Can Marijuana Use Cause Acne?

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Marijuana is a psychoactive substance that is derived from the cannabis sativa plant. People who use marijuana might smoke, vape, or eat it to experience a high. While marijuana is legal for medical or recreational use in some states, it remains illegal federally.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 52.5 million people reported using marijuana in 2021.[1]

While many people believe marijuana is safe to use, long-term abuse can lead to addiction. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 3 in 10 people who use cannabis develop an addiction.[2]

Not only can marijuana use lead to addiction, but it may cause a variety of adverse side effects. One of the common beliefs is that marijuana use leads to acne. While smoking weed might not directly cause acne breakouts, some of the side effects can increase your chances of experiencing them.

What are the Effects of Marijuana?

When smoked, the effects of marijuana can begin almost immediately. However, people who consume marijuana edibles might not experience the effects for a couple of hours. Additionally, it is important to note that the effects of marijuana can vary depending on the specific strain you use.

The common effects of marijuana include:[3]

  • A rush of euphoria
  • Relaxation
  • Heightened sensory perception
  • Increased laughter
  • Altered perception of time
  • Increased appetite
  • Feelings of anxiety or panic
  • Changes in heart rate
  • Increased risk of psychosis among individuals with mental health conditions

While some people experience a pleasurable high when they consume marijuana, others might deal with dizziness, anxiety, and even nausea. Also, some strains of weed cause more of a depressant effect, while others can have stimulant-like effects.

Can Smoking Weed Cause Acne?

Depending on how you look at it, marijuana may lead to increased acne. While the drug does not directly cause acne breakouts, it can cause side effects that increase your risk of developing acne or pimples. Before you assume that weed is causing your acne, it’s important to consider the other causes of breakouts.

Common causes of acne include:[4]

  • Stress
  • Genetic factors
  • Eating certain foods
  • Poor hygiene
  • Sweat or bacteria clogging your pores
  • Taking medications like steroids
  • Hormonal changes
  • Certain cosmetics and makeup

If you are regularly consuming weed and it is causing you to experience anxiety, eat unhealthy foods, or deal with hormonal changes, it could be causing you to break out. The best way to determine if marijuana is causing your acne is to seek advice from a medical professional.

How Marijuana Can Indirectly Lead to Increased Acne

As stated, marijuana does not directly cause acne.

However, its side effects can make you more prone to it. For example, marijuana can lead to an increased appetite and changes in your hormones. Additionally, if you smoke marijuana, the act of smoking can lead to an increase in acne.

Increased Appetite

If you smoke weed, you have heard of the “munchies.” Having the munchies is a term often used by people who consume marijuana because it can increase your appetite. Many people who smoke cannabis binge on food while they are high. Since marijuana can make you crave unhealthy foods, you could begin to develop acne as a result of what you are eating while you are under the influence.

Hormone Changes

If you develop acne after regular consumption of weed, it could be due to hormonal changes. If you experience a menstrual cycle, you know that hormonal changes can cause acne breakouts. Consuming marijuana can also cause you to experience hormonal changes.

For example, marijuana use can cause a spike in your testosterone levels.[5]  Having high testosterone can lead to acne. As a result, smoking weed regularly can indirectly cause you to develop acne.

Aging Caused by Smoking

Lastly, smoking any substance can slow down the aging process, reducing blood flow to the skin and making it more difficult for it to heal. If you already struggle with acne, smoking cannabis can cause your acne to heal slower, leading to a worsening of your symptoms.

Find Help for Marijuana Abuse and Addiction

If you or a loved one regularly abuses cannabis, you could be suffering from an addiction. While marijuana can indirectly cause acne, it can also cause other adverse effects on your life. Attending a drug rehab program can help you gain the skills you need to cope with uncomfortable emotions without feeling the need to abuse substances.

At New Jersey Interventions, we can connect you with a top-rated marijuana addiction treatment center near you. Contact us today to get started.


  1. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): What is the scope of cannabis use in the United States, Retrieved November 2023 From
  2. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Addiction (Marijuana or Cannabis Use Disorder), Retrieved November 2023 From
  3. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): What are marijuana’s effects, Retrieved November 2023 From
  4. The National Library of Medicine (NLM): Acne: more than skin deep, Retrieved November 2023 From
  5. The National Library of Medicine (NLM): Marijuana use and serum testosterone concentrations among U.S. males, Retrieved November 2023 From

Medically Reviewed: November 7, 2023

Dr Ashley

Medical Reviewer

Chief Editor


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Dr Ashley Murray obtained her MBBCh Cum Laude in 2016. She currently practices in the public domain in South Africa. She has an interest in medical writing and has a keen interest in evidence-based medicine.

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

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