What Causes Black Lips from Smoking Marijuana?

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Just like skin tone, lip color can vary from one person to another. However, sometimes the color and condition of your lips can change.

Even so, changes in the color of your lips are not something you need to typically be concerned about.

On the other hand, a person’s lips can sometimes become very dark, especially if they smoke cannabis or cigarettes. In fact, it is quite common to have black lips if you smoke marijuana often, particularly if you are a grower.

Unfortunately, some growers are considered heavy marijuana users. Other factors that may cause your lips to become darker include

  • Allergies
  • Pregnancy
  • Tobacco smoking
  • A medical condition
  • To much sun exposure
  • Excessive coffee or tea drinking
  • Certain medications like antibiotic minocycline (taken orally)

Why Do Your Lips Turn Black when You Smoke?

Black lips can be caused by a variety of things like to much sun exposure, certain medications, and most commonly, smoking cannabis or cigarettes. Black lips from smoking are caused by the built up chemicals in weed or cigarettes that remain behind.

In fact, generally your lips will return to normal after a few weeks once you stop smoking. In more clinical observations, fewer melanin pigments will give you lighter tone skin.

Bearded man smoking weed

More melanin will give you a darker tone. When the skin makes more melanin than the body needs, it can cause hyperpigmentation. This condition cause patches of skin to form that are darker then the skin around them.

Typical examples are age spots. Hyperpigmentation can also affect the lips. In fact, extra melanin pigments are produced when a person smokes. In result, a person may develop black lips.

Resin on the Lips

Typically, when things burn they leave a resin behind. This resin is usually dark and black in color.

Therefore, it is easy to surmise that excessive cannabis smoking will leave a little residue on your lips. After a while the resin builds up and may cause black lips.

Collagen Breakdown

When a person smokes more weed, the rate at which residue is left on a person’s lips is drastically increased. In turn, the increased residue causes oxidative stress on the lips which results in collagen breakdown.

Thus, when there is a collagen breakdown there will be pigmentation on the lips. Once there are signs of pigmentation the next symptom is typically black lips.

What Exactly are Weed Lips?

Weed lips are in reference to people who have darkened lips. The term is almost always used if a person has black lips and smokes a lot of cannabis.

Weed lips is not a condition that is acquired overnight. In fact, weed lips result in long term heavy use of marijuana.

Smoking marijuana from a pipe

Fortunately, there are many homemade remedies and suggestions that are said to help people with weed lips.

  • Lower our overall intake of weed
  • Moisturize your lips often throughout the day
  • Every morning, gently brush your lips with a toothbrush
  • Exfoliate your lips on a regular basis to remove dead skin and allow coloration
  • Rub cider vinegar or lemon juice on your lips during the day using cotton balls

Marijuana and Oral Health: What You Need to Know

Since the legalization of marijuana in many states, more studies on the effects of cannabis regarding lifestyle and health are being conducted. In addition, a lot of research has been done on how marijuana can affect oral health.

In fact, a lot of thorough research has revealed that chronic cannabis use can lead to higher rates of gum disease, cavities, periodontal disease, oral cancer, and gingivitis. Other studies show that the common symptom of cotton mouth put people at a higher risk of gum irritation and cavities.

As well, research shows that marijuana users tend to have more plaque and decayed or missing teeth. Various professionals recommend the use of medicinal marijuana for many of their patients to help combat chronic pain, anxiety, and other conditions.

Teeth cure

However, some healthcare experts are concerned about the negative impacts of smoking weed. According to David Evans DDS (Cosmetic and General Dentistry), cannabis smoke can affect your mouth and teeth in a negative way. In fact, David Evans DDS states that the smoke may cause a variety of conditions

  • Xerostomia – cotton mouth which in turn limits saliva which helps prevent mouth infections and cavities
  • Oral Edema or Erythema – the high temperatures of the smoke can affect the gums and teeth. It can also lead to cellular disruption. As well, the smoke can trigger edema and erythema (inflammation)

Overall Oral Health Implications of Marijuana Use

Like tobacco, smoking weed is linked to gingivitis, periodontal disease, and irritation of the gums. In fact, the carcinogens that are present when smoking weed can have a bad effect on the whole body, especially the teeth and gums.

According to Absolute Dental, the high temperatures when you smoke weed can greatly irritate the gums which then can lead to swelling, bleeding of the gums, and sensitivity. Additionally, the more a person smokes, the more apt they are of getting periodontal disease.

To prevent many of the oral conditions associated with smoking weed, it is recommended that you

  • Brush your teeth two times a day
  • Keep a careful and thorough oral hygiene routine
  • Try using cannabis in a different form besides smoking it

Smoking weed may also cause of issues like discoloration of the teeth, tooth decay, increased levels of bacteria, dry mouth, and bad breath.

How to Get Rid of Dark Lips Caused by Smoking?

For the most part, treating the primary problem will resolve the issue. For instance, if smoking weed is what causes black lips, then quitting will be resolve the issue.

Freshly squeezed lemon

In the meantime, there are several ways that you can lighten your lips so they are not as noticeable. Please note: For safety and health precautions, always contact your physician before you try a home remedy

  • Lip Balm – apply lip balm to your lips on a regular basis. Lip balm can prevent discoloration
  • Water – drink at least 10 eight ounce glasses of filtered water daily to prevent dehydration
  • Cleansing – after you wash your face in the morning, always apply a moisturizing treatment to your lips
  • Clarified Butter – before you go to bed, apply clarified butter on your lips. Clarified butter moisturizes and prevents the darkening of your lips.
  • Exfoliation – after brushing your teeth, use your toothbrush to exfoliate your lips. Exfoliation helps remove dead skin cells and replenish your lips.
  • Pomegranate Juice – apply pomegranate juice to your lips to help lighten the color. Wash off in 10 minutes or leave on.
  • Lemon Juice – apply lemon juice to your lips once a day. Leave on for one minute, then rinse. Lemon juice is a natural brightener and will make your lips lighter in color
  • Beetroot Juice – a great way to lighten the color of your lips is to apply beetroot juice. Take a tiny beetroot and crush it. Add a little bit of lemon juice. Apply the mixture to your lips and leave on for 15 minutes. Rinse
  • Rose and Milk – rose will lighten the color of your lips and also give nourishment. Either use rose water or crush a petal. Place the rosewater or crushed rose petal in a bowl then add a splash of milk or cream. Also add a touch of raw honey. Apply the paste to you lips and leave on for 20 minutes. Rinse


Restoring your lips back to their natural color once they have been darkened will take some time. Just as it took a while for the pigmentation to settle in, it will take time to get rid of it entirely.

What is more, keep in mind that black lips may be caused by something other than smoking marijuana. Always consult with a physician before you make any changes to your lifestyle or diet.

Perhaps the darkening of your lips is from an allergy or a certain medication you are taking. In the meantime, you can change the way you consume. Instead of smoking, you can always use other methods such as

  • Vaping
  • Edibles
  • Topicals
  • Tinctures

Although it may take time to get the natural color back to your lips, it is well worth the time and effort to switch from smoking weed and using an alternative. In general, your natural lip color should return within a few weeks after you quit smoking marijuana.

Please consider seeing a specialist if you have quit smoking weed the natural color of your lips does not return within a couple of weeks.