Friday, June 14, 2024

How Can Parents Tell If Their Teenager Is Using Marijuana

Here’s a realistic list of signs that may indicate that your teen has at least some interest in marijuana. 

A nervous parent is probably going to scour the internet in search of articles about “ways to know if my kid is using marijuana,” only to find a bunch of pieces that sound as if they were written by a very out of touch high school guidance counselor.

Although some of the information out there on how to determine whether a teenager is smoking dope is legitimate, a lot of it is much too “after school special” for this day and age. Some of these articles indicate that kids are willing to disassemble parts of their parent’s houses to build marijuana smoking devices, while others suggest that teens are filling their rooms with air fresheners to mask the smell of weed.  

What, what, what, what?  

So, naturally, to combat the dated nature of this information, we felt the need to assemble a more realistic list of signs that may indicate that your teen has at least some interest in marijuana. 

Look At Your Teen’s Eyes/Face

People who have been smoking marijuana often have a difficult time hiding the fact that they are stoned. Their eyes get all red and squinty and, depending on the magnitude of their buzz, their faces can sometimes more closely resemble a cartoon character than anything quite human. Experienced tokers learn over time how to hide their highness. They use eye drops to eliminate the redness, and they’ve learned how much weed they can smoke without getting so blasted that they fall apart at the seams. But teenagers still have a lot to learn about getting high before getting to this level.

RELATED: Marijuana Legalization Discourages Teenage Use, Study Finds

So, if you find eye drops in their room or vehicle, that is a good sign that they are trying to hide something. Changes in their laughter (they are easily amused while alone in their room) could also be an indication.

But we’d like to point out that this is only part of the puzzle. Eye drops and increased laughter do not mean 100 percent that your kid is smoking marijuana. Maybe they have allergies or they’re just happy to be alive. So, bursting into their room and reading them the riot act over their marijuana use at this juncture is probably not the best approach. But maybe now is the time to pay closer attention to other behaviors.   

Check Teen’s Laundry For Odors

Although there are all kinds of marijuana products on the market, smoking is still the most common consumption method. If you notice that your teen’s clothing smells like weed, this might also be a sign that they are using. But remember, this alone is not any reason to give them the third degree and start dishing out punishment.

Photo by Dương Nhân via Pexels

They could have been exposed to the herb while hanging out with friends but opted not to partake. Hey, it’s possible. Not every kid succumbs to peer pressure. But also, just because you don’t smell anything different on your teenager’s clothing doesn’t mean they aren’t getting high.

RELATED: We Need To Educate Children And Adults About ‘Drug Education’

They could be using vapes or edibles, none of which have a pungent odor, making them difficult to detect. Look for vaping equipment and other smoking devices. It also never hurts to see what’s in their trash. In the mind of a teen, you’d never dig through their garbage to see what sort of miscreants they are becoming. But parents are like the CIA. 

Watch How Your Teen Raids The Fridge

All teens eat like animals. They are growing, and their metabolisms are going buck wild. It is for this reason that kids always seem to be in the refrigerator looking for something to eat. They may have had dinner an hour ago, yet they are somehow hungry again. Still, one of the main side effects of marijuana is the munchies, so paying attention to their eating habits can sometimes be a tell. If they are making an extra sandwich from time to time, that’s probably nothing to worry about.

THCV: Powerful Appetite-Suppressing Cannabinoid
Photo by

Remember, metabolisms gone wild! But if they start coming out of the kitchen with bizarre culinary creations (we always mixed peanut butter and marshmallow fluff), that may be a clue that they are ripped. The best way to find out for sure is to just call them out on it. When they sit down with a bowl of ice cream topped with Fruity Pebbles, just say, “What, are you high?” What happens next, the squirming, the paranoid shrieking might be all the evidence you need.

Just Have An Open Conversation About Marijuana

The most effective method for determining whether your teen is smoking marijuana (or is even thinking about it) is to have an open, honest and calm conversation about it. If you’ve established any kind of relationship with them over the years, chances are they will provide you with more information about their exposure to the herb than you could ever find trying to be the household detective. Teens are smart (although they don’t always act like it), so explaining to them how their actions could have repercussions is not beyond their comprehension. We believe showing teens that we are “on their side” is a better approach to parenting than flipping out.

RELATED: Teens Are Trying Marijuana Before Alcohol and Tobacco

Everyone makes mistakes, and none of us are perfect when it comes to following the rules. Help them understand that your aversion to their marijuana use is really just about ensuring that they have the best opportunities in life. Let’s get you through high school and then if you want to make marijuana a part of your world, so be it. But let’s at least make sure that you can get a decent enough job to afford it. Because mom and dad aren’t supporting anybody else’s weed habit except their own!


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