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Does Smoking Weed Cause Acne?

Does Smoking Weed Cause Acne?

Many marijuana users have wondered, “Does smoking weed cause acne?”

If you’ve ever looked in the mirror and seen large, red bumps on your skin, which can sometimes be painful, then you may be curious, too. Acne is a common and frustrating skin condition that can be caused by a variety of things. From eating too much dairy to hormonal imbalances, sometimes acne is unavoidable. As a Chicago addiction treatment center, we wanted to look into the relationship between marijuana and acne and find out whether there’s any correlation.

What Is Marijuana and What Does It Do?

Also called weed or cannabis, marijuana is a greenish-gray mixture of dried leaves from the Cannabis sativa plant. Weed can be smoked, drank as tea or other drinks, or eaten in food and pastries. The main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a chemical that can be found in the leaves and buds of female cannabis plants. In addition to over 500 other chemicals related to THC, called cannabinoids, THC creates hallucinations, relaxation, and sedation. Although many claim that this drug is safe and non-addictive, weed can cause physical dependence, and many people have experienced adverse reactions or bad tripswhile high on marijuana.

Does Weed Cause Acne?

In a way, yes, marijuana can indirectly cause acne, make existing acne worse, and perpetuate the development of acne. Marijuana can also affect various parts of the body that play a role in acne. Weed increases your hunger, which may cause you to eat certain acne-causing foods. Even the most natural weed can affect your hormonal levels, which directly affects acne and other related skin problems. Long-time marijuana users who have experienced acne may benefit from PHP treatment to help their system slowly eliminate the drug and break this harmful habit.

Why Does Marijuana Cause Acne?

Smoking weed can change a person’s behavior as well as their hygiene, diet, and stress levels. These factors can not only contribute to acne but worsen it as well. Below are some reasons why weed and acne are connected.

Infographic on does weed cause acne

Increased Appetite (Munchies)

“Munchies” is a term used to describe the intense hunger that people often feel after smoking weed. You may have heard people getting the munchies after smoking weed and eating anything in sight, whether it’s healthy or not. Weed makes you hungry because it stimulates a part of the brain called the basal ganglia, which enhances eating pleasure. Smoking weed also impacts the limbic forebrain, which increases food palatability or taste. Basically, when someone is high on marijuana, they’re hungrier, and food tastes better. That’s why marijuana smokers tend to snack on sweet and savory snacks when they have the munchies.

With an increased appetite also comes the likelihood of eating foods that aren’t great for you. Eating foods that are high in fat, sugar, and carbohydrates can raise blood sugar levels and contribute to acne. Common foods that cause acne include chocolate, fast foods, which often contain high amounts of oil and fat, dairy products, and refined grains and sugars, all of which are common ingredients in junk food.

Changes in Hormone Levels

“Marijuana acne” can also occur as a result of hormonal changes. Smoking weed can affect your hormone levels, and any imbalance can lead to acne. A common hormone that causes acne, particularly in teens going through puberty, is testosterone. A recent study on marijuana use and testosterone concentrations among American males found that marijuana use can cause acne by increasing testosterone levels.

Specifically, the THC in cannabis impacts the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that plays a role in regulating body temperature, thirst, and hunger. It also connects the nervous system to the endocrine system, which is responsible for balancing your hormones. In other words, marijuana can cause acne by affecting your hormone levels or endocrine system. This hormonal imbalance contributes to the enlargement of sebaceous glands (glands in the skin that secrete oil into the hair follicles), causing them to release more oil than normal, which can clog pores and lead to acne.

Smoking and Aging

Although there’s no direct correlation between smoking weed and acne, smoking any drug can slow down the aging process and reduce blood flow to the skin, increasing the amount of time it takes to heal itself. This brings us to another common question. Does marijuana help acne? No, it does not. While this may not necessarily cause acne, it can slow down the healing time for any existing acne and contribute to other inflammatory skin diseases.

What Else Do Cannabinoids Do To Your Skin?

Because of their well-known impact on skin health, cannabinoids present serious problems when it comes to treating addiction. Apart from the known associations with acne and early aging, these substances can worsen the challenges faced by those going through addiction treatment. The wider ramifications of substance misuse are closely linked to the harmful effects of cannabis on the skin. 

Cannabinoids can negatively affect the skin in numerous ways, including:

  • Increased vulnerability to infections: Chronic use of cannabinoids, particularly through smoking, weakens the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to skin infections. Open sores and lesions become breeding grounds for bacterial and fungal infections, complicating the already compromised health of those in addiction recovery.
  • Impaired healing processes: Cannabinoids hinder the natural healing processes of the skin. Individuals undergoing addiction treatment may experience prolonged recovery times for wounds and injuries, as cannabinoids interfere with the normal cellular repair mechanisms.
  • Skin-related triggers for relapse: Skin-related concerns induced by cannabinoids can become triggers for relapse. The distress associated with acne, premature aging, or chronic skin conditions may lead individuals to seek solace in substance use, perpetuating the cycle of addiction.

In conclusion, those attempting to traverse the difficult road of addiction rehabilitation have additional obstacles due to the harmful effects of cannabis on the skin. It becomes imperative to address the psychological as well as the physical effects while offering holistic help to individuals who are trying to escape the clutches of substance misuse.

At Banyan Treatment Centers Chicago, we don’t encourage any form of drug use, including substances that are claimed to be natural. Not only does smoking weed cause acne, but it can also affect your lungs and brain. Additionally, synthetic marijuana is a more commonly sold and abused form of weed that’s even more dangerous. As a man-made object, “Spice” contains a variety of chemicals meant to produce more intense side effects similar to those of THC. This is when intervention from capable Illinois rehabs is crucial.

Whether it’s weed or meth, no form of substance abuse is safe. If you know someone with a drug or drinking problem or struggle with one yourself, call Banyan’s Chicago drug rehab today at 888-280-4763 to learn more about our addiction treatment programs.


  1. NCBI - Marijuana use and serum testosterone concentrations among U.S. males
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.