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Marijuana and Your Skin: A Guide
Marijuana and Your Skin: A Guide

Experts say that marijuana may benefit your skin, but it depends on how you use it.

Scientists are uncovering many uses for marijuana, and there’s a growing body of research revealing its effects on our skin.

Studies suggest that toxic byproducts from marijuana smoke may increase skin aging. But other research shows that beneficial compounds in marijuana may improve the skin.

Those who are concerned about showing their age should stay away from smoking marijuana and embrace edibles, vaporizing, and marijuana-based topicals instead.

The Aging Process

The Aging Process
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Many changes in the body lead to aging of the skin. After the age of 20, the skin produces 1% less collagen each year. Collagen helps the skin appear firm and supple, and losing it makes the skin thinner and more brittle.

Also, your skin produces less oil as you age, making it drier. This is why moisturizing gets more and more important as we age. Sun exposure can also cause damage to the skin which contributes to aging and skin cancer.

Finally, environmental pollutants contribute to the aging process. This is why people who smoke cigarettes often look older than non-smokers of the same age.

Can Marijuana Improve Your Skin?

Can Marijuana Improve Your Skin?
(Photo: Shutterstock)

Marijuana contains powerful anti-inflammatories and antioxidants which can protect the skin against damage caused by environmental exposure.

A study published by the National Academy of Sciences in 1998 found that the cannabinoid CBD is a more powerful antioxidant than Vitamins E and C. THC was also found to have antioxidant properties.

Antioxidants protect the skin by neutralizing free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that harm the cells in your body and cause all sorts of damage, from aging to cancer.

The powerful antioxidants in marijuana may fight aging by protecting the cells in your body against free radical damage.

Marijuana products have also been reported to help treat more serious skin problems, such as cancer.

Marijuana activist Rick Simpson famously used marijuana-infused oil to heal a cancerous growth on his arm. He was already using marijuana oil medicinally, so he tried applying some on the growth directly.

Simpson checked his skin after a few days. To his surprise, the carcinoma was gone. Simpson believes the cannabis oil treated his skin cancer where traditional methods failed.

Marijuana’s effects on skin cancer appear to be more than just anecdotal. A 2003 study found that treatment with cannabinoids caused skin cancer cells to die, while leaving healthy cells unharmed.

The experiment was repeated in living mice with skin tumors and the same results were found. Human trials have not been done yet, but the evidence so far is promising.

Marijuana-infused skin creams can also be used to treat rashes, dry skin, and more serious skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis thanks to their anti-inflammatory properties.

Can Marijuana Make Your Skin Worse?

Can Marijuana Make Your Skin Worse?
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While marijuana can be good for your skin when applied topically, vaporized, or eaten, it can also be harmful to your skin if you smoke it.

Smoking marijuana creates many combustion byproducts that can be toxic, such as free radicals and carcinogens. Many of these harmful compounds are also found in cigarette smoke.

Consuming marijuana can also affect your testosterone levels. Testosterone is known to impact the amount of oil your skin produces, particularly in the facial region.

Marijuana smoke can also hamper the collagen production process, causing your skin to become more brittle and dry. Smoking can even make skin conditions like rosacea and psoriasis worse for this same reason.

Another thing to consider is that if you smoke marijuana in a rolled joint, you’re also inhaling compounds from the paper. Rolling papers might be treated with bleach or other chemicals. The combustion byproducts from papers may also be harmful to your skin and can accelerate aging.

Using a bong is a little better than smoking a joint, though not by much. This is because the water filters out some of the pollutants that can harm your skin.

How To Use Marijuana For Healthy Skin

Marijuana cream for good skin
(Photo: Shutterstock)

The method of consumption is important when using marijuana to improve and protect your skin.

Vaporizing has gained in popularity in recent years. Vaporizers heat marijuana to the point where its beneficial cannabinoids are released in a gas that can be inhaled. This avoids creating the harmful toxins found in smoke.

Edibles are another smokeless method of consuming marijuana and its health-promoting ingredients. Marijuana edibles are foods that have been infused with cannabis. Like vaporizing, edibles allow you to consume marijuana’s beneficial compounds while avoiding exposure to any harmful or damaging byproducts.

The best way to use marijuana to improve your skin is to use an infused topical product. If you have access to a dispensary, they will likely have a selection of marijuana-based creams and oils made by licensed manufacturers.

You can also make your own marijuana skin cream at home by following the recipe below.

Cannabis Skin Cream Recipe

Marijuana skin cream from a recipe
(Photo: Shutterstock)

Topical creams containing hemp and marijuana are a great way to improve your skin.

We’ve put together this recipe for a homemade skin treatment. Simply apply the mask to the skin for 15-20 minutes and then wash it off for healthier looking skin.


  • A blender
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • Hemp oil
  • Essential oils, like mint or lavender (optional)


  1. Cut up the avocado and put the pieces in the blender
  2. Add ¼ cup of hemp oil
  3. Add a few drops of your essential oil
  4. Blend until mixed well
  5. Remove the mixture and set aside in a bowl
  6. Prepare a large bowl of steaming hot water
  7. Bow your head over the steam and place a towel over your head to create a facial steam bath. Hold for up to 10 minutes. (This is to open your pores so you get the maximum benefit from the cream)
  8. Apply the mixture to your face as a mask and leave it for 15-20 minutes.
  9. Rinse off the mask and pat your skin dry with a clean towel.

(Recipe adapted from


Marijuana is like a double-edged sword when it comes to your skin. The antioxidants in marijuana seem to have a beneficial, protective effect on the skin. Marijuana also shows promise as a treatment for several skin conditions, including skin cancer.

However, when marijuana is smoked, harmful byproducts can cause free radical damage to the skin and accelerate signs of aging.

The best ways to use marijuana for your skin are vaporizing, edibles, or topicals. When used correctly, marijuana can lead to healthier, more youthful-looking skin.

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