Worried your teen is using cannabis? Here are a few signs to look out for…
Cannabis is one of the most common drugs used by teenagers. You may have noticed a few changes in your teenager and have a suspicion that they may be smoking or vaping cannabis in some form. Behavioural changes to look out for are:
- Appear lethargic or more laid-back.
- Mood swings.
- Less interest in school, friends or activities.
- Difficulty eating or sleeping.
Is My Teenager High?
Cannabis can be smoked, vaped, or eaten. When someone uses cannabis, they feel ‘stoned’. This feeling can differ from person to person. Some people describe feeling stoned as being happy and giggly while others might feel sleepy, confused and paranoid. This can be due to how much of the drug has been taken, how often a person uses it or the mood a person is in when they take it.
Signs your teenager may be high include:
- They seem very tired or extremely giddy and excitable.
- They’re very paranoid.
- They suddenly have an insatiable appetite and want to eat everything in sight – this is known as ‘the munchies’.
Other Signs To Look Out For
Keep an eye out for drug paraphernalia when you’re doing their laundry or clearing up their room. Look out for:
- Cigarette rolling papers – these are used to construct joints.
- Plastic baggies with cannabis residue.
- Cigarettes – often crumbled into a joint alongside cannabis.
- A strong acrid smell on their clothing. Cannabis has a distinct, pungent odour and smells quite different from cigarette smoke.
What To Do Next
- Take Five & Think
If you’ve discovered your child is using cannabis, try not to panic. You’re probably feeling angry and worried so it’s important to give yourself time to digest this new information before you speak to your teen. Wait until you’re calm and take this time to find out more about the drug. You can click here for more information.
- Perspective Is Key
Try to remember that most teenagers will experiment with drugs or alcohol at some point in their lives. Only a small percentage of these will end up with serious drug issues. Resist the urge to make extreme statements like “drugs will kill you” – your teenager is likely to shrug this off or scoff as they know this isn’t the case with cannabis. Focus instead on the proven evidence of the negative effects cannabis can have on mental health or the toll it will take on their school work or social life.
- Talk To Your Teenager
Pick a quiet moment to talk to your teenager. Approach the conversation calmly yet firmly. Let them know that you’re coming from a place of love and concern, not anger. Explain your concerns and talk about the risks and health issues that cannabis can cause. You can also talk about your boundaries – for example, you can firmly state that you do not want any drugs or drug paraphernalia in the house.
- Show Support
Your teenager might be keen to stop using cannabis or to reduce how much they use. Do what you can to encourage them and offer your support. Listen as well as talk. Your teenager may be using cannabis to cope with stress, anxiety, or another problem.
- Help For You
Finding out your child is using drugs can come as a shock. That’s why it’s important you get support too. Confide in a friend or family member, if you can, or click here for more advice and support for families of drug users.