin and can expose you to external factors that increase your chances of breakouts so keep that in mind.

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