We're celebrating 4/20, the day stoners throughout the world celebrate by voraciously consuming marijuana in all its smokable, edible, topical, and who-knows-what-else forms. In honor of the holiday, The ANY Magazine is publishing a series of articles that celebrate marijuana and its many uses.
The past few days we’ve covered cannabis' ability to treat mood disorders, physical pain, and illnesses. But what about the really important things, like looking good? Can pot actually make us look better?
The answer appears to be yes, with one major caveat: that you don’t smoke it. Whenever you smoke, whether it be nicotine or marijuana, the hydrocarbons in the smoke inhibit the cellsresponsible for collagen production (though studies show that smoking cannabis is not as carcinogenic as tobacco; THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana, appears to counteract the negative effects).
Collagen is the natural protein in our body that helps to keep our skin elastic, and therefore, youthful. As we age, the collagen that exists naturally in our skin begins to break down, leading to thinner, saggier skin, hence the beauty world's interest in botox and other fillers. As we get older we need all the collagen we can get, and smoking makes us lose it faster.
If you want to minimize the lines on your face while still reaping marijuana’s beauty effects, reach for a vaporizer or try cooking with it. Or, skip ingesting it altogether, and try one of the many new cannabis infused skincare products on the market right now (depending on the legalities in your state, you can purchase many with or without THC).
CBD And THC For Beauty
Now that you know how to use it the right way, let's get into what marijuana can do for your good looks. Cannabis contain compounds called cannabinoids, which already exist naturally in our body. Cannabinoids are responsible for lipid production; lipids are fats in our bodies that help to keep our skin balanced, healthy, and supple. Because cannabinoids can create or reduce production of lipids, they have a big effect on the oiliness or dryness of our skin.
This means that with the right marijuana strain you can effectively treat acne or dry skin. It may even be possible to select compounds specifically to do this: a recent study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation found CBD, another compound in marijuana, by itself to be an effective acne treatment, as well as a great anti-inflammatory.
That's Radical, Man
Then there's the free radicals that THC fights. Free radicals are produced when our skin has exposure to smoke, sun, UV rays, pollution, and a host of other things. They're molecules with an unpaired electron, which makes them unstable. So, in order to balance themselves, they seek out the closest healthy cell they can find to steal an electron from. But guess what happens to the healthy cell whose electron was just stolen? Now it needs to steal an electron from another healthy cell - and so the cycle continues, damaging cell after cell, leading to damaged skin tissue. Basically, our skin is in a constant battle with the free radicals that cause visible damage and aging.
This is where antioxidants come in. These are stable cells with the ability to donate an electron, while still staying balanced themselves. Antioxidants can slow down free radical damage before it escalates out of control, and a recent THC study confirms its effectiveness in this regard. That is a big win for skin.
Apply Topically for Happy Skin
As we mentioned earlier, you can always dive into the fast-growing world of cannabis infused beauty and grooming products to reap the skin benefits previously mentioned.
For a DIY angle, we highly recommend hemp seed oil, an oil derived from the cannabis plant that is a healthy-skin wonder. Hemp is a strain of cannabis with a much lower amount of THC (less than .03%) then the type people use to get high. Because of its only trace elements of THC, hemp seed oil is legal throughout the United States, so you can find it at most health food stores.
Hemp seed oil is rich in omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in a 3:1 ratio, which is a great balance for health; to put it in perspective, many of the oils we see commercially (because they're cheap),like corn oil, soybean oil, and cottonseed oil, are closer to a 12:1 to 25:1 ratio! Hemp seed oils' balance of omega-6 and omega-3s helps protect against sun damage, free radicals, and inflammation. Now that's an oil we can get behind!
It turns out, if you're looking for glowy, youthful looking skin, it may be better to put down the needle, and look to the cannabis plant instead.