Today, we’re asking the important questions. The subject is marijuana and its effect on skin health — and some of the things we have to share might surprise you. If you’re ready to venture down the rabbit hole, read on…
In this article we discuss the following:
- Is Smoking Marijuana Bad for Your Skin?
- Health Benefits of Cannabis on Skin
Is Smoking Marijuana Bad for Your Skin?
The words marijuana and health are being used more and more frequently in sentences with one another, usually within the context of debate. There are great arguments for both sides when it comes to deciding whether marijuana is bad for your skin or not, and hopefully we can share some additional light on the matter.
We’ve broken our discussion up into condition types, as opposed to just giving a blanket ruling over this medicinal herb for skin in general. It’s always better to look at a specific subject and contextualize the condition, as opposed to ruling something out simply because it is objectively negative in another context. Life isn’t that black and white — so let’s dive in, shall we?
Does Smoking Weed Cause Acne?
The burning question: can weed make you break out? The answer, not necessarily — unless you have little to no control of your behavior when under the influence. There is no scientific evidence to support the notice that smoking weed can be directly linked to breakouts; on the contrary, smoking marijuana may actually help acne-ridden skin to some degree; Veronica White from the Lux Pot Shop in Seattle elaborates:
“Cannabis-based skincare can be really effective at relieving the symptoms of inflammatory skin conditions, especially when used on a routine basis. Outside of its anti-inflammatory properties, cannabis also has antifungal and antibacterial benefits that some have successfully utilized in the form of acne-fighting face creams.”
Veronica adds that while cannabis can be beneficial for your acne skin conditions, she has one piece of advice: “Try not to smoke in small, enclosed spaces. Hotboxing might get you higher, but if you do it frequently enough it might cause you to break out. I’ve been there, and it’s not fun!” — good to know!
Using a marijuana acne treatment is all good and well, but one needs to retain self control when high. It’s no secret that marijuana can influence one’s appetite, and cause one to pig out even when they’re not necessarily in need of food. This kind of sporadic eating can affect the skin and cause breakouts, so be mindful!
Does Smoking Weed Make You Look Older?
Perhaps a question even more burning than the last: does smoking weed make you age faster? Unfortunately, this answer is less kind. Marijuana does indeed affect the skin in a way that results in the appearance of aging; an increase of about 11% in age is thought to be associated with this plant medicine. This means that if you are 30, you will age to look about 33.
Beth Hawkes (MSN, RN-BC), owner of Nursecode, gave us a more professional play by play: “When marijuana is smoked, it deprives the skin of oxygen and causes accelerated aging. The toxic effects lead to wrinkles while also compromising collagen production which provides structural strength for protection against air pollution or inflammation in our environment – both factors that can prematurely age human tissue!”
According to Beth, marijuana smoke is even worse for your health than tobacco! “In a study conducted on rats, exposure to secondhand marijuana fumes had several detrimental effects. The blood vessels were damaged more quickly,” says Beth.
Does Smoking Weed Dry Out Your Eyes?
Ever wonder why you can always spot a stoner based on their eyes? Dry eye syndrome is a guaranteed side effect when smoking this majestic plant, and is the reason why so many smokers carry eye drops with them. That said, does marijuana dehydrate you? No, there is no evidence to support the notion that cannabis itself can cause dehydration, and what is occurring in the eyes has nothing to do with fluid levels in the body.
When the eyes become dry due to smoking, what’s actually happening is that the CB1 and CB2 receptors are becoming locked by the components of the herb, and thus cease production of saliva and tears as the body normally would.
Interestingly, there are some signs that point to marijuana actually helping the appearance of bloodshot eyes. Hannah Dworkin, leader & recruiter of US Scrap Yard, explains:
“It is possible that marijuana can improve blood flow to bloodshot eyes by weakening the arteries that carry blood to the eyes. The outcome is that blood arteries are obstructed and the skin is deprived of oxygen — which isn’t a good thing. Smoking marijuana contains a high concentration of hydrocarbons.”
She adds that one can’t define smoke in any other way than that: it’s just smoke. “All of our body organelles would be better off if they were completely free of it,” says Hannah.
Does Smoking Weed Cause Wrinkles?
Rapid aging is a given with smoking in any form, but the severity of wrinkles and their appearance is always up for question. Well, remember those hydrocarbons that Hannah spoke of in the aforementioned section? They’ll shed some light on this subject.
“Since smoking marijuana contains a high concentration of hydrocarbons, the outcome is that blood arteries are obstructed and the skin is deprived of oxygen. As a result of the negative effects, your skin ages more rapidly,” explains Hannah.
She adds that when skin-producing connective tissue comes into contact with your skin, it gets damaged. “There are irritants and contaminants in the air that do not harm collagen since it is structurally connected to the human body. Skin suppleness is lost when collagen is damaged, leading to wrinkles and an appearance of aging.”
Does Smoking Marijuana Cause Eczema?
For this one, the answer seems to be a resounding “no”! Practicing dermatologist, Viktoryia Kazlouskaya, had a lot to share with us on the matter: “There is now pretty solid data that CBD and marijuana may help in some skin conditions, especially those associated with itching.”
Viktoryia explains that, recently, an endocannabinoid system was discovered in the skin and it is postulated that marijuana may play a role in downregulating it and fighting with inflammation. “More solid research is still needed to find out the best formulations, dosages and ways of administration because not all preparations are the same,” she adds.
These studies could make great strides within the cannabis eczema industries, and help millions who battle these inflammatory skin conditions day by day.
Does Smoking Cause Red Face?
Given that smoking causes a distinct contraction of blood vessels throughout the body, it would only make sense that this activity wouldn’t cause flushing of the face, right?
Wrong. New studies are confirming that nicotine has the ability to produce new, unwanted blood vessels in the skin lining that it is then able to flush through. These are unnecessary extra vessels that the body does not need, and we do not yet know the extent of the damage that is caused when such an occurrence is forced.
In short, if you’re ever red in the face after your lunchtime fag, this is the reason why!
Health Benefits of Cannabis on Skin
While smoking will always have its downfalls, one shouldn’t rule out the potential that cannabis and CBD have in terms of head and wellness, particularly when it comes to the skin. Remember, one doesn’t have to physically smoke the plant in order to reap the benefits; there are many ways to take advantage of the healing properties of the cannabis plant without ever having to light a joint.
For example, David Tracy, owner of Dreamland Organics, sells a CBD salve that is made from organic hemp flower. “I use the salve for cuts and scratches I get around the farm and it definitely speeds up the healing time. My mother has used our organic CBD salve to heal her skin after overexposure to the sun. My girlfriend has used our CBD salve for a sore back, as has one of our influencers, Brain Maxwell, who is an MMA fighter,” says David.
He adds that all in all, CBD is an anti-inflammatory, so applying it as a topical can aid in skin irritations of all kinds including rashes, acne and cuts or scrapes. This is but one example of how one can reap the health benefits of the cannabis plant and not necessarily have to smoke it up.
Smoking Weed and Collagen
This is one area where the findings are pretty solid and there is little room for debate. As we heard earlier from Beth Hawkes (MSN, RN-BC), “The toxic effects of smoking lead to wrinkles while also compromising collagen production which provides structural strength for protection against air pollution or inflammation in our environment.”
The effects of smoking, be it weed or nicotine, are detrimental to the collagen found in the human skin — there is no other way to frame it. Of course, one can always take measures to increase collagen levels through supplements and a very strategic diet, but usually the rate of loss far exceeds the rate that collagen can be replenished.
However… all is not lost — read the next section to discover where there is hope!
Cannabinoids for Wrinkles
Ironically, there are studies that show that ingesting CBD properties can help reduce signs of collagen loss and wrinkles as a result. Smoking weed might kill off collagen, but taking a CBD supplement of some sort is shown to replenish collagen colonies, resulting in firmer skin and minimal wrinkling.
This is just one of those hilarious dichotomies that come with being a citizen on planet Earth; the very thing that causes the problem, is also somehow the solution.
To get the CBD benefit for your skin without the act of smoking, either look into a CBD tincture that you can incorporate into your daily self care routine, or invest in CBD infused skincare products that provide a topical solution for collagen-loss.
Medical Marijuana for Eczema
It would be ignorant to say that there are not a myriad of medical marijuana health benefits, and the effect that marijuana has on eczema-suffering skin is one of them.
Like most skin conditions, eczema usually only responds to steroid-rich salves that can gently burn away the condition and bring things back into balance. Using steroids on the body isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, so the fact that CBD-rich products are offering the same effect is pretty revolutionary.
Ashuni Perez from Parkdale Brass knows a thing or two about this very subject. “Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid known for its skin health benefits, like reducing inflammation and pain associated with acne, when applied topically. Therefore, cannabidiol can help treat chronic dry skin, a skin condition that can cause the skin to crack, leaving it vulnerable to bacteria and germs that can worsen skin,” says Ashuni.
Cannabis and Skin Aging
By now we know that there is a direct link between smoking cannabis, and the effect that it can have on both skin and aging. Hannah Dworkin put it simply when she told us how “skin suppleness is lost when collagen is damaged, leading to wrinkles and an appearance of aging.”
What we’ve yet to speak to, however, is the potential that cannabis holds as an anti-aging treatment when in a non-smokeable format. Not to be confused with CBD, CBG is a lesser known cannabinoid that can be derived from the cannabis plant.
In recent studies, CBG has shown significant anti-aging properties as it’s a strong fighter of inflammation and oxidative stress. Using it topically offers very different effects to the skin compared to smoking a blunt.
In layman’s terms, CBD would essentially work to protect your unique DNA code from damage, and in turn this would naturally slow down the aging process.
Does CBD Oil Help Rosacea
Becoming red in the face after smoking a joint is very different to suffering from chronic rosacea throughout one’s life. Rosacea can be thought of as chronic blushing; a permanent red-in-the-face condition. It can develop into worse states, including small red bumps and even pus-filled nodules in more severe instances.
Rosacea has been linked to an overactive immune system, so CBD has the ability to calm this down and thus provide relief to the redness that won’t subside. It is also thought that most conditions of rosacea are triggered by stress and anxiety, so taking CBD oil regularly can also bring this back into balance.
Does Marijuana Help Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a condition whereby the skin becomes excessively dry in certain areas, to the point where the body starts to produce extra skin over said area to try and help, creating a layered zone of problem skin and dryness.
Keratinocytes are what we call the immature skin cells that get produced in abundance when psoriasis is detected in the body. Limiting the production of keratinocyte cells would be the most obvious way to control this skin condition, but it is far easier said than done.
There are now numerous studies that suggest that cannabis could help slow the rapid production rates of keratinocyte cells, giving the skin a chance to restore itself without the bombardment of immature cells.
Does Marijuana Help with Skin Rashes
Marijuana has anti-inflammatory properties, and these will no doubt have some sort of positive effect on any skin that they come into contact with. Products and serums containing cannabis properties are favored worldwide by people who suffer from chronic rash conditions, as they offer a more gentle and natural treatment to the skin that targets the root of the problem far more effectively than chemical alternatives.
The natural anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties found in cannabis are beneficial to any kind of skin rash, as no matter what triggered the outbreak, it is usually highly likely that some fungal rebalancing is all that is required.
Marijuana has a long list of pros, and an equivalent list of cons. The way we see it, one can derive immense benefit from this mystical herb when used in the very right way. If skin health is your main concern, then smoking weed may not be something you want to engage in on a regular basis. That said, for someone who’s mental health is of more importance, they may find that smoking is absolutely necessary.
For skin related concerns and benefits, we’d say use cannabis either topically or orally (swallowed) — keep the smoke at bay unless absolutely necessary. Enjoy the journey!