It is unlikely that smoking weed causes acne. However, some people who already have acne might find that it worsens or improves if they smoke marijuana. Testosterone levels, behavioral changes, and skin healing time can all influence acne, and these factors all have a link to smoking weed.

There are not many scientific studies looking into the direct effects of marijuana on acne. More research is likely in the future, though, as more and more states in the United States are legalizing recreational cannabis use.

Keep reading to learn more about the link between smoking weed and acne. We also discuss some other side effects of smoking weed and other possible causes of acne.

a teenage boy looking at his acne in the mirror and wondering if the weed is smoking could be a cause of the outrbreakShare on Pinterest
Smoking weed may have an effect on existing acne.

There is no evidence that smoking weed causes acne, but it could make existing acne worse. This effect may occur due to behavioral changes relating to marijuana or because of the effects of smoking on the body.

Smoking weed can change a person’s behavior. They may feel lethargic or have an increased appetite. Diet, hygiene, and stress are not causes of acne, but these factors could make breakouts worse if a person already has acne.

Increased appetite

An increased appetite may lead people to choose fast food or processed foods that are high in sugar, fat, and refined carbohydrates. Eating these foods can raise blood sugar levels.

There is some evidence that this may increase inflammation, which can cause the body to produce more sebum. Sebum is oil that the glands on the skin produce. If the body makes too much sebum, it can stick dead skin cells together, forming plugs that clog pores in the skin and make acne worse.

Hormone level changes

Marijuana may also cause a brief rise in testosterone levels. Testosterone is a hormone in the body. Both males and females have this hormone, and the amount in the body changes over time.

Levels of this hormone increase during puberty, which experts believe to be a trigger for acne. Higher testosterone levels may increase the amount of sebum that the body makes, potentially explaining why many teenagers develop this skin condition.

Therefore, there is a possibility that a rise in testosterone resulting from marijuana may increase the risk of acne. However, the rise in testosterone levels due to smoking weed is very small, and the evidence comes from a single study. More research will be necessary to confirm this link.


No clear link exists between smoking and acne, but smoking can speed up skin aging, reduce blood flow to the skin, and increase healing time. Some research suggests that people who smoke have a higher risk for inflammatory skin diseases.

Smoking weed with tobacco is likely to have some effect on the skin over time. Pimples could take longer to heal, and inflammation may be worse.

Alternative ways of consuming weed, rather than smoking it, include edibles and using a vaporizer.

Smoking weed affects people differently. The effects can vary depending on the strength of the active ingredients and the method of taking it.

Marijuana releases dopamine in the brain, creating the high feeling that people associate with the drug. It can, therefore, affect mood, how the brain processes information, breathing, heart rate, and appetite.

More research into marijuana will help people understand the health effects. Possible side effects of smoking weed include:

  • problems with memory, focus, and learning
  • increased heart rate
  • lung damage and increased risk for lung disease
  • feelings of paranoia or anxiety

In some cases, marijuana can cause an allergic reaction. This reaction can happen when a person touches the plant or hemp products, as well as when they smoke weed. It may cause a rash, hives, breathing difficulties, sneezing, itching, or watering eyes.

Although there is no known cause of acne, genetics and hormones are likely to play a role. Acne occurs when the body produces too much of an oil called sebum, which combines with dead skin cells to block pores. Bacteria can become trapped in the pores and multiply, causing redness and swelling.

Stress, eating certain foods, or having poor hygiene could make a breakout worse. Other common triggers can include:

  • some medication, such as steroids
  • some cosmetics
  • sweat or bacteria clogging the pores

Acne is a medical condition. Severe acne needs specific treatment, which is usually in the form of prescription medication, such as antibiotics or topical skin cream. Over-the-counter products containing salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide can often help clear up minor breakouts.

People may find that using a mild cleanser helps keep the skin clean. They can also try numerous natural remedies to see whether any are effective in treating acne and acne flare-ups. Read about these remedies here.

Smoking weed is unlikely to cause acne, but it may lead to some behavioral changes that could make existing acne worse.

There is a possible link between smoking weed and a rise in testosterone levels. Although this effect is likely to be small, there is a slight risk that higher testosterone levels may trigger acne breakouts.

Until more research is available, any link between smoking weed and acne remains unclear.