Marijuana is often one of the first substances a person experiments with. Weed is one of the most accessible drugs today and with a changing legal status, the drug is easier to acquire than ever before. Like any substance, use of weed has the potential to lead to dependency and addiction. While many discussions about marijuana use intend to paint a positive picture, marijuana largely remains a drug that changes the way a person behaves, as well as their interactions with those around them.
As a parent, you are often the first to notice changes in your child’s behaviors, and you may suspect that substance abuse is at the root of it. In this article, we will explore the most common signs of marijuana use, what it looks like in various forms & common hiding spots, and what you can do to help your child if you suspect they have developed a dependency on it. While you may feel alone and unsure about where you can turn, many families go through similar experiences and we are here to help.
There are numerous telltale signs that someone is smoking marijuana. From physical symptoms to behavioral changes, use of weed is generally not discreet and your child may go above and beyond to conceal it from you.
- One of the most common indicators of marijuana use is red eyes. You may notice your child keeps eye drops, which may be used to conceal this side effect.
- If your child smokes marijuana, you may notice small burns on the ends of their fingers. This usually happens when someone smokes a joint to the very end.
- If your child is suddenly using mouthwash, different body sprays, or other products such as air fresheners, they may be smoking weed. Marijuana has a very distinct, pungent smell, and many will use these products to cover it.
- Take this quiz to determine if your son or daughter is showing the telltale signs of drug abuse.
- Marijuana is known to make users become more lethargic. This may manifest as them no longer taking an interest in activities they once enjoyed or seeming depressed or isolated.
- Using weed can also cause your child’s academic performance to drop. With decreased engagement and interest in other activities, your child’s grades or work ethic may begin to shift.
- Changes in who your child spends their time with is also a major clue. If your child ditches long-term good friends for objectionable people, it may be a sign that they are experimenting with drugs. You may also notice your child’s language change; they may speak in code or become more secretive when they suspect you are around.
Marijuana comes in a variety of forms. Depending on the way your child uses it, you may find various forms of paraphernalia. This may include:
- Rolling papers: Thin, lightweight, white paper used for hand-rolled cigarettes or joints. They often come in small, long rectangular packs of several cigarette-size sheets, often folded inside a cardboard wrapper.
- Bongs: or water pipes can be plastic or glass. They usually have a removable piece or “bowl” that holds the marijuana or tobacco and a larger body where the water is added. They come in all sizes.
- Pipes: smaller and more portable glass or plastic pipes. There is usually a visible hole or “bowl” where the marijuana is placed.
- Edibles such as brownies or cookies: edibles come in various shapes and sizes. They are actual brownies, cookies, or candies that are baked with THC.
- Vapes or Vaporizors: some, not all, vaporizors are designed for smoking wax which contains a more concentrated form of THC. These vapes may appear like other nicotine vaporizers but most juice bottles will have the level of THC printed on them if they contain in.
Marijuana can be smoked or consumed through a food or beverage. Here are some of the most common forms of consumption you may encounter:
- Marijuana is a plant- you may find stems, seeds, or grassy-looking substances
- Marijuana can also be infused with tea so what may appear to be tea leaves could actually be weed
- Weed is also consumed in edibles which are usually in dessert form – the most common edibles you may encounter are brownies or cookies
- Some may use wax: a resin that contains high concentrations of THC – this is usually a yellow, hard substance that is melted down and smoked
Common Hiding Spots for Parents to Check
Your child will try to conceal marijuana use through a variety of means.
- They may go for long walks or block cracks in bedroom doors to prevent smoke from spreading in the house
- There are countless places your child could hide weed, but some of the most common locations include:
- Underneath the mattress
- In small boxes, such as jewelry boxes
- In their car: to keep it out of the house, young adults may store it the center console, their gym back, trunks etc.
- In their backpack
- Behind furniture
- Battery hatch: check inside the battery hatch of teen’s electronics like alarm clocks, stereos, etc.
- Highlighters: some young people are hollowing out highlighters to hide their stash
- Deodorant sticks: some may hallow out the tube and hide their weed there
- Inside the closet:they could be hiding it in a box or in a specific place or even inside of their clothes
- Outside the House: If you suspect the symptoms of marijuana use and abuse remember that your son or daughter may be stashing their weed outside the house to try and keep it hidden from you or other family members. Checking the car, gym bags etc may be another place to start.
Have questions about whether or not your son or daughter may be struggling with marijuana abuse or addiction?
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Once you have confirmed your suspicions, you can begin to formulate a plan to move forward. Intervening early in substance abuse is critical in ensuring your child receives appropriate care. It may be difficult to know how to proceed, but there are several steps you should take:
- When appropriate, talk to your child: If they seem to be open and willing to discuss, the first is reaching out to your child. Depending on the nature of their addiction and your relationship with them, you can approach this in a number of ways. In some cases, having a frank conversation with them can help you broach the topic. In other instances, an intervention may be necessary. Starting the conversation is critical in helping your child realize they may have a problem and work towards getting the help they need.
- Contact a professional: Regardless of the degree of care your child requires, working with a professional to determine your next steps can make the process much easier. Those who work in the treatment world can help connect you with resources and evaluate your individual circumstances to make a recommendation. With so many options available, it can be difficult to navigate the road to recovery alone. A professional can remove some of the apprehension or anxiety you feel moving forward in your child’s treatment by providing you with unbiased treatment options.
- Offer resources: In addition to working with a professional, you can also offer additional resources to help support your child. Resources can range from changing the way your home operates to reinforce sobriety, to helping your child connect with resources such as group meetings or extracurricular activities. Finding ways to engage with your child in significant ways can help them replace the time used to get high with more meaningful interests. This both helps your child reestablish their identity and learn to enjoy sobriety.
From Abuse to Addiction: How to Know if Your Child is Addicted to Weed
Substance abuse does not always turn into addiction. In certain cases, some people are able to experiment with drugs and never develop a dependency. Marijuana tends to be popularly represented as a substance you cannot become addicted to; however, many find themselves relying on the drug to even feel normal.
If you observe that your child tends to be under the influence most of the time, they may rely on weed to get through the day. Many will begin to experience withdrawal symptoms without it. Symptoms such as fatigue, irritability, insomnia, or feelings of depression can all be indicators that an addiction has formed. In some cases, a person may experience more physical symptoms such as stomach aches, fever, chills, and headaches. Using weed quiets these symptoms, making a person more reliant on it.
Withdrawal from marijuana is generally not life-threatening, but it can be uncomfortable.
In some cases, feelings of depression or agitation could cause a person to put themselves in a dangerous situation. Even if you feel that marijuana addiction is not as dangerous as another illicit substance, the experience of withdrawal can have very different effects on individuals, making it especially important to enlist the help of professionals when starting the recovery process. Medical professionals are able to help make the withdrawal process as comfortable as possible while simultaneously removing the influence of enabling peers and environments.
Think Your Child is Smoking Weed? Here’s What You Can Do Now
If you feel confident your child might be struggling with marijuana, learn more about treatment options for weed addiction. If you’re ready to find out how Sober College can help your child get back to living up to their full potential, give us a call at 800.465.0142 or fill out a contact form and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours.