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Does Smoking Weed Cause Acne? Unveiling the Connection between Cannabis and Skin Health

Clinically Reviewed by: Charee Marquez, LMFT

At California Prime Recovery, an addiction treatment center in Fountain Valley, CA, we understand the importance of providing valuable and evidence-based information to our audience. In this blog post, we will delve into a commonly asked question: “Does smoking weed cause acne?” We will explore the potential relationship between cannabis use and its impact on skin health, backed by scientific evidence and expert insights. So let’s embark on this journey to uncover the truth.

What Is Acne, and What Causes It?

Before delving into the connection between cannabis and acne, it’s essential to understand acne itself. Acne is a common skin condition characterized by the presence of pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, and inflammation. It occurs when hair follicles become clogged with oil and dead skin cells, leading to the growth of bacteria and the formation of acne lesions. Factors such as genetics, hormones, diet, stress, and skincare habits can all influence the development and severity of acne.

What is Marijuana? 

Derived from the cannabis plant, marijuana encompasses dried or ground parts of the plant, commonly smoked or incorporated into edibles like baked goods and candies. Two primary components define marijuana’s effects: cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). These elements contribute to the various ways individuals experience and interact with marijuana.

Types of Marijuana

  1. Cannabis Sativa:

    • Sativa strains are known for their energizing and uplifting effects. They are generally associated with increased creativity, focus, and sociability. Sativa plants tend to have tall and thin leaves, and they are often recommended for daytime use. Common sativa strains include Sour Diesel, Jack Herer, and Durban Poison.
  2. Cannabis Indica:

    • Indica strains are known for their relaxing and sedative effects. They are often chosen for relaxation, stress relief, and sleep aid. Indica plants typically have broader leaves and a shorter, bushier stature. Common indica strains include Granddaddy Purple, OG Kush, and Northern Lights.
  3. Cannabis Ruderalis:

    • Cannabis ruderalis is a less common and smaller species of cannabis. It is often found in regions with short growing seasons, and it has less THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) content compared to sativa and indica. Ruderalis is not as widely cultivated for recreational use but is sometimes used in breeding hybrid strains for specific characteristics.
  4. Hybrid Strains:

    • Hybrid strains are created by crossbreeding sativa and indica plants. Hybrids aim to combine the desirable characteristics of both types. There are three main subcategories of hybrids:
      • Sativa-Dominant Hybrids: These hybrids lean more toward the energizing effects of sativa.
      • Indica-Dominant Hybrids: These hybrids have more relaxing and sedative effects similar to indica.
      • Balanced Hybrids: These hybrids aim to provide a mix of both sativa and indica effects.
  5. Hemp:

    • Hemp is a variety of Cannabis sativa that is cultivated for industrial purposes. It has low THC content and is used for products such as fiber, textiles, paper, and CBD (cannabidiol) extraction. Hemp is not typically used for recreational or medicinal purposes due to its low THC levels.

It’s important to note that the effects of marijuana can vary widely among individuals, and the classification into sativa, indica, or hybrid does not strictly dictate the effects experienced. The THC and CBD content, as well as individual factors, play a significant role in the overall experience. Additionally, the legality of marijuana varies by jurisdiction, and its use should comply with local laws and regulations.

Marijuana Street Names

These names can vary regionally and may change over time. Here are some common street names for marijuana:

  1. Weed
  2. Pot
  3. Herb
  4. Bud
  5. Ganja
  6. Mary Jane
  7. Dope
  8. Grass
  9. Joint
  10. Blunt
  11. Spliff
  12. Reefer
  13. Cannabis
  14. Trees
  15. Hash

Methods of Consumption:

Exploring the diverse methods of marijuana consumption sheds light on the versatility of this substance in the hands of users. Beyond traditional inhalation through smoking, individuals may incorporate marijuana into edibles, offering an alternative and discreet avenue for consumption. Understanding the various modes of intake provides insights into the spectrum of choices individuals have when engaging with marijuana.

The Components of Marijuana:

  1. Cannabidiol (CBD):

    • Non-Psychoactive: CBD is known for its non-psychoactive properties, making it a component associated with potential therapeutic benefits without inducing a “high.”
    • Medical Applications: Widely researched for its potential in managing various health conditions, CBD has gained recognition for its role in medical treatments.
  2. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC):

    • Psychoactive Element: THC is responsible for the psychoactive effects of marijuana, influencing mood, perception, and cognitive functions.
    • Euphoric Sensations: The “high” associated with marijuana use is primarily attributed to the presence of THC.

The Role of Weed

Cannabis contains various compounds, including cannabinoids such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), as well as numerous other chemicals. These compounds interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in regulating various physiological processes, including skin function and inflammation. While research on the effects of cannabis on skin health is still limited, some studies suggest potential links between cannabis use and acne.

The Impact of Cannabis on Hormones

Hormonal imbalances are a significant contributor to acne development. Some studies suggest that THC might affect hormone levels, particularly testosterone. Increased testosterone levels could lead to the overproduction of sebum, potentially exacerbating acne symptoms.

Inflammation and Skin Health

Inflammation is a common trigger for acne breakouts. While CBD has shown anti-inflammatory properties, the impact of THC on inflammation is less clear. Some researchers believe that THC might promote inflammation, which could worsen existing acne conditions.

Cannabis and the Endocannabinoid System

The endocannabinoid system plays a crucial role in maintaining skin health. CBD has been praised for its potential to regulate the endocannabinoid system and improve skin conditions. However, more research is needed to fully understand how cannabis impacts this intricate system concerning acne.

Smoking Weed and Skin Irritation

Inhaling smoke, whether from cannabis or tobacco, can irritate the skin, especially in individuals already prone to skin sensitivity. This irritation may exacerbate existing acne or trigger breakouts in some cases.

Personal Hygiene and Acne

Apart from the potential physiological impact of cannabis, there’s also a behavioral aspect to consider. Some individuals who smoke weed might neglect proper skincare due to intoxication, leading to a lack of hygiene that can contribute to acne problems.

Does Smoking Weed Cause Acne?

The relationship between smoking weed and acne is not fully understood, and research on this topic is limited. While some studies suggest potential associations between cannabis use and acne, the evidence is mixed, and causality has not been firmly established. Here’s what we know based on current research:

Several factors may contribute to the potential association between cannabis use and acne:

  1. Sebaceous Gland Activity: THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis, has been shown to increase the activity of the sebaceous glands, which are responsible for producing oil (sebum) in the skin. Excessive sebum production can contribute to clogged pores and acne development.

  2. Inflammation: Both THC and CBD possess anti-inflammatory properties, which may have implications for acne management. While inflammation is a key component of acne development, the effects of cannabinoids on skin inflammation are complex and may vary depending on factors such as dosage and formulation.

  3. Hormonal Effects: Cannabis use has been associated with alterations in hormone levels, including changes in testosterone and estrogen levels. Hormonal imbalances can influence sebum production and contribute to acne development, particularly in individuals who are predisposed to hormonal acne.

  4. Smoking and Skin Health: Smoking cannabis, whether through joints, pipes, or other methods, exposes the skin to harmful toxins and carcinogens, which can have detrimental effects on skin health. Smoking is also known to impair circulation and oxygen delivery to the skin, which may affect its overall health and vitality.

Stress and Acne Connection

Stress is a well-known factor that can worsen acne. While some people use cannabis to relax and de-stress, excessive or chronic use could lead to the opposite effect, potentially exacerbating acne symptoms.


While the relationship between cannabis use and acne is still not fully understood, emerging evidence suggests that there may be associations between the two. Factors such as sebaceous gland activity, inflammation, hormonal effects, and smoking may all contribute to the potential impact of cannabis on skin health and acne development. However, it’s essential to recognize that individual responses to cannabis can vary, and not everyone who uses cannabis will experience acne as a result.

Ultimately, maintaining good skincare habits, managing stress levels, and adopting a balanced lifestyle are key factors in promoting healthy skin. If you’re concerned about acne or its potential relationship to cannabis use, consulting with a dermatologist or healthcare provider can provide personalized guidance and treatment options tailored to your needs.

Remember, while cannabis may offer potential benefits for some individuals, moderation and informed decision-making are essential when it comes to cannabis use and overall health and well-being.

Seeking Treatment? We Can Help!

At California Prime Recovery, as an in-network provider we work with most insurance plans, such as:

If you or a loved one are struggling with mental health challenges or substance abuse, reach out to California Prime Recovery today. Our team of compassionate professionals is here to support your journey towards lasting well-being. Give us a call at 866-208-2390



While smoking weed may contribute to acne development in some cases, it is not the sole cause. Hormonal imbalances, bacteria, and inflammation also play significant roles.

CBD shows promise in addressing acne due to its anti-inflammatory properties, but individual results may vary.

Yes, alternative methods such as using topical CBD products may have fewer impacts on the skin compared to smoking.

If you suspect that cannabis is aggravating your acne or causing other health issues, consider reducing or stopping its use and consult with a healthcare professional.

California Prime Recovery offers personalized addiction treatment programs that address cannabis addiction and related concerns. Contact us for assistance and support.

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