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 at all. 

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.

What does marijuana look like?

Look for the warning signs that your teen may be using marijuana.
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Marijuana resembles tobacco. It can be green, brown or gray in color. It is 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 will crumble marijuana and roll it into a cigarette or use a pipe or bong to smoke. Or, to a lessor extend, teens will place marijuana in food like brownies or make it into a tea.

What are the signs that 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:

  • 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.
  • 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.

Are your teen's friends using marijuana?

Sometimes parents find out about their teen's marijuana use through their teen's friends. Not that their friends are going to tell you anything, but their parents might confide in you that their teen has a problem. 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 join in. Spending time with friends who smoke marijuana will likely cause your teen to think it isn't a big deal to partake because 'everybody's doing it.'

Are you noticing behavior or mood changes?

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,  truancy issues, increased mood swings, and quitting 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?

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.  

Are there signs your teen is trying to hide his marijuana use?

Teens who use marijuana, especially around the home, have to be very resourceful to mask the smell and hide the evidence. 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. 

Updated by Amy Morin, LCSW.

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