Is My Teenager Smoking Weed?
Teen marijuana use is not new. Marijuana is a substance that is used by everyone from teenagers to the elderly.
That said, while marijuana use may not be as dangerous as something heroin or cocaine, it can still lead to developmental problems if started too early in life.
Let’s take a closer look at teenage marijuana use and how you can tell if your teenage daughter or son is smoking marijuana.
Luckily, there are addiction treatment programs and sober living homes that can help you or a loved one overcome any sort of addiction problem that you may be dealing with.
Signs of Marijuana Use in Teens
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 cause 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 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, brownies.
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 health 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 clothing.
- If they have their own car, smell the inside and examine the seats for burns or paraphernalia.
- 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.
- Your teen may get the ‘munchies’ and be hungry for anything he can get his hands on.
- Does your teen wear 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 are 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 teens on lockdown, that’s not an excuse to turn a blind eye if you’ve set boundaries.
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. 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 it’s a good bet that they’re developing bad habits and among them, possibly a marijuana habit. Any of the above could be signs 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. 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. 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.
Three large studies in Australia and New Zealand found that adolescents who used marijuana regularly were significantly less ly 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 responsible 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.
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, your 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.
Marijuana Treatment at The District
If you or a loved one are dealing with a marijuana or other addiction problem, there are treatment options. The District Recovery Community partners with Orange County rehabs and has robust alumni and community programs in place to ensure that anyone who walks through our doors are set up for success when the leave.
Signs Your Teen Could Be Addicted to Marijuana
It’s only natural for your teen to test limits and push boundaries as they grow up — that’s why you do your best to help them find safe, positive ways to establish greater independence.
But sometimes, teens can be tempted to sample freedom in negative or dangerous ways. Experimenting with marijuana is one of those ways, and it’s something plenty of kids try at least once. Unfortunately, it’s an experiment that can also lead to addiction.
As mental health providers who specialize in substance abuse treatment, the team at EXIS Recovery has seen a significant increase in the number of young people who are addicted to marijuana. Here’s how to spot the warning signs of marijuana addiction in your teen at home.
Teens and marijuana use
After tobacco and alcohol, marijuana is the most widely used substance among adolescents of all ages. Smoking pot, vaping THC (the high-inducing ingredient in marijuana), and consuming “edibles” baked into food are the three primary ways that teens use marijuana today.
According to Monitoring the Future, an annual survey that covers drug use and attitudes in secondary schools across the United States, teen marijuana use is at its highest level in three decades. Even though cannabis use is on the rise among younger adolescents, habitual (daily) use remains most prevalent among older teens.
In 2019, about 35% of high school seniors reported using marijuana sometime in the previous year, and more than 22% said they used marijuana within the past month (current use). About 6% of seniors said they use the drug every day.
Marijuana risks and health effects
The recent surge in teen marijuana use coincides with two major factors: relatively easy access and lack of perceived danger. With the widespread legalization and increased availability of medical-grade marijuana and recreational marijuana, many teens believe the drug is neither harmful nor habit-forming.
Unfortunately, marijuana can be both damaging and addictive. Even short-term marijuana use can drastically impair your teen’s memory, judgement, concentration, and coordination, making it harder to learn in school, excel in team sports, evaluate risks, and drive a car safely.
Kids who use marijuana on a regular basis are more ly to develop a cannabis use disorder — sometimes in the form of a full-blown addiction — as time goes on. Long-term marijuana use is also associated with decreased motivation and an increased risk of depression and anxiety.
Common signs of marijuana abuse
About one in six people who start using marijuana as adolescents, and up to half of people who use marijuana daily, eventually become addicted to it. Addiction means that a person can’t stop using marijuana even though it interferes with many aspects of their life.
Given that marijuana can have a range of different effects depending on how it’s used, it’s not surprising that the outward signs of addiction can vary widely among individuals.
Even so, most young people who abuse marijuana demonstrate a combination of effects, including:
Cannabis addiction can change adolescent behavior in a myriad of ways. Although many teens become extremely relaxed, mellow, or even “spaced out” when they use marijuana regularly, it can also give rise to agitation, irritation, disorganization, and decreased inhibition.
You may notice that your teen’s grades are dropping or that they’re no longer interested in the activities they used to enjoy. They may avoid eye contact, disappear into their bedroom for long stretches of time, or become more secretive with their phone.
The physical effects of marijuana are probably the most telltale signs of cannabis abuse. When someone is high on marijuana, their eyes may be red and glassy or completely bloodshot.
Adolescents who use marijuana may also appear “intoxicated” shortly after they get high. They may exhibit impaired coordination, delayed reaction, and/or an irrepressible urge to sleep.
Extreme hunger, also known as “the munchies,” is another common side effect of being high. Teens who use marijuana often seem insatiable, even if they aren’t very active.
Teens who abuse marijuana often have trouble remembering things, keeping track of time, and staying focused. Besides interfering with their ability to learn, these mental effects can make a teen seem disinterested, disengaged, or irresponsible.
Some adolescents who use cannabis also experience diminished emotional well-being, often in the form of depression or anxiety.
If you suspect your teen is addicted to marijuana, the compassionate team at EXIS Recovery can help. Call 424-244-3513 to learn more about the outpatient programs available at our West Los Angeles office, or use the easy online tool to schedule an appointment today.
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