Does Smoking Weed Make You Age?

weed and skin aging
By Halla Mannering Updated March 8th

Fact-checked by Alexandra Arnett, MS

Medically reviewed by Dr. Brian Kessler, MD

We all have one thing in common: aging. Aging is a natural process that gradually happens to everyone, but there are certain things that can speed up the aging process. Certain lifestyle factors that can speed up aging are important to be aware of, especially if you’re going for an ageless look.

There are a few lifestyle factors that are known for increasing the aging progression, including stress and smoking cigarettes. Staying away from these things won’t permanently pause the aging process, but it can reduce the early onset of some of the visual effects.

If you’re a cannabis user, then you may be wondering whether or not cannabis is one of those lifestyle factors that can accelerate aging. In order to better answer this question, let's do a deep dive into whether or not there is a correlation between cannabis and aging.

As always, it’s important to note that everyone has different reactions to cannabis. Some may experience more aging due to cannabis than others due to their own biological factors and characteristics.

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What is Skin Aging?

Skin is one of the things most commonly affected by the aging process. Skin wrinkling as time goes on is a normal process, but certain things can speed this up. One of those things is UV light, which can reduce the skin's natural elasticity. Smoking is another factor that can lead to increased, more prominent wrinkles earlier in life.1

Signs of aging include:

  • Wrinkling
  • Decreased elasticity
  • Rough texture
  • Laxity

Watching out for these signs is a good idea if aging is something that you want to be aware of. While aging is a natural process, there are some things that you should avoid if you want to appear younger. Let’s go over some of the common causes of accelerated aging.

Common causes of skin aging include:

  • Sun exposure
  • Gravity
  • Smoking
  • Poor diet
  • Alcohol
  • Pollution
  • Poor hydration

Skin aging is a natural process. There are some things that you can do to slow down that process, and there are also some actions that can speed up that process. Let’s dive into whether or not smoking weed can make you age (hint: it’s possible that it can).

Does Smoking Weed Make You Age?

While it is possible that cannabis may accelerate the signs of aging, this is primarily dependent on the method of consumption.

Smoking cannabis may lead to accelerated aging, but it isn’t just cannabis. Vaping and smoking cigarettes can also speed up the aging process, so it’s best to stay away from these things if you’re worried about aging.1 One of the best ways to avoid the effects of cannabis on the aging process is to opt for products that aren’t smokable.

Smoking cannabis can have noticeable effects on the skin, but that’s not the only part of the body that can be impacted by cannabis use. Interestingly, research has found that cannabis is linked with epigenetic changes that correlate with sped-up aging. However, this research noted that the most effects resulted from smoking cannabis.2

There haven’t been many studies that have examined cannabis and aging, but it’s likely that smoking cannabis may have the potential to accelerate the aging process. There is a significant need for more research to understand how cannabis and aging are correlated. 

Is Smoking Weed Bad for Your Skin?

When understanding how weed affects the skin, it’s important to consider consumption methods. What method an individual uses can significantly impact their skin, so it’s an essential factor to consider.

We’ve already discussed that smoking weed can have negative impacts on the skin. This is similar to smoking other substances, like tobacco, that can have the same impact on the skin. Secondhand smoke is another thing to consider, as it can also potentially negatively impact the skin.

While smoking cannabis can have negative impacts on the skin, that isn’t the same for all methods of consumption. In fact, topical cannabis products may actually be good for the skin. There hasn’t been significant research to examine the effects of cannabis on the skin. Still, topical products could likely have a variety of benefits both for the skin itself and for treating various skin conditions.3

Cannabis has a variety of impacts on the skin, and it doesn’t just stop with aging. Some people believe that cannabis can cause acne, but there isn’t any significant research to back up this claim. It’s likely that other factors, such as diet and hormonal changes, would contribute more to acne than cannabis use.

In general, smoking weed can be bad for your skin. Smoke itself can be very harmful to the skin, so it’s less about the compounds in cannabis and more about the consumption method. It is possible that some topical products can have a positive impact on the skin, so that’s an important factor to consider.

What Other Ways Can Weed Smoking Cause Premature Aging?

how smoking can affect your looks

Smoking marijuana can have negative impacts on the teeth and gums, but it isn’t the same for other methods of consumption.

Another important way that cannabis can impact the body is in the lungs. While cannabis may not have the same carcinogenic properties that tobacco does, that doesn’t mean that smoking is good for the lungs.4,5 In fact, smoking cannabis can have negative impacts on the lungs, reducing lung capacity and potentially damaging lung cells.

If you want to avoid these health effects, then you could consider trying another consumption method. An edible or topical option can be a great way to make sure that you’re still getting the positive benefits of cannabis without dealing with some of the adverse effects that can come from smoking it.

How to Minimize or Stop Premature Aging When Using Cannabis

At this point, you may be wondering what you can do to stop premature aging when using cannabis. Let’s go over some important things to consider if this is one of your goals.

Staying away from smokable products is one of the best ways to maintain the integrity of your skin. Opting for an edible option is a great way to still get high without dealing with some of the harmful skin consequences that can come from smoking cannabis.

If you are going to be smoking cannabis, it’s important to do it in an area that’s well-ventilated. This is a good rule of thumb in general, not just when it comes to smoking cannabis.

When it comes to reducing premature aging, it’s best to stay away from all smoking – not just cannabis. Smoking tobacco can be extremely harmful to the skin, and this includes secondhand smoke.6 Staying away from all smokeable products is a good way to take care of your skin and make sure that you’re looking as young as possible.

Another great way to minimize premature aging is to make sure that you’re keeping your skin hydrated. Ensuring you’re using the right products and taking care of your skin is a great way to maintain its appearance and ensure that your skin gets the nutrients it needs.

When you’re using cannabis, it’s important to think about your diet. If you tend to eat unhealthy food when you’re high (Which is not uncommon), then that may have an impact on your skin. Eating healthy fruits and vegetables and drinking enough water are good ways to combat this, and make sure that you’re taking good care of your skin. It is also recommended to limit your alcohol intake and exercise.

You can take care of your body and skin in some ways, which could slow the aging process. Taking care of your overall health and wellness is an excellent way to potentially slow down aging and remain as youthful as possible.

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  1.  Yazdanparast T, Hassanzadeh H, Nasrollahi SA, et al. Cigarettes Smoking and Skin: A Comparison Study of the Biophysical Properties of Skin in Smokers and Non-Smokers. Tanaffos. 2019;18(2):163-168.
  2.  Allen JP, Danoff JS, Costello MA, et al. Lifetime marijuana use and epigenetic age acceleration: A 17-year prospective examination. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2022;233:109363. doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2022.109363
  3.  Martins AM, Gomes AL, Vilas Boas I, Marto J, Ribeiro HM. Cannabis-Based Products for the Treatment of Skin Inflammatory Diseases: A Timely Review [published correction appears in Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2022 Jul 11;15(7):]. Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2022;15(2):210. Published 2022 Feb 9. doi:10.3390/ph15020210
  4.  Ribeiro LI, Ind PW. Effect of cannabis smoking on lung function and respiratory symptoms: a structured literature review. npj Primary Care Respiratory Medicine. 2016;26(1). doi:
  5.  Preteroti M, Wilson ET, Eidelman DH, Baglole CJ. Modulation of pulmonary immune function by inhaled cannabis products and consequences for lung disease. Respir Res. 2023;24(1):95. Published 2023 Mar 28. doi:10.1186/s12931-023-02399-1
  6.  Chaichalotornkul S, Nararatwanchai T, Narkpinit S, et al. Secondhand smoke exposure-induced nucleocytoplasmic shuttling of HMGB1 in a rat premature skin aging model. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2015;456(1):92-97. doi:10.1016/j.bbrc.2014.11.040

The information in this article and any included images or charts are for educational purposes only. This information is neither a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional legal advice or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about laws, regulations, or your health, you should always consult with an attorney, physician or other licensed professional.

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