Can Medicinal Marijuana use improve the condition of your skin?

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Marijuana has been the subject of much research in recent times due to the relaxation of its use across many states of the USA. It has been proven to aid in pain relief for chronic conditions such as arthritis, aswell as cancer. But what effect, if any, does marijuana use have on your skin? We thought we’d investigate.

We spoke to two prominent NYC skin specialists about cannabis and the effect it has on a person’s skin. They said that the psychoactive element in cannabis (THC) in theory can lead to increase testosterone levels in the body. Why is this bad? Well, substantial increases in testosterone levels can result in the oil glands in your skin producing more of what is called “sebum oil”, which can lead to acne breakouts. But the amount you have to smoke in order for this to happen is “a bucket load”, say the NYC dermatologists.

The jump in testosterone levels is around three to five percent, which is too low to directly influence a flair up of acne. One thing that could explain the increase in acne when you use cannabis is the fact  that it can lead to the “munchies”, which means you ingest more fatty foods, which then cause acne over a prolonged period of time.

So it appears cannabis has a damaging effect overall on your skin? Well, not exactly. The THC mentioned above has certain anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which can prevent the aging of the skin.


Studies have identified that the THC is able to offer these anti-aging properties in part due to antioxidants present in the THC which are able to neutralize the effects of free radicles, which contribute to skin degradation over time.

However, it is important to consider the way you ingest the cannabis. The dermatologist recommends using a vaporizer rather than smoking marijuana directly. He even recommended a bong as opposed to smoking. There are THC receptors located in the brain, which means that the cannabinoids present in the marijuana are not treated as foreign by our bodies. It has been proven that when the THC receptors are activated, it leads to certain neurotransmitters being produced which help make us feel better, much like the effect serotonin has on the body. Researchers have looked into this area and found a clear connection between marijuana and depression and have discovered that THC (administered in low does) leads to marked drop in depression symptoms. It appears that not only does cannabis help the skin, it could be a vital tool in the fight against mental illness aswell. However, it is important to draw your attention to the fact that too much THC can lead to the opposite effect and increase depressive symptoms.

Other studies conducted suggest that using cannabinoids directly on the skincan be used in the treatment of inflammatory skin diseases. This is at an early stage as these studies were completed on mice, and have yet to transfer to human testing. However, there are various cannabis creams available.

As the research continues apace in the marijuana world, researchers could identify other uses of cannabis and determine a definitive link between cannabis use and skin health. Watch this space!

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