While many cannabis users embrace signs of aging and effortlessly transform into beautiful crones as they get older, some of us, such as myself, are vain. We enjoy that through technology, such as injectables, we can look better in our 30s than in our 20s. While topicals such as eye creams, including those with CBD, offer valuable moisture and even anti-inflammatory properties, just to be blunt about it, if you want to get rid of wrinkles or add volume to your face naturally lost to age, you need injectables.
I’m a 35-year-old woman who gets Botox. And, as my book launch party approached for Weed Witch: The Essential Guide to Cannabis for Magic and Wellness, I decided I also wanted under-eye and cheek filler to restore lost volume under my eyes, which was seriously bugging me. Botox (which usually lasts about three to four months) blocks chemical signals from nerves that cause muscles to contract, resulting in relaxed facial muscles and getting rid of wrinkles. Comparatively, fillers are gel-like substances typically made of hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring polysaccharide present in skin and cartilage, that are injected beneath the skin to restore lost volume. Fillers can last from six months to two years, depending on which variety you get. Today, Botox and filler are often used in conjunction. People new to the plastic surgery game tend to associate fillers with lips, and while that’s totally a thing, you can also use filler to restore lost volume in the cheeks, augment a chin, and even for non-surgical nose jobs.
Botox is the number one non-invasive cosmetic procedure, and fillers now come in second. I must tell my readers something important for every fan who looks at their favorite pop star, almost sadly stating: “They don’t age.” For celebrities, injectables are as common and expected as using night cream. Being rich is very good for your skin, and getting injectables is basically part of the job description of having your face on screen (and not just for women). And injectables, when done correctly, look natural. The saying “You aren’t ugly, you’re just poor” is very real. Botox and fillers can cost anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand, depending on what you get done and where you go. But, if you don’t know these cosmetic secrets, seeing “ageless” (read: people with fillers and botox) celebrities can cause unrealistic beauty standards, which is why you can call me vain and privileged for having access to such cosmetic procedures, but you can’t call me a liar, because I will always be honest with you.
But while I budgeted and looked to plan my filler appointment with Dr. David Shafer of Shafer Clinic Fifth Avenue, I realized that there is hardly any information for cannabis users interested in injectables. Are there interactions? Do I need to worry? “There is no contraindication to using cannabis products and getting dermal filler injections,” Dr. Shafer reassuringly tells me. Phew. I can have my cannabis and vanity too.
However, ganja glamour witches, that doesn’t mean you should show up stoned for your appointment. As a plastic surgeon once warned me about Botox, the most significant risk is that I’ll like it. The same common sense applies to cannabis and injectables. It’s probably not going to hurt you, but let’s be honest about it. Cannabis lowers inhibitions, which could lead to asking for more filler than you need or could afford, and you don’t want to be high during a procedure involving needles, in case it leads to anxiety. “For any procedure we perform, a patient needs to give informed consent. So they really can’t show up stoned for their procedure,” Dr. Shafer says. “Although if they are nervous I am sure it would help them relax,” he adds.
As you can see in these photos, Dr. Shafer did an impeccable job with my fillers. I am beyond happy with the results. His office offered all the glorious glamour yet a sense of security and trust that one could ask for in a plastic surgeon’s office. I have 19 tattoos, 12 piercings, and I have previously gotten filler and Botox. Needles don’t scare me; getting filler feels good because it makes me feel glamorous. While it takes about two full weeks to fully settle, you can see results right away (Botox takes about two weeks to see the frozen magic you came in for).
Doctors do advise avoiding alcohol, and any blood-thinning medications, after or before getting injectables, as they can increase bleeding, which cannabis can also cause. However, because cannabis can also lower anxiety, some doctors say it’s okay to use before a procedure to relax as long as you understand the risks. “You can use cannabis before injections but there will be an increased risk of bleeding which will then cause bruising,” says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Jessie Cheung. “So if you have a social event close to your treatment time, I would advise against smoking before coming in. But totally okay to use before coming in to ease anxiety and comfort level.”
Aware of the bruising risks and wanting to be totally clear as a journalist and patient, I did not use cannabis before my appointment, but I did use edibles later on at home for pain relief (smoking seemed counterintuitive on a day of beauty). Around eight hours after getting my fillers I took some light edibles to help me relax and sleep, as my cheeks were a little sore and had slight bruising around the injection sites. I did not take any OTC (over-the-counter) painkillers, as cannabis did the trick, and I don’t drink at all, so that wasn’t a concern. “Many of our patients are surprised when I say it’s perfectly ok to continue using cannabis after their treatments. People that have found cannabis products to help with post-treatment and post-surgery soreness,” Dr. Shafer wrote to me, easing my worries about using cannabis later on. From a harm reduction perspective, cannabis certainly seems safer than other avenues of post-procedure pain relief (I’m looking at you, opiates, although these are not prescribed post-filler or Botox as they can be for surgeries such as rhinoplasties).
So, if you are a cannabis user interested in fillers, long story short, don’t show up too stoned for your procedure, and you should be fine. To be extra careful, wait 24 hours before using cannabis. Not long ago, I reported on the Stoner Swiftie community and noted that in my 13 years as a journalist, I had never received so many requests to be interviewed for an article. This one was the opposite. Despite knowing countless people who use cannabis and get injectables, very few people wanted to talk about it. As someone who got into cannabis originally as a medical patient for PTSD and anxiety, I find that the plant tends to keep me honest. Of course, getting injectables, or any procedure, is between you and your doctor, and you have every right to privacy. However, after diving into the intersection of cannabis, injectables, and celebrity culture, my main concern is not any harmful medical interaction but the continued silence around getting Botox and fillers. Thanks to social media, more people are getting honest about injectables, but, especially regarding celebrities, I see far more claims of “this is just my face” when I know enough about plastic surgery to spot it a mile away, even through Instagram filters. So, for all the Weed Witches who wish to live deliciously and vainly, should you choose to get real about your work, know that you’re helping to spread honesty on why no one seems to age anymore. CBD is great, I wrote an entire book on it, but it’s not the reason you can look better at 35 than 25, and anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to sell you something.