Is My Teen Using Marijuana? Know What to Look For

Telltale Signs Your Teen May be Smoking Pot

Marijuana is the most commonly used drug among teenagers. Yet, 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 that could indicate your teen is using marijuana.

Know What Marijuana Looks Like

Look for the warning signs that your teen may be using marijuana.
Doug Menuez / Photodisc / Getty Images

Marijuana resembles tobacco. It can be green, brown or gray 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 getting ready to be smoked. Sometimes teens will create a blunt out of a hallowed out cigar filled with marijuana and another drug like crack.

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, or make it into a tea.

What Are the Signs My Teen Is High?

Being high on marijuana is unique to the individual, but there are some signs you may notice if your teen has recently smoked pot:

  • 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.

Has Your Teen's Mood or Behavior Changed?

A change in behavior is one of the biggest telltale signs your teen is using drugs. Regular marijuana use will likely lead to problems with school work,  attendance in school, mood swings. Teens who smoke marijuana regularly often quit extra-curricular activities. 

Your teen's appearance may change too. He may take less interest in how he dresses or he may neglect his hygiene.

Additionally, he may have an increased attitude problem at home. He may be less motivated to do his chores and he may be more disrespectful.

Do You See Signs of Drug Paraphernalia?

While it's good practice to give your teen privacy, it's important to remember what you're teen is doing is your business. So if you have a reason to suspect your teen is using drugs, 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.  

Do 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 is a red flag that your teen is most likely using drugs as well.

While you'd like to think that your teen wouldn't succumb to peer pressure, most teens eventually experiment with drugs if all their friends are using drugs. It's important to know who is influencing your teen.

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.

Teens who glorify marijuana use may also be using it. A teen who hangs a 420 poster in his room or who wears a t-shirt with a pot leaf, clearly has an interest in the drug.

Should You Drug Test Your Teen?

If you're suspicious your teen may be using marijuana, a home drug testing kid can give you an answer. Available at pharmacies and online drug stores, most kits will test for a variety of drugs, including marijuana. 

And while positive test results could be a first step in getting your teen help, drug testing your child definitely has some serious risks. It could greatly impair your relationship with your teen. And that could be quite harmful in the long-term.

Additionally, at-home drug tests don't detect all drugs. Synthetic drugs, for example, might not show up on a screening even though they can be just as dangerous as other drugs. 

So think twice about drug testing your teen. Instead, put your energy into creating a healthy relationship that encourages your teen to be honest with you.

Sources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: What Parents Need to Know About Marijuana Use and Teens.

National Institute on Drug Abuse: What is Marijuana

Pew Research Center: Dangers That Teens and Kids Face: A Look at the Data.

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