Can Reefer Treat Acne?

Acne is the most common skin disease in western civilization.  It affects nearly 80% of the population at some time or another.[1]  Depending on the severity of acne it is typically treated with anything from topical chemicals, like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, to internal chemicals, like antibiotics, birth control pills, or isotretinoin.  When acne does not respond to medicine there are multiple procedures available, like laser and light therapy, chemical peels, and surgical removal.[2]

Here, on the Kaiya Naturals Blog, we’ve talked about multiple natural methods that are backed by science.  We’ve talked about using bentonite clay, facial toners, dead sea salts, tea tree oil, and eating a low-glycemic-load diet.  Today, we are bringing you another method that is on the cutting edge of modern research.  That research is centered around cannabis.  Putting weed on your face might be an effective treatment for acne.

What is Acne?

Acne is a disease that effects the skin’s oil glands.[1]  When the oil gland gets clogged with a combination of dead skin cells and excess oil a pimple forms.  Bacteria (P. acnes) can develop in this mixture causing redness and swelling.

How Does Cannabis Help?

cannabis-oil-acneResearch is showing that cannabis helps to control acne in two ways.  First, cannabidiol (CBD) has been shown to reduce oil production by causing the cells (sebocytes) that make up the oil producing glands (sebaceous glands) that clogs pores to die off at a faster rate.  Secondly, cannabis contains substances called terpenes.  Specific terpenes – limonene, linalool, and pinene – have been shown to inhibit the bacteria that causes acne (P. acnes).  One terpene, limonene, inhibits P. acnes bacteria better than the synthetic antibacterial chemical triclosan.[3]

Why is Cannabis Better?

What makes treating acne with cannabis so promising is that, compared to traditional treatments, it is much less toxic.  Traditional treatments contain the risk of unwanted side-effects.

Side Effects of Benzoyl Peroxide & Salicylic Acid
  • peeling
  • itching
  • irritation
  • reddened skin
  • rash[4][5]
Side Effects of Common Antibiotics Used for Acne
  • headache
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • stomach pain/cramping
  • loss of appetite
  • light headedness
  • dizziness/feeling of spinning
  • mouth sores
  • sore throat
  • black hairy tongue
  • rectal discomfort[6][7][8][9][10]
Side Effects of Isotretinoin (from common to rare)
  • dry lips and mouth
  • minor swelling of the eyelids or lips,
  • crusty skin
  • nosebleeds
  • upset stomach
  • thinning of hair
  • mental/mood changes (e.g., depression, aggressive or violent behavior, and in rare cases, thoughts of suicide)
  • tingling feeling in the skin, quick/severe sunburn (sun sensitivity)
  • back/joint/muscle pain
  • signs of infection (e.g., fever, persistent sore throat)
  • painful swallowing
  • peeling skin on palms/soles
  • pancreatitis
  • severe stomach pain
  • severe or persistent nausea/vomiting
  • severe headache
  • vision changes
  • ringing in the ears
  • hearing loss
  • chest pain
  • yellowing eyes/skin
  • dark urine
  • severe diarrhea
  • rectal bleeding[11]
Side-Effects of CBD

Most studies conclude that CBD is safe, virtually free of side effects, and does not induce changes on food intake, nor does it affect physiological parameters like the heart rate, body temperature or blood pressure  While there doesn’t seem to be any known side-effects when using CBD topically, there are some potential side effects when taken in high doses internally.  These include:

  • dry-mouth
  • interference with certain pharmaceuticals
  • may worsen tremor and muscle movement in Parkinson’s disease sufferers[12]
Side Effects of Terpenes
  • Limonene has no known side-effects.[13]
  • Pinene also has no known side effects.[14]
  • Linalool, according to one source, caused 5-7% of those involved in a study to receive an allergic reaction with symptoms similar to eczema.[15]  However, the referenced study could not be found. Also, CBD has been shown to disrupt eczema as we outlined in our article titled: Can Reefer Treat Eczema?  Right now, there is just not enough information on whether the terpene linalool will, or will not, have this side effect in the presence of CBD.

The Take Away

Traditional acne treatments are effective, however, they have a long list of unwanted side-effects.  Research is showing that cannabis is just as effective as traditional treatments without the long list of unwanted side-effects.

If there is anything that you would like me to talk about feel free to reach out to me either here, via email:, on twitter @kaiyanaturals, or on Facebook @kaiyanaturals.  Also  please, please, please share or comment on this article.  Seriously, I’d love to hear your feedback in the comment section below.

Stay Natural,


These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.  For educational purposes only.

















Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s