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Cannabis vs. Acne: Our Top Picks

Don't pop or pick. Use pot.

In case you hadn’t heard, the cannabis plant is incredible. Grown as either marijuana or hemp, this special species contains more than 200 types of natural chemicals called cannabinoids. THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, a cannabinoid famed for getting us high, exists only in marijuana. While less famous because it doesn’t intoxicate us in the same way THC does, CBD or cannabidiol is responsible for all the analgesic properties we enjoy in marijuana. It also exists in hemp.

As the marijuana industry thrusts little-known medicinal attributes into the spotlight, the overlooked benefits of hemp have begun to shine as well. Cannabis skincare products are emerging as a major market, most utilizing the oil and redness-fighting dream compound that is CBD. Specifically, CBD treats acne in two ways: halting oil production and soothing inflammation. We humans are the only animals that struggle with acne. Because we don’t have fur, our skin secretes oil to protect itself, especially on delicate epidermal surfaces like the face.

Breakouts are caused when the sebaceous glands produce too much sebum (acne-causing oil) in a process called liquid synthesis. CBD reacts with the sebaceous gland’s endocannabinoid receptors, halting the process of liquid synthesis and limiting the skin’s tendency to break out. CBD’s well-known anti-inflammatory properties then help to soothe swelling and redness around the affected area. At least, that's the theoretical science behind these products.

Here are three products to check out for fixing your skin.

Apothecanna: Everyday Face and Body Oil

This is a beautiful oil and my favorite of the bunch. Because they derive their CBD from hemp, Apothecanna products are universally legal, shipping all over the U.S. I’ve been using this light yet extremely hydrating product daily since it arrived on the market. My skin is soft and completely devoid of a single pimple, which is crazy. The smell is truly divine, an intoxicating blend of citrus, cedar, and geranium. Every oil involved works together to provide antiseptic, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory properties. Couldn’t recommend more.

Papa & Barkley: Releaf Body Oil 

CBD balms may be all the rage now for muscle soreness and mild aches and pains, but I’ve heard of people using them for breakouts, acne scars, sunburns—basically any form of minor skin irritation. The label would suggest its benefits lie chiefly below the skin, but I found it did excellent work as a surface anti-inflammatory. Thanks to the eucalyptus oil it contains, it smells super refreshing, too. I prefer to use it as a spot treatment for particular issues like a breakout or post-beach dryness as opposed to full-face daily skincare. Bottom line: This wonder oil is a great thing to have in the arsenal, especially if you have acne and pain.

It's important to remember that any skincare product takes time to really work wonders on your skin.

Kiskanu: Face Oil

This is probably the bougiest of the products on this list—and for good reason. Beyond its high-end beauty counter look, it contains only the highest quality ingredients. We’re talking about calendula, rose geranium essential oil, lavender essential oil, and wild carrot essential oil, all of which have anti-inflammatory properties. Obviously, there’s a healthy dose of hemp-derived CBD in this bottle as well, which only compliments the other floral, herbal smells going on. Because its texture is a little stickier than the oils I stick with for daily use, I tend to view Kiskanu’s as more of an ultra-hydrating rescue serum. When my skin is feeling extra dry and cranky, I like to put a few drops in my palms and pat it on before I got to bed at night knowing I’ll wake up looking dewy as hell.

No matter which acne-fighting product you try, it's important to remember that any skincare product takes time to really work wonders on your skin. You might see some results overnight, only to notice no significant changes the rest of the week. Or you might not notice any difference at all the first time you slather your face with healing oils. Before you throw in the towel, give the product a good three weeks to do its thing (unless you have a crazy allergic reaction—we do believe in reason here). By the end of those few weeks, the outermost layers of your skin have had time to slough off, slowly revealing the inner gorgeousness of your body's largest organ. So, have faith, be consistent, and smoke a joint to pass the time. 


About the Author

Lindsay is a writer, stoner, and on-camera personality. Since moving from NY to LA, she’s gone from writing about countercultures at large to mostly focusing on the one surrounding cannabis. At this point, she knows a fucking lot about weed.

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