Does Smoking Weed Cause Acne? Yes & No

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If you want to know if smoking weed causes acne, this is the article for you. Like most things, there’s always a cause and effect of acne. This short blog dives into how behavior while smoking weed and getting high can lead to acne.

Does Smoking Weed Cause Acne?

There is no conclusive scientific evidence confirming that smoking weed causes acne. The main reason people think smoking weed causes acne is because the majority of people smoking weed are also young and have acne because of an imbalanced diet and hormones. But, there are links between acne and the behaviors individuals have while they’re high, like having the munchies and eating edibles with sugar and sweets.

How Does Smoking Weed Worsen Acne?

Smoking weed (or any form of cannabis) can have a significant impact on various aspects of a person’s life, including behavior, hygiene, diet, and hormones. These factors can contribute to the development of acne and exacerbate existing skin conditions. If you are already struggling with pimples and blackheads, or a more serious skin disease like eczema, we recommend avoiding anything that could worsen symptoms and hinder acne treatment.

Read more: The Dangers Of Marijuana Maintenance In Recovery

Smoking weed can not only impact a person's behavior but also influence their hygiene practices.

Neglecting Hygiene

Smoking weed can not only impact a person’s behavior but also influence their hygiene practices. Changes in behavior due to marijuana use, such as altered routines and habits, can directly affect personal hygiene. Smoking can make individuals lose motivation to shower or wash their face before bed if they’ve just gotten high.

It can also cause them to lose their sense of time and forget to care for their body, solely focusing on getting higher or going straight to sleep with a dirty face. Neglecting proper cleansing, moisturizing, or regular skincare maintenance due to altered behavior can contribute to developing and worsening acne.

It's well known that smoking weed leads to increased appetite and causes dry mouth.

Giving Into Munchies

It’s well known that smoking weed leads to increased appetite and causes dry mouth. This makes users inclined to give in to these cravings or “munchies.” Some individuals may seek out unhealthy foods, particularly those high in sugar, refined carbohydrates, and unhealthy fats. Such dietary choices can promote inflammation and insulin spikes, worsening acne symptoms. It’s also worth noting that smoking more weed can temporarily relieve the feeling of dry mouth, causing individuals to get higher and eat more.

Imbalanced Hormones

Smoking marijuana can impact hormone levels, potentially causing acne due to hormonal imbalances. A 2017 study on marijuana use and testosterone concentrations among American males has shown that marijuana use can increase testosterone levels and contribute to acne formation.

Specifically, the active compound THC in cannabis affects the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that regulates body temperature, thirst, and hunger. The hypothalamus also connects the nervous system to the endocrine system, which plays a crucial role in maintaining hormonal balance. These hormonal changes can increase the size of sebaceous glands, which produce oil (sebum) and can result in clogged pores and breakouts.

There are three significant factors related to smoking and its effects on the skin.

Sleep Habits

Regularly smoking weed can also disrupt your sleep patterns and lead to lower-quality sleep and hormone imbalances. For example, if you smoke sativa, the higher THC strain of cannabis, your energy levels can be higher right before you try to sleep. If you use weed to help you sleep but end up staying in bed longer than intended, you might unknowingly touch your face more often and come into contact with dirty sheets or blankets. This increased contact and the buildup of face oil can contribute to skin issues and breakouts.

Stress

Smoking a joint or eating an edible can make users feel relaxed and relieved from built-up stress, but as users become reliant on cannabis to produce dopamine and lower stress levels, the body can physically and psychologically react if there’s no THC in its system. This can cause users to feel more stressed when they’re not high, and studies show that stress can worsen acne and slow down the skin’s ability to heal itself. Individuals who rely on cannabis for stress relief may notice their acne worsening even when they are not high.

Smoking

There are three significant factors related to smoking and its effects on the skin.

  1. Firstly, smoking can lead to sebum peroxidation, where unstable molecules called free radicals attack fatty acids in sebum. This breakdown causes the oil to become thicker and stickier, leading to blocked pores and the formation of comedones.
  2. Secondly, smoking reduces collagen production, a protein responsible for skin elasticity and strength. It diminishes collagen production, damages existing collagen fibers, and contributes to the development of wrinkles, fine lines, and loss of skin firmness.
  3. Lastly, smoking depletes vitamin E from the bloodstream, an essential antioxidant that prevents free radicals from causing peroxidation. This depletion increases the risk of excess sebum peroxidation and its effects on the skin.

Note: Even if you’re using a vape pen with THC, the smoke and and effects can still worsen acne.

Consuming edibles that contain high amounts of sugar and dairy products can impact the development of acne.

Edibles With Sugar & Dairy

Consuming edibles that contain high amounts of sugar and dairy products can impact the development of acne. Research suggests that diets high in refined sugars can increase insulin levels and inflammation, potentially triggering acne breakouts. Sugary foods can also contribute to the overgrowth of acne-associated bacteria, like Cutibactrium and Propionibacterium.

Additionally, dairy products like milk have been linked to acne development due to their potential to stimulate the production of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) and promote inflammation. Dairy products also contain hormones that can disrupt the natural balance of hormones in the body, further exacerbating acne symptoms. If you’re eating edibles made of chocolate, dairy, eggs, or sugar, chances are you’re not helping your acne.

Is Acne The Sign Of A Marijuana Addiction?

If you’re noticing your skin health is declining as you smoke weed or are concerned your cannabis use is taking over your life, now’s the time to look into a marijuana addiction treatment. Outpatient programs offer individual counseling, group therapy, and behavioral interventions to replace smoking weed with healthier coping habits, such as regular exercise, mindfulness, and engaging in creative hobbies.

Therapy methods such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help manage cravings and address the psychological aspects of addiction. By learning healthier coping skills, individuals can develop strategies to resist the urge to smoke weed and address any underlying emotional or psychological issues that may fuel their addiction or worsen skin problems.

If you don’t smoke weed but still have acne, remember it can also be caused by genetics, certain medications, cosmetics, and even dirty pillow sheets.

Read more: Long-Term Effects Of Weed Use

Contact Launch Centers In Los Angeles

Many marijuana smokers often assume that they are not addicted to cannabis, overlooking the potential impact it has on their lives. Launch Centers in Los Angeles can provide valuable support for marijuana users by helping them recognize and understand how their cannabis use is affecting various aspects of their life.

In addition to addressing addiction, we also focus on teaching individuals in recovery healthier coping strategies to manage stress and emotions. By introducing alternative methods such as mindfulness techniques, exercise, creative outlets, and other therapeutic activities, Launch Centers empower individuals to find healthier ways to relieve stress and achieve a balanced and fulfilling life without relying on marijuana. Contact us today to find out more and get signed up.

About Our Founder

Jose Hernandez, for over a decade, has been involved in alcohol and addiction recovery helping people succeed in overcoming substance abuse and regaining control of their lives. He has experience in all aspects of the recovery world, from facilitating entry into treatment as an intervention specialist to counseling and case management at rehabilitation facilities. Jose has worked one-on-one with individuals as a sober companion and with groups as a resident counselor at addiction treatment centers and is certified by the California Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (CAADAC) to practice as a substance abuse counselor.

Through his professional experiences in crisis intervention, drug and alcohol detoxification, substance abuse counseling, and relapse prevention, Jose has developed a unique plan for case management that bridges the gap between a person’s painful past of substance abuse and a future of sobriety.

At Riviera Recovery, a sober living facility with multiple locations, clients continue their transition from the supportive environment of a treatment center to living well and happily in the “real” world. The program he designed at Riviera Recovery personalizes treatment plans that enable clients, including those with a single or dual-diagnosed mental health disorder, to embrace a satisfying life.

His greatest endeavor has been establishing LAUNCH, a Los Angeles-based life skills intensive outpatient program for young adults. LAUNCH works with recovering men and women to establish personal vocational and educational goals and develop the tools to successfully meet them. His mission is to ensure that no one stands alone in his or her recovery.

Meet Our Clinical Team

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Jess Beck, LCSW

Clinical Director

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Eric Chaghouri, MD

Psychiatrist

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Chloe Kruskol, LCSW

Family Program Manager

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    Launch provided care on multiple levels. The highly skilled therapist coupled with the focus on purpose and long-term goals refocused my recovery from what previous treatment centers pushed onto me. I went from believing that I needed years of treatment to believing I needed years happiness and success. I began to focus on what I wanted to accomplish with my life. I came to realize all the things my addiction and mental illness had taken from me, and I used my future goals as a reason to never pick up again. Due to the passion that Launch instilled in me, I have pursued my future with excitement and dedication.

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