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Marijuana: Is My Teen Using Marijuana?

How Parents Can Know


When parents think their teen is using marijuana it is because they have seen the warning signs or have been told their teen was seen using the drug. Below are some tips on how you can be sure your teen is using marijuana so you can start to get your teen help.

1. Know that marijuana is starting to be the drug of choice for teens.

Teen Using Marijuana
Teens are making marijuana the drug of choice. Getty Images
While alcohol is still a leading drug that teens use, marijuana is starting to be the drug of choice. The reasons behind marijuana use trending up among teens are:
  • Teens are able to get marijuana more easily than alcohol, it's being sold in school hallways and local teen hangouts.
  • Teens feel that they can get away with being high as opposed to being drunk.
  • Alcohol has some bad side effects like getting sick if you drink too much and having a hangover, whereas getting stoned does not have these side effects. Many of side effects for marijuana are explainable - at least teens feel they can explain them away.
  • Marijuana is easier to carry and conceal.

2. What does marijuana look like? How do teens use it?

Marijuana Buds picture looks like
Picture of marijuana buds and stems from the DEA.

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. Or it could be in a dried bud form, as it is before it is prepared 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 the pot 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.

3. What signs should I look for if I think that my teen is high on 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:
  • A distinct smell as marijuana has it's own smell and if you have ever smelled it you would know it to smell 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 can have red, bloodshot eyes.
  • Your teen could be very giddy or very tired, depending on when he got high. He could go from giddy to very tired, as well.
  • Your teen may be paranoid or filled with anxiety.
  • Your teen may get the 'munchies' and be hungry for any food they can get their hands on.

4. Are your teen's friends using marijuana?

Sometimes parents find out about their teen's marijuana drug 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 which is a big red flag. It means you need to start looking at your teen's behavior. While we would like to think that our teens do not succumb to peer pressure, many times they do. And as marijuana is a social drug, if your teen's peer group is using the drug chances go up that your teen is using it too.

5. Things in your teen's world start to go downhill.

With prolonged regular use of marijuana, your teen can start to have problems with school work, grades decline, truancy issues, bad moods, quitting extra-curricular activities and other interests, etc. Parents will notice a decline in attitude, appearance and behavior. While one time use may not have this effect to the point where a parent will pick up on the signs, using marijuana regularly will lead to these signs becoming apparent.

6. Marijuana drug paraphernalia in their room or in their personal belongings.

Marijuana Rolling Papers
In order for your teen to use marijuana they will have the items - drug paraphernalia - they need to use it. These items may be hidden in their rooms, between the mattress, in fake shaving cream or other cans or in their jackets or book bags. Things like pipes, rolling papers, clips that smell like marijuana and baggies with marijuana residue. If you seen any of these items, it is a sure sign your teen is using pot.

7. Other signs your teen may be using marijuana.

Marijuana Leaf Tshirt
Wearing marijuana leaves on shirts means teens are becoming a part of the drug culture.
Teens who use marijuana, especially around the home, have to be very resourceful to mask the smell or hid the evidence. You may find your teen has taken an interest in incense or air fresheners in their room. Or they may start to use mouth wash more often than they had before. The tips of their fingers may get little burns from holding the end of the rolled joint. They may start wearing marijuana t-shirts or hang posters with the pot leaf on them. They sneak out at night or go for walks. All of these things, especially if you are seeing more than one of them, are signs of marijuana drug use.

8. You can use a drug testing kit for marijuana use.

There are drug testing kits for just marijuana use available at local and online drug stores. There are also kits available that check for multiple drugs including marijuana. Generally, it is believed that urine tests for marijuana can detect the presence of the drug in the body for up to 13 days. If you are testing your teen with an at-home drug kit, one to five days after you believe they have gotten high on marijuana is a good set time for the best result.

9. Check out the 'Is My Teen Using Drugs' article?

This article goes over all of the common issues dealing with all types of teen drug use while the tips below are specific to the teen marijuana use and signs a parent should look out for if they feel their teen may be exposed or is using pot. If you have not read the article you may want to check it out now: Is My Teen Using Drugs?

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