Does Weed Help With Acne? Relief & Benefits -

Does Weed Help With Acne? Relief & Benefits

This post is part of our Best Dispensaries in Arizona series, brought to you by SWC Arizona.

Acne. It’s unsightly, uncomfortable, and it can be a downright miserable condition that impacts over 50 million Americans today.  While not life-threatening, acne can certainly put a kibosh on your social life as well as your confidence.  If you can relate, you might be wondering, does weed help with acne?  We’re here to provide answers to that question and probe the potential of marijuana acne treatment.

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Mistakenly associated with teenage puberty – acne is one of the most common skin conditions affecting people in the nation – and it is not a condition reserved for teens.  In fact, acne is an equal opportunity antagonist, affecting almost every gender and age.  

If you suffer from acne, you might have the impression that avoiding it is all about clean skin.  That’s not necessarily true either.  Yes, poor hygiene can cause acne – but other factors such as genetics, stress levels, environment, and hormones can also play a part in this dreaded skin condition.  Given this, does weed help with acne? Read on to find out. 

How Does Weed Help With Acne?

Medical science is increasingly uncovering some eye-opening and surprising benefits of marijuana on various conditions of the body, including acne.  The two primary components of weed are CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).  CBD is the key compound that can potentially improve acne conditions, whereas THC is the psychedelic side of weed (the stuff that makes you feel high).

So, how does weed help with acne, exactly? It has to do with how our built-in endocannabinoid system (ECS) responds to cannabinoids such as CBD.  Our ECS has neurotransmitters that are in charge of managing inflammation.  When consumed for the treatment of acne, CBD can potentially interact with receptors in the nervous system and soothe inflammation in the skin nerves, cells, hair follicles, and sweat glands. The result of this chemical exchange, in some cases, is clearer skin

This chemical interaction can manifest differently for different folks. So, while some clinical studies show that weed can definitely help with acne, other subjects might have different results. However, more research is being done to unveil the myriad of benefits marijuana has on this skin condition, and you should always talk to your doctor before trying it to treat acne.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Cannabis

Is weed anti-inflammatory power and properties a factor in acne improvement? You bet it is. Research shows that CBD is a natural anti-inflammatory, and therefore, it can reduce redness and swelling that typically go hand-in-hand with acne. 

Brace yourself for some science-talk here.  Remember those cannabinoids we talked about earlier? Well, they produce powerful effects such as reducing cell proliferation, and cannabinoids in CBD can also help suppress cytokine production through a process known as induction of apoptosis. All of this results in less inflamed skin, which is a major factor when attempting to curb acne symptoms.

Cannabinoids and Sebum Production

Sebum is a natural oil that our skin secretes as a way to protect us from threats or toxins in our environment. In the case of acne sufferers, the overproduction of sebum can trigger clogged pores which – you guessed it – can lead to acne.

So, does CBD help with cystic acne? Thankfully, clinical studies have shown that cannabinoids in CBD are known to help manage sebum levels. This means fewer pore blockages (and pus-filled cysts as found with cystic acne).  Consequently, less clogging can equate to fewer acne breakouts.

Does Weed Help With Acne

Is Smoking The Only Way To Use Weed To Treat Acne?

No.  If you (and your doctor) decide to use weed for acne, you might not want to smoke it for whatever reason.  Luckily, the science and technology of medical-use marijuana have expanded on the different ways it can be consumed.  Today, you can find topical CBD products (such as oils or creams) that you can put directly on areas of the skin that are affected by acne.  You can also try edibles in the form of CBD gummies or baked goods.  Vaping is another way to consume weed for acne, which can be less harsh than smoking.  

Best Strains For Acne

Studies on cannabis and acne reveal that some strains might be better for the skin condition than others.  The difference is in the levels of THC versus CBD in various strains.  To elaborate, THC has actually been known to amp up the secretion of sebum oils, whereas CBD is shown to have a drying effect and actually reduces the production of sebum.  With this in mind, a strain that is lower in THC and higher in CBD is a better option for treating acne.

Is Sativa or Indica Better For Acne?

Sativa typically has lower levels of CBD and a higher presence of THC.  Alternatively, indica has lower THC and higher levels of CBD.  That said, your best bet for marijuana acne treatment is indica – because it is higher in the CBD anti-inflammatory compounds, and it has less THC which can ramp up the production of pore-clogging sebum oils in the skin. 

How To Purchase Marijuana

Now that you know the science about using weed for acne in your back pocket, it’s time to buy a few buds (or edibles, oils, creams – whatever you please) and see how it might ease your acne symptoms.  The trick to purchasing the best weed for your needs is to find the right dispensary.  

Whether you are shopping in California or looking for a dispensary in Arizona – find a reputable seller that has attentive, knowledgeable staff.  You also want to purchase from a licensed dispensary, and it doesn’t hurt to ask around to find the best dispensary near you.  

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Is It Possible for Weed to Cause Acne?

Before you take the plunge and use weed to help with acne, you might wonder- does weed make acne worse?  It’s a possibility.  As we mentioned earlier – studies show that high THC levels can lead to higher production of sebum oils. In turn, this can lead to clogged pores, which can result in an acne breakout.  

Furthermore, regular (or excessive) smoking can clog pores too – so that can potentially thwart your efforts.  Other studies show that weed can affect the endocrine system and marijuana high in THC levels can also increase testosterone levels – all of which could potentially exacerbate an acne condition.  

You should know that studies on the effects of weed on acne are still ongoing, and they are far from conclusive.  It’s also worth mentioning that everybody is different and can experience different results.

Key Takeaways On Weed And Acne

At this point, we hope we’ve slaked your curiosities about using weed to treat or ease acne symptoms.  To further help you make an informed decision, here are a few parting points we’d like to recapitulate:

  • Acne (although irritating) is a common, non-life-threatening skin condition that affects over 50 million Americans.
  • Evidence shows that CBD cannabinoids can potentially reduce the production of pore-clogging sebum – a factor that contributes to acne.
  • Alternatively, high THC levels could increase sebum production, leading to acne flare-ups.
  • Receptors in the brain interact with CBD to reduce inflammation in skin cells, hair follicles, and sweat glands.
  • The indica strain is better for acne than sativa because it has more CBD and less THC.
  • It’s important to consult with a medical doctor about using weed for acne and to determine the right type of cannabis is best for your situation. 


We hope we gave you the answers you were looking for to finally address the question, “Does weed help with acne?”  Because everyone responds to marijuana differently, using weed could absolutely be a game-changer for your acne. Ultimately, you and your doctor or dermatologist should be able to determine the best weed solutions for your specific skin type and level of acne.

Media credits: Images of weed use for acne in this article are copyright of

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