Can Cannabis Help Treat Acne?
Acne is a troubling skin condition that no one enjoys. Part of the issue is that treatments can come with major side effects, or can fail to produce results altogether. When it comes to cannabis and its cannabinoids, is the plant able to reduce symptoms or prevent acne breakouts?
WHAT IS ACNE?
Acne is a term that compiles a series of dermatological conditions. Blackheads, pimples, whiteheads, and cysts all fall under the term. It’s the most common skin condition in America, and potentially in the world.
Most people have had acne in one form or another at some stage in their lives. It occurs when skin secretions clog up the pores, and it may be more outwardly noticeable if you have greasy/oily skin, which happens mostly during the teenage years. This is thanks to increased hormonal activity during adolescence. It can lead to scarring if left untreated, and it is also a very common cause of teenage depression. This is why, for many years, we have seen the market flooded with different cleansers, moisturisers, and exfoliators to combat and prevent acne. But none of these work for everyone, and they don’t seem to fully eliminate the problem. This is why researchers have begun to explore cannabis as a potential option.
CANNABIS AND ACNE
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) exists all throughout the human body—in the central nervous system, the immune system, and yes, even the skin. Among other functions, the ECS is believed to help control the production and health of skin cells. In fact, sebaceous glands (those responsible for secreting oil into hair follicles) have been shown to feature cannabinoid receptors  . This consequently suggests that cannabinoids, both internal and/or external, may affect their normal functioning. Being that the endocannabinoid system’s function is to keep everything in balance, it’s possible that it could prove to be a target for normalising oil production in the sebaceous glands.
WHAT THE SCIENCE SAYS ABOUT CBD FOR ACNE
In 2014, the Journal of Clinical Investigation published a research article which states  that CBD produces “a unique ‘trinity of cellular anti-acne actions’”. These actions include: normalising the metabolic formation of fat produced by “pro-acne” agents, suppressing skin cell proliferation, and preventing proinflammatory cytokine production. The researchers go on to suggest that CBD’s proposed antiproliferative effect on human sebocytes is “expected to greatly reduce sebum production in vivo”. They also bring into context CBD’s proposed antibacterial potential, referencing a study  in which CBD displayed “remarkable antibacterial activity” on hyperproliferative keratinocytes.
Even with these intriguing results, far too many reviews reference preclinical and preliminary clinical data. A need for more in-depth study is warranted.
Now that we have a better idea of what the science says about CBD, it’s worth looking into its psychotropic sister cannabinoid, THC. After all, the cannabis plant is much more than just CBD, or just cannabinoids for that matter.
WHAT ABOUT THC AND ACNE?
In a Huffington Post interview, Dr. Ariel Ostad states that THC increases levels of sebum indirectly by increasing levels of testosterone when smoking. As such, she suggests that those predisposed to acne may be at a greater risk of developing breakouts when enjoying THC-rich cannabis. That said, fellow dermatologist Dr. Bobby Buka mentions that this 3–5% increase in testosterone is not enough to directly stimulate acne or unusual hair growth.
The above scientific findings are consistent with others in that they are _inconsistent_. Given THC’s illicit status in many parts of the world, there simply haven’t been enough large-scale clinical trials, or even preclinical trials, on THC for acne and other skin conditions. All things considered, acne sufferers who want to use cannabinoids should proceed with caution.
CBD OIL AND HEMP SEED OIL
There are a lot of people who don’t live somewhere with an established cannabis market or legal framework. However, CBD oil is exponentially gaining steam, and can be purchased legally in brick-and-mortar shops and online. Just make sure it’s high-quality, hemp-derived CBD oil containing negligible levels of THC (exact amounts will vary based on jurisdiction).
Aside from cannabinoids, individuals can capitalise on the nutritious properties of hemp seed oil. Hemp seed oil is full of antioxidants, rich in omega fatty acids, and contains more than 50% of your daily linoleic acid. This last one is particularly intriguing, as low levels of the acid are linked to acne breakouts. Authors of a 2009 review published  in Dermato-Endocrinology propose that “linoleic acid is directly involved in the sebaceous lipid synthesis”, and that low levels of the acid are a risk factor for comedone (black head/white head) production and may increase “impairment of the epidermal barrier function”.
Although hemp seed oil on its own doesn’t contain any cannabinoids, it can be infused with CBD to create a formula rich in natural hemp constituents.
While we can’t make any hard and fast conclusions about using cannabis for acne, we can look to current scientific studies and reviews, as well as recommendations from dermatologists and other medical professionals. Hopefully, the future of cannabis for acne is clear and bright.
Recent research has led to some interesting findings regarding how cannabis affects acne. Learn how CBD may be the end of those pesky pimples.
Does Smoking Weed Cause Acne? Marijuana & Skincare
Written by Stryx Collaborator — July 29, 2020
Listen up, gents. We know how it feels to look in the mirror and see some red, swollen acne staring back at you. For those of you who like to engage in the occasional use of recreational marijuana, you might be wondering. does smoking weed cause acne?
As one of the premiere providers for men’s makeup, we’re here to debunk every myth surrounding marijuana and acne. We’ll explain the science behind how marijuana affects your body, the different effects that come with smoking marijuana, and finally, how to properly conceal and treat your acne if you have any. Let’s get started!
Can Marijuana Cause Acne?
There is no evidence that suggests a direct evidence between marijuana and acne. However, marijuana use could potentially make existing acne worse. This is due to the fact that marijuana can affect other parts of the body which directly contribute to acne outbreaks.
Why Might Marijuana Cause Acne?
Acne develops when hair follicles on the skin get clogged up with dead skin cells and oil. While it’s mostly prevalent with teenagers going through puberty, it can affect anyone at any age.
And even though marijuana use doesn’t necessarily increase oil production on the skin, it has the chance to alter contributing factors that can make acne outbreaks worse. Marijuana use might cause acne because marijuana can change hormonal levels, increase appetite, and cause extra stress. If any of these apply to you, don’t worry! We’ll be going over each one specifically.
Changes in Hormonal Levels
The reason teenagers are more likely to develop acne is due to an increase in testosterone levels during puberty. One study suggests that marijuana usage increases a person’s testosterone levels, which could, in turn, increase acne production.
Marijuana, and more specifically THC, impact the hypothalamus portion of the brain, which is in charge of connecting the nervous system to the endocrine system. And the endocrine system is what’s responsible for your hormonal levels. So when you feel moody, you can blame your endocrine system.
This relationship is why marijuana affects your mood and pain levels. When there’s a change in hormonal levels, sebaceous glands can enlarge and begin to produce more sebum. And when there’s an overproduction of sebum, this sebum can get trapped in hair follicles which then cause those annoying, red bumps that we like to call acne.
You’ve likely heard how smoking marijuana gives you the munchies and how stoned folks are prone to eating an entire bag of Doritos in one sitting. This is due to the fact that when you smoke weed, your appetite may increase.
The reason for this is that the chemicals in marijuana impact certain parts of the brain related to appetite. For example, it alters the basal ganglia, which enhances eating pleasure. It also impacts the limbic forebrain, which increases food palatability. This is why stoners are more likely to reach for sweet and savory snacks because the sensations of eating them is enhanced when the brain’s chemicals are altered this way.
Increased appetites means that people are more likely to choose foods that are high in fat, sugar, and carbohydrates, all of which can raise blood sugar levels. Again, more research is necessary, but a poor diet has certainly been linked to an increase in acne.
How to Control the Munchies
There are several ways to handle these munchie cravings. If you enjoy the recreational use of marijuana from time to time, then you should have a big meal beforehand so that you’re not as hungry later.
You can also stave off your appetite by keeping yourself busy with other activities that are safe to do while under the influence, such as playing video games or painting. You may also want to try a different strain of marijuana if one in particular seems to always make you hungry.
If you partake in marijuana from time to time, then it can be a good idea to keep temptation out of your house. The next time you go grocery shopping, avoid unhealthy snacks. If you don’t have those Oreos that you love to snack on, then you won’t have to face the temptation of scarfing down an entire package.
Smoking cigarettes has a negative impact on people’s skin, and it’s possible for marijuana to have a similar effect. Research indicates smoking tobacco increases the time it takes for pimples to heal and can even worsen inflammation. This can lead to some users switching over to vaping or just quitting upfront.
Marijuana smoke could have a similar effect but again, more research is necessary. If you’re concerned about the smoke either way, then there are alternative ways of consuming marijuana, such as edibles.
Does vaping cause acne? We made a post about that as well
For some, marijuana can be a way to alleviate stress and calm your nerves. For others, it can be similar to alcohol and instead, be an enhancer for anxiety. In states where marijuana is not legal, the fear of getting caught with marijuana alone is enough to build up the stress which may lead to an outbreak. For some, that specific strain of marijuana may bring about inducing effects which can cause the anxiety.
Stress alone can’t cause acne , but it has been known to be a contributing factor. While marijuana may not worsen pimples, the underlying stress that may come with the marijuana can certainly have an impact.
How to Deal With Acne
Credit: The Fashionisto
While marijuana may not have a direct effect on your acne outbreaks, you may still have acne that is present on your face. And here at Stryx, we believe in helping you develop healthy and clean skin, which is why we’re going to show you how to deal with acne.
Conceal Pre-existing Acne
It’s pretty tough to get rid of already-existing acne right away. There’s no secret formula that can make them vanish within minutes, but one way we can keep acne at bay is by concealing it. Concealing pre-existing acne is extremely easy and will only take a few minutes of your day.
Grab your favorite concealer acne, and apply about half-a-fingertip length of concealer to every red spot on your face. Then, using a patting motion, spread the concealer evenly across your skin until the concealer has blended in with your natural skin tone.
By doing so, you’ll cover your pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, and other acne within minutes. You can also use your concealer to cover other skin problems like blemishes or dark circles under your eyes.
If you’re looking for a great concealer at an affordable price, check out Stryx’s concealer pen. The concealer’s pen-like build allows it to be taken anywhere and with twist-click mechanism, you’ll hear a click each time you turn the pen to signal when you’ve pushed out enough concealer to use.
We’re currently rated as one of the best makeup products for men, with a 4.9/5 rating and a 99% recommendation rate out of the thousands of male customers that have used our product. If you’re looking for an affordable, portable top-of-the line concealer that only takes seconds to hide your acne, then check out the Stryx concealer pen today.
Develop a Nighttime Routine to Prevent Acne
I cannot stress the importance of a nighttime routine. At the end of the day, your face has been battered by dirt, bacteria, and maybe even the concealer you’ve used to hide pre-existing acne. If you don’t clean away the dirt, bacteria, and makeup, then they can clog your pores, leading to inflammation and breakouts.
That’s why it’s important to develop a nighttime routine to prevent acne. Here’s our suggestion. Start by removing your concealer. If you’re using a Stryx concealer, then you won’t need any type of makeup remover. Simply wash your wash and be done with it.
Next, we recommend using a gel cleanser to help get that deep clean so that each pore is thoroughly washed of dirt, oil, grime, and yes, even makeup. We recommend checking out our Stryx gel cleanser since the Tea Tree Leaf Oil, Aloe, and Vitamine B within our product will not only prevent stripping of your natural oils, but also leave your skin replenished with the proper nutrients.
After you’ve given your face a deep wash, we like to use moisturizers so as to make sure that our skin isn’t dry. Moisturizers work by creating a seal on the surface of the skin which then prevents water from escaping.
This helps keep your face from developing dry skin and in turn, prevents the overproduction of oils that would help compensate for said dry skin.
With only two products, you can develop an effective yet simple nighttime routine that can keep pesky acne at bay. But unfortunately, sometimes even if we don’t want acne to show up, it does, which is why we always like to keep our trusty concealer pen on hand!
Side Effects of Smoking Weed
Marijuana may not cause acne, but there are other side effects to be aware of. If you notice any of the following happening to you, then it may be a good idea to pull back on how much marijuana you’re using.
Many people smoke weed to try to calm themselves, but in actuality, marijuana usage can actually increase anxiety. There are two main active ingredients in weed: THC and CBD.
THC is the psychoactive component of marijuana, and it’s associated with increased feelings of anxiety. If you notice heightened anxiety when you smoke weed, then you may want to stick with a strain that only contains CBD or just small amounts of THC.
The relationship between anxiety and marijuana use seems to differ from one person to the next. Some report feeling calmer when high while others feel more paranoid after lighting up a joint. Be aware of your mental state, and if you frequently find yourself feeling worse after smoking, then you may want to find another way to unwind.
Increased Heart Rate
High levels of THC have also been associated with an increased heart rate. Excessive THC consumption can increase your resting heart rate by as much as 20 to 50 beats per minute . Sticking with just CBD may be best for users who already have heart conditions.
Studies also show that synthetic cannabinoids, like “Spice,” can also have a negative impact on users’ hearts. They’ve been linked to various medical emergencies, such as low blood pressure, kidney failure, and abnormal heart rhythms. Therefore, if you’re going to use marijuana, make sure you’re using the right kind.
Short-Term Memory Problems
THC works by attaching itself to receptors in the brain responsible for memory formation. It impacts the cerebral cortex, amygdala, and the hippocampus, which are all necessary for forming new memories.
As a result, users may have issues with thinking, which is why you shouldn’t drive or operate machinery while high. It’s still unknown if long-term marijuana usage creates persistent memory issues.
Can Secondhand Marijuana Affect Your Skin?
Being around others who smoke weed even if you yourself are not smoking can lead to what’s known as a “contact high.” However, there’s no evidence that secondhand marijuana smoke will affect your skin. If you’re really worried, then it’s recommended to stick with CBD if you want to relax.
Can Edibles Affect Your Skin?
There’s also no scientific evidence to suggest edibles will affect your skin. You may hear anecdotal evidence of people who smoke weed regularly who also have bad acne. In these instances, the acne is likely a separate phenomenon from the weed usage. You should never drive or go to work while high, but you don’t have to worry about marijuana impacting your skin at all until scientific research suggests otherwise.
People have always wondered: does smoking weed cause acne? We're here to debunk every question you might have about marijuana and skincare, the side effects of weed, and how to treat acne.