When a child enters his or her teenage years, parents begin to fear how their child will face a number of pressures from their peers – everything from unprotected sex, to drinking, and drugs, like marijuana. Marijuana is referred to as a gateway drug because it’s often the first drug a teenager will try before moving on to more harmful drugs like cocaine, heroin, and a number of synthetic drugs.
If you’re worried that your child is using marijuana, or even if you don’t think there’s cause for concern, it’s important to be aware of the signs:
- The smell of marijuana may waft from their bedroom, clothing, or car. If you’re not familiar with the scent, it’s similar to skunk spray or burnt lawn clippings.
- If your teen is spraying air freshener, burning scented candles or incense, or using more perfume or cologne than usual, it could be an attempt to cover the smell of marijuana.
- Smoking marijuana causes red, swollen, bloodshot, irritated, or glassy eyes. Your teen may use eye drops or wear sunglasses indoors in an attempt to cover this sign.
- Your teen’s fingers, lips, or teeth may become stained by resin – a tar-like residue left over after smoking marijuana that is difficult to remove.
- If your kid is asking for more money than usual or spending more than usual with nothing to show for it, the money could be going to the purchase of marijuana.
- If your child is snacking more than usual, or eating unusual things, he or she may be experiencing the “munchies” – the increase in appetite caused by marijuana.
- Always having a beverage nearby could mean your child is experiencing the dry-mouth or cotton-mouth caused by marijuana smoking.
- Having phone calls in private or leaving the house for short periods of time to meet friends you’re not familiar with could mean your child is purchasing marijuana.
If your child exhibits any of these signs, it’s important not to jump to conclusions, but to be ever more alert and speak openly with your child. Ask questions about his or her friends and their drug use, his or her whereabouts, and about their own personal feelings on marijuana use.
If your child is struggling with drug addiction, use the Vitals Doctor Finder to find a trusted addiction medicine specialist near you.