Looking Out For Signs Your Teen is Using Marijuana
Marijuana is the most commonly used drug among teenagers. With the advent of social media, the use of marijuana is considered “cool” by many teens, and many teens don’t even consider it to be a drug. Changes in laws regarding medicinal marijuana and recreational use causes many teens to doubt the dangers of marijuana use.
A 2014 survey of 12th-grade students found that just over 21 percent of teens said they had smoked marijuana within the past month. Teens continue to report that marijuana is easily accessible and very affordable.
Make sure you know the warning signs your teen is using marijuana.
Marijuana resembles tobacco. It can be green and brown or grayish in color. It includes the dried leaves, flowers, and stems of the cannabis plant.
It may be shredded or crumbled, which is how it looks when it is smoked. Sometimes teens will create a blunt out of a hollowed out cigar filled with marijuana.
Teens crumble marijuana and roll it into a cigarette or use a pipe or bong to smoke. Sometimes teens place marijuana in food, like brownies.
Is Cannabis Legal in The US?
Just because cannabis is legal in some states doesn’t mean it’s a good idea for your teen to start using it recreationally any more than it is to let them start smoking tobacco. The long-term risks and healt side effects have yet to be understood by the scientific community.
If you’re a parent who is involved in your child’s life, you should be easily able to see the signs your teen is using marijuana.
Being high on marijuana is unique to the individual, but there are some signs you may notice if your teen has recently smoked pot:
- Smell his or her laundry. The smell of smoked marijuana is extremely difficult to get out of clothing.
- If they have their own car, smell the inside and examine the seats for burns or paraphanelia.
- Your teen may have red, bloodshot eyes.
- Your teen could be very giddy or very tired, depending on when he got high.
- Your teen may be paranoid or anxious.
- He may get the ‘munchies’ and be hungry for anything he can get his hands on.
- Does your teen where clothes with a lot of pockets? Have you ever checked them before they go out?
The most popular times for a teen to get high are after school, often before or after playing video games and before the parents get home for work. Other popular times is when they’re out with friends on weekends. If you don’t really know exactly where they are at any given time, you run the risk of them running with the wrong crowd and experimenting with substances.
Other popular times and places are at music festivals. Most of us grew up with these and we all know what goes on there, and while it’s impossible to keep teen on lockdown, that’s not an excuse to turn a blind eye if you’ve set boundaries.
Has Your Teen’s Mood or Behavior Changed?
A change in behavior is one of the biggest telltale signs your teen is using marijuana. Regular marijuana use might lead to varying behavior at school, work, changes in attendance in school, or mood swings. Your teen’s appearance may change, too.
Additionally, it could be that your teen demonstrates a more laid-back or “lazy” demeanor. It’s possible that he/she may neglect chores or other activities. However, it’s important to remember that the effects of marijuana on an individual vary. It’s best not to make the assumption your teen is on drugs until you have further evidence or you are able to have an honest discussion with them about it.
Have You Found Any Drug Paraphernalia?
While it’s good practice to give your teen privacy, it’s important to remember what your teen is doing is your business. So if you have a reason to spot any of the signs your teen is using marijuana, it’s worth investigating.
Be on the lookout for pipes, rolling papers, and baggies with marijuana residue. These items may be hidden in canisters, books, or bottles in your teen’s room. Glass pipes, aluminum foil, cutting tools, or cylindrical items that have holes cut in such a fashion to resemble a pipe are also cause for further investigation.
If you’re letting your teen vape, no judgments here, but its a good bet that they’re developing bad habits and among them, possibly a marijuana habit. Any of the any above could be igns your teen is using marijuana and it’s always wise to remember that as parents, you set the rules, no matter who’s doing what on social media.
Do You Suspect Your Teen’s Friends Smoke Pot?
Sometimes, parents find out about their teen’s marijuana use through their teen’s friends. A parent might confide in you that your child’s friend was caught smoking marijuana or using drugs.
Spending time with friends who use drugs may indicate that your teen could be using drugs as well. It’s important to know who is influencing your teen. If you know your teen’s friends are smoking, you can use this fact to open up a conversation about what it means to your teen that his/her friends are smoking, which may lead you to discover if your teen is participating as well.
Are There Signs Your Teen Trying to Hide Her Marijuana Use?
Teens who use marijuana, especially around the home, have to be resourceful to mask the smell and hide the evidence.
Marijuana has a distinct order and if you have ever smelled it, you’ll recognize it again. If you have not, call your local community center or police department and sign up for a D.A.R.E. or parenting class on teen drug use.
You may find your teen has taken an interest in incense or air fresheners. Or, he may start using eye drops to mask the redness in his eyes. These are good indications that they may be using marijuana. If your Potpourri spray or Febreze keeps disappearing, start investigating.
What’s the Big Deal?
Studies even in foreign countries (away from our biased media continuously show the same results:
The most recent analysis (June 2018) using data from three large studies in Australia and New Zealand found that adolescents who used marijuana regularly were significantly less likely than their non-using peers to finish high school or obtain a degree. They also had a much higher chance of developing dependence, using other drugs, and attempting suicide.
I can’t think of any responsbible parent who thinks the risks are worth granting teens free reign.
At the first signs your teen is using marijuana, it goes without saying that you’re already too late to have the talk about the child being responsible and making wise decisions.
Marijuana Is a Gateway Drug
According to the NIH, continued studies and evidence still show that marijuana is a gateway drug.
From the NIH website: “Early exposure to cannabinoids in adolescent rodents decreases the reactivity of brain dopamine reward centers later in adulthood.48 To the extent that these findings generalize to humans, this could help explain the increased vulnerability for addiction to other substances of misuse later in life that most epidemiological studies have reported for people who begin marijuana use early in life.49 It is also consistent with animal experiments showing THC’s ability to “prime” the brain for enhanced responses to other drugs.50 For example, rats previously administered THC show heightened behavioral response not only when further exposed to THC but also when exposed to other drugs such as morphine—a phenomenon called cross-sensitization.51
Others studies have shown the brain damage caused by using cannabis.
There are two main arguments we hear from parents who check their teens into rehab:
- I used weed, and I didn’t grow up a drug addict.
- Teens are just going to party…lots of them drink or smoke weed and don’t become addicted.
It’s always shocking to treatment providers when parents knew about substance abuse and chose to do little or nothing. The sad truth is that teens who experiment with cannabis are hanging around people who are doing it often. As they watch their peers progress to harder and harder drugs, you teenager can get drawn into it. Before you know it, you have an addict on your hands.
If you watch any of the videos where addicts speak about the progression of their addiction, almost all of them started with “oh, I just wanted to try it.” If you see signs your teen is using marijuana, you need to take action…decisive action.