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is weed good for your skin

How does cannabis impact your skin?

From dehydrated skin to dark eye circles, is weed culpable — and can we actually fix these complexion woes?

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    It’s no secret that CBD, hemp seed oil and cannabis sativa seed oil are current ingredient darlings in the beauty industry. Cannabis derivatives contain high amounts of hydrating omega fatty acids, and, in the case of CBD, also has proven anti-inflammatory benefits. And for anyone who is a keen beauty observer, inflammation can be the culprit of many of our complexion woes.

    But are there negative affects that go along with cannabis consumption? Does ingesting cannabis take a toll from the inside out? Can smoking the good stuff come with the same wrinkle-inducing issues as smoking cigarettes?

    How does cannabis impact your skin? Back to video
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    • Can CBD clear-up your complexion? Here’s what you need to know
    • What are cannabis serums and do you actually need one?

    We spoke with Victoria Radford, medical aesthetician and the founder of Radford Studio in Toronto, to get the lowdown on the affects of cannabis consumption on the complexion. Here she answers our pressing skin questions.

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    Recreational cannabis is becoming more mainstream. Does smoking cannabis create the same type of lines around the lips as smoking cigarettes? How can someone combat those lines?

    “This is a very interesting topic for me,” says Radford, who admits that she talks about this topic a lot, but mostly in her studio, not in public. “It’s not black and white. It’s not about the cigarette per se that gives you lines, it’s the repetitive motion of crinkling your mouth [that cause lines and creases].” Radford also adds, if you frequently suck on a lollipop, you smoke a cigarette or smoke cannabis, or simply furrow your brow at a consistent rate, you’re going to develop lines and wrinkles. “It’s not why you’re doing it, it’s that you’re doing it,” she adds. Cigarettes are also proven carcinogens, so they carry more detriments than consuming cannabis, but there will still be side affects of smoking Mary Jane.

    Radford also points out that, “You are your most beautiful when you feel really good about yourself, and that can go either way when you’re smoking weed. If you’re smoking weed and it helps you relax and is enhancing your life, it will continue to enhance your life. If you’re smoking weed and it doesn’t make you feel good, that’s going to have a direct connection to the way you look and feel. That’s the way I think of beauty when it comes to ingesting cannabis. It’s really not about the weed itself, it’s about the intention. With cigarettes, it’s not about the intention.”

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    And of course there are ways to combat any lines and wrinkles that you may get by smoking anything, but that would bring you down the filler and Botox route, which is not for everyone. “You can practice not pursing your lips when you smoke, but doing any repetitive movement, no matter how hydrated you are, is going to create a permanent crease. The only thing to do is fill it with filler or paralyze it with Botox.” Radford is also quick to caution that these “fixes” can change the way the face works and looks, so people need to take all that into account before heading to the dermatologists office.

    Consuming some cannabis can cause dry eyes. Would this have an affect on the skin around the eyes? Is there a way to prevent this from happening?

    Here, Radford says things are a bit more tenable. Cannabis can have a moisture zapping affect on the eyes and mouth, so whenever you’re dehydrating those parts, you’re dehydrating everything. “That, however, can be combatted by rehydrating more often, and by taking it one step further by rehydrating in an alkaline way,” she recommends. According to Radford, smoking anything will create more acid in the body, so she proposes adding a specialty beverage into your daily routine, one that the skin guru actually drinks herself, everyday.

    Her recipe includes adding either lemon, lime or apple cider vinegar to water, along with a pinch of pink Himalayan salt (which helps the body adsorb H20) and a touch of dark maple syrup. Shake it up and drink throughout the day to add a high level of hydration to the body. The lime, lemon or apple cider vinegar are all alkaline, so they will help bring the body back in balance, which in turn will help skin look brighter and feel more hydrated, she says. Also, you can swap them out depending on taste and preference. Radford will also add cayenne pepper to the mix to help boost immune function. Not only does being properly hydrated help the complexion, it also helps us feel less grumpy. Consider that a beauty win-win.

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    Have you read anything about consuming cannabis can be dehydrating for the skin from the inside?

    Radford, who has consumed cannabis herself for some time, doesn’t believe that cannabis can zap moisture from us from the inside outside. “No, nothing on that. It’s not the cannabis, it’s more the smoking of something,” she reiterates.

    Is there any other way that consuming cannabis might affect the complexion?

    “I have sometimes noticed that when someone consumes a considerable amount of cannabis, they can have a little bit of darkness under the eyes,” Radford says. This is because the body will put things into its garbage can, ie. the liver, and if it’s loaded up, the adrenal glands will start working over time. This causes fatigue and dehydration. “Your body is dehydrated, so you need to rehydrate, and also help the adrenal glands with vitamin B12 or a daily B complex,” she recommends.

    “Stress is another thing that is hard on the adrenal glands,” she adds. So if you’re upping your consumption to help deal with stressful situations or because you’re feeling overwhelmed, that might be something to look at as well. Doing things that make us feel healthy and happy should help balance out our adrenals. There’s not one thing that can fix one issue, Radford explains, and our skin is a whole ecosystem, so we need to look at it from multiple angles to figure out the root cause to then provide a potential remedy.

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    From dehydrated skin to dark eye circles, is weed culpable — and can we actually fix these complexion woes?

    Can Smoking Marijuana Create Skin Problems?

    As marijuana is increasingly being legalized for both medical and recreational use, there are many aspects to discover about the plant’s effects on your health. This includes your skin, the body’s largest organ.

    There’s some talk online about marijuana aggravating oily skin and causing acne, while others claim that smoking it can benefit your skin.

    The bottom line is there isn’t enough scientific evidence available to establish links between smoking marijuana and your skin health. So far, research into any skin benefits of marijuana have looked at topical uses only.

    Let’s cover the claims about smoking marijuana and its effects on the skin, both good and bad.

    Marijuana contains a variety of naturally occurring compounds that primarily affect your central nervous system (which includes the brain).

    The plant itself has increasingly gained a reputation for its cannabidiol (CBD) content, which may affect your brain but doesn’t get you high. Another chemical called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the substance that does get users high.

    All marijuana contains THC, but CBD, as a derivative, doesn’t have THC. However, CBD oil production currently isn’t regulated, so quality and concentration likely varies.

    Traditional marijuana has hallucinogenic effects, which are attributed to THC. It can also cause side effects that mostly affect your brain, lungs, and heart. Another side effect is dry mouth.

    However, there’s no concrete proof that marijuana can dry out your skin and perhaps lead to acne and other skin care concerns .

    It’s well-established that smoking tobacco products such as cigarettes can lead to long-term skin damage.

    You may notice that people who smoke tend to have more fine lines and wrinkles compared to those who don’t. This may be due to the effect that tobacco has on collagen content in the skin. Collagen is the natural protein in your skin responsible for elasticity and plumpness.

    Still, it’s not clear whether these same effects apply to smoking marijuana. While cannabis itself isn’t considered carcinogenic, the smoke from both tobacco and possibly marijuana contain carcinogens, with tobacco smoke having the most-established negative effects.

    On the flip side, the marijuana plant itself has been found to have anti-inflammatory components .

    There are conflicting claims on the internet about marijuana and your skin, none of which are based on scientific studies.

    Some suggest marijuana can potentially benefit your skin and keep sebum at bay. Sebum is the oil produced from sebaceous glands that can contribute to acne. Others claim that it can make your skin age more rapidly and perhaps worsen inflammatory skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, and rosacea. A lot of the confusion has to do with the way marijuana is used.

    One possible benefit of smoking marijuana is its ability to reduce the risk of certain cancers. This may include skin cancer .

    Other preliminary studies show that the anti-inflammatory effects of marijuana could help certain skin diseases , but more clinical trials are needed.

    The truth is that researchers now have more opportunities to study the effects of marijuana on skin health, partly thanks to the legalization of the substance in some states.

    As more studies are conducted on marijuana, the more concrete clinical evidence we will have on its effects on the skin.

    When considering marijuana for skin health, there also seems to be more evidence that topical uses of cannabis, rather than smoking it, may benefit the skin. “Topical” here means applied directly to the skin.

    One review suggested that cannabinoids in marijuana, when applied topically, may produce anti-inflammatory and anti-itching effects for eczema.

    Another study of topical cannabis found that cannabinoids “show promise” to help treat acne due to its anti-inflammatory effects.

    While being around others who smoke marijuana may infrequently lead to a “contact high” from THC, there’s no evidence showing that secondhand marijuana smoke can affect the skin.

    It isn’t well-known what the side effects of inhaling marijuana smoke are, so it’s unclear what the long-term risks associated with secondhand smoke from marijuana might be.

    Very little research has been done to determine whether smoking marijuana can lead to skin problems like acne. Here's what we know so far.