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vaginal discharge

Is marijuana associated with yeast infections?

Approximately 5% of women are affected by recurrent vaginal yeast infections, meaning 4 or more yeast infections in a 12 month period of time.

At any given time 20-25% of women have yeast in their vagina, but no symptoms. Over a 1-year period of time 70% of women will have yeast at some point. This doesn’t mean they have an infection, rather that yeast is often normally present in the vagina.

Most researchers and vaginitis experts (such as myself) believe a symptomatic yeast infection occurs when this yeast that is normally part of the vaginal ecosystem overgrows, essentially going from passenger to pathogen.

There are many factors associated with yeast infections, but I was recently asked about marijuana.

The literature tells us that smoking marijuana is associated with oral yeast infections, although the mechanism has not yet been fully elucidated. It may affect oral bacteria, local defense mechanisms, or be a co-factor/lifestyle factor.

A PubMed search resulted in one article for marijuana and vaginal yeast infections, Beigi et al from 2004 in the Green Journal (Obstetrics and Gynecology). Sharon Hillier is an author on the paper, so it is a well done publication and from a team that knows the vaginal milieu better than anyone.

What this article tells us is that marijuana use in the past 4 months is an independent risk factor for vaginal colonization with yeast. It increases the odds of having a positive yeast culture (not an infection, a positive culture) by 30%.

So what does this mean?

Smoking marijuana increases your risk of carrying yeast in your vagina, although the mechanism has yet to be elucidated. And so, if you are one of the 5% of women with chronic yeast infections there are probably many potential contributing factors. However, if you smoke marijuana, that might be one of those factors.

I’ll admit, one study does not the greatest evidence based medicine make. On the other hand, given the association with oral yeast infections as well, it’s probably worth giving up marijuana while you are trying to get a handle on your infections.


16 thoughts on “Is marijuana associated with yeast infections?

  1. Gee, I hope not! But wouldn’t there be a huge difference between younger women and post-menopausal women like me? Remember, the birth control pill is the #1 cause of yeast infections and uncomfortable sex caused by the yeast infection caused by the birth control pill. For post-menopausal women like me, marijuana may be the best thing that ever happened to our potential to even have a sex life. I’m 59 years old!
    Oct. 22 DEADLINE!

    Please! Hurry & click & sign petition to
    END MARIJUANA PROHIBITION at the White House now!

    This is a case sensitive link, upper case capitol P.

    President Obama is allowing Adults and kids age
    13 & up to sign!

    This is the 13th MARIJUANA petition and it is an
    UMBRELLA for all the others for pot, cannabis & hemp.

    “Demand an Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to
    End Marijuana, Marihuana, Cannabis and Hemp PROHIBITION.”

    Posted by Cris Ericson | October 19, 2011, 11:04 pm
  2. This sounds so far fetched- but obviously some info to back it up. How about looking at the gluten factor in woman’s diets? Makes more sense then what they are smoking. But then why are we smoking at all? By the way a good tip to get rid of fungus in the body is 1-tsp baking soda(non-aluminum) and 2-Tablespoons apple cider vinegar (Braggs) I add ice and water about a 6-8 oz drink. At first a little acquired taste but I actually find it refreshing now. Highly suggested for those with cancer.

    Posted by Devra Wathen | October 20, 2011, 5:31 pm
  3. I had to take a moment and say the above post about being 59 , smoking marijuana, and maybe having great sex gave me a morning chuckle-HAHA

    Posted by Devra Wathen | October 20, 2011, 5:35 pm
  4. LOL, you would think it’s more likely that marijuana causes yeast becasue people often share a pipe and when no one washes said pipe the yeasties spread to everybody – yeast then spread from mouth to hands to vagina via using the bathroom. The same kind of thing happens to musicians who do not clean their instrumetns or change the reed stems to them, they have recurrent chest infections which suddenly dissapear when they start cleaning their instruments and changing the reeds more frequently.

    I rarely have yeast infections even though I have smoked on and off for a decade but I am also very scrupulous about cleaning my pipes and choosy about who I share them with. I learned this lesson well after my hubby and I got the flu from a friend who borrowed a pipe and we neglected to clean it after it was returned.

    Posted by Oubli | April 13, 2012, 3:14 pm
    • Idk where you live, but most people Ive met in my metropolitan area DO NOT smoke out of pipes. I for one NEVER do. Don’t own one and never did or will. I think they are filthy. Cleaning it is disgusting itself. Blunt or vaporize…fresh everytime or no tarry junk for you to inhale or clean. In addition, unless you soak it in bleach every single use, it’s pretty much impossible that you clean off all the bacteria every time. Some cant even be killed with soap. So dont think of yourself as “super clean” cause wgat you’re doing really isn’t.

      Posted by Jess Gre | March 5, 2015, 5:15 pm
  5. This is so interesting. I stumbled upon this blog because in the past 3 months, I’ve had recurrent yeast infections (about 4!) and I have never had one in my 28 years. I don’t eat gluten, eat very little sugar, but am a near-daily toker. Recently, I took two weeks off from smoking and my lady parts seemed much happier. I’ve started smoking again and today it appears I have yet another infection! It’s very unsettling. I suppose I’ll give it up once again and see what happens. While I can’t say this proves it to me yet, I, at least, feel less crazy about that theory. Thanks for this post.

    Posted by Dee | May 4, 2012, 12:00 pm
  6. I don’t smoke pot. However, my girlfriend smokes pot at least four days per week. She is also on birt conrol. The poor girl has yeast infections almost every month. Sounds crazy? It is painful. We don’t know why or what the cause is, but I’m willing to bet both of these combined aren’t helping. I just hope she.gets well and if there is a link, I hope the medical field will tell people to grow up and pass on grass.

    Posted by john | September 19, 2012, 12:41 pm
    • To the post above about your girl friend having a yeast infection-
      I started getting it once or twice a year starting at 17 because I’ve been on many antibiotics between ages 8-15 due to a car accident and I started birth control at age 13. This past year at age 27 now, I’ve had a new yeast infection ever 2 weeks it seems. After thinking about it the other night, chances are I gave it to my boyfriend a year ago and since he doesnt feel the pain and still enjoys sex, he has never thought to check it. My point is that you should maybe get checked as well. Men can get yeast infections too. Him and I have done weed since meeting 2011/10/06. I don’t think that has anything to do with it though. Been off and on since 22 with a couple years off in between.

      Posted by Crysy | March 15, 2013, 10:04 am
  7. I am reading this now because i went on a three month stint of smoking weed to see if it would help with my IBS-C (it did, and all my allergy related issues suck as Vertigo from high ear pressure)
    I noticed not long after i began it started to burn when i went pee. I scheduled Gyno appointments and for one reason or another failed to make them. Now that i officially stopped smoking i have noticed the recurring itchy and discharge has dissipated.

    There are many factors that can cause an infection, so i read. most of which i was experiencing during a life circumstance change.

    Lack of sleep
    Poor eating habits, including eating extreme amounts of sugary foods
    Taking certain medicines, including birth control pills, antibiotics, and steroids (i had to stop taking BC pills because i couldn’t afford it)
    Hormonal changes during your periods”


    I have read that THC, once it is worked out of your system lowers your immune system because of the effort it takes to work it out.

    It could be that the people that turn to smoking weed are those that are already so susceptible to an infections of any kind. .

    Posted by Amarantha Ari | April 1, 2013, 3:31 pm
  8. thank you this helped

    Posted by Justin | February 17, 2015, 5:42 am
  9. I think this is pretty on point. Personally, prior to smoking I hardly would get a yeast infection. While smoking marijuana I pretty much got them monthly. I figured out plain yogurt inserted into the vagina helps clear it up naturally. Cheaper than over the counter chemical drugs and it refreshes literally instantly. But when I stopped smoking completely at about 2 months I noticed it cleared up and gone for good. So, based on experience I would say this info is accurate.

    What we need to remember is smoking ANYTHING suppresses the immune system. So your natural flora is allowed to “bloom”. Also, marijuana is an herb, and like ANY herb some people are allergic to it. Some medications or fruit shouldn’t be consumed when taking certain herbal remedies. Ginko is famous for this but many ppl take it.Due to the lack of research it’s difficult to ascertain what if anything cannot/should not be taken while using marijuana. People’s sweat even smells different when using. So clearly the high is not the only effect on the body as it rushes through the blood system. And lastly, those who smoke are smoking a female plant, meaning estrogen. Research says the amount is insignificant, but again some people have what is called a hypersensitivity to herbs/meds/foods. Therefore, the “norm” would not apply to those individuals. And I wonder the number and gender of the participants in studies. There are drugs that cause gynecomastia, breast growth in men. However, have no effect on women’s breast. And I’m not talking about estrogen or meds made for that purpose.

    Posted by Jess Gre | March 5, 2015, 5:07 pm
  10. im a male i had discharge everyday for 2 years but ever since i gave up smoking 3 weed weeks ago it just vanished then i stumble across this site i truly believe weed is the main cause i have no stdss

    Posted by c1975not important | May 17, 2015, 12:23 am
  11. Interesting. I came across the article because I’ve recently reduced my daily marijuana consumption by about half. I just got a yeast infection and that’s the only major change I’ve made recently. I was expecting I might see that marjuana actually *helps* yeast maintain a normal balance (no infection). Btw, I don’t smoke it – I vaporize. I guess I’ll look for a different explanation.

    Posted by Sara | June 16, 2015, 7:49 am
  12. Found this article because after years of on and off (heavy when on) smoking up, I started to suspect there was a link between candida and smoking up.

    More research needs to be done.

    It probably won’t be though, because, womens’ problems, and we all know that weed is a natural, safe, non-addictive drug that does ab-so-lute-ly nothing to harm you. ;) (I’m also reading up on detoxing, steeling myself to quit again. Reading that others have linked candida infections and weed is one more good reason to.

    Posted by some chick who smokes too much weed | August 18, 2015, 7:47 am


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