by Vanessa Van Petten
I debated about posting this because I know I will anger some of my teen readers and clients who are very much a part of the teen pot culture and do not want to get busted. Unfortunately, pot is everywhere and many teens (some of my friends included) consider it a very tame habit. In fact, many of my friends vehemently refuse to smoke cigarettes, but love smoking weed.
I want to explain the pot culture a bit for parents and give some warning signs–many of these are no different from when parents were teenagers, but it can never hurt to be reminded.
The Nicknames for Marijuana: MaryJ, Pot, Grass, Weed, Toke, Reefer, Hay, MaryJane
The Forms: I am no expert on this, but I do know that there are different qualities of weed (in leaf form) that you can buy. High quality weed, the more expensive kind has high levels of THC and gives a ‘good high.’ Also different kinds of weed can give different kinds of highs, quick high, long lasting, etc. Poor quality weed can give headaches because it can sometimes be laced with other substances.
The Methods and the Terms (a brief overview):
- Joint– Putting weed in rolling paper sometimes with a ‘filter’ made of cardboard, (looks like a hand-rolled cigarette).
- Spliff — Half tobacco, half weed joint usually in a modified cigarette or with rolling paper, often used to cover the smell of the marijuana.
- Bong — A long cylindrical glass jar where the marijuana smoke is inhaled from the canister.
- Pipe — There are small and big ones, it is basically a tobacco pipe for weed.
- Bubbler– A type of hand-blown glass pipe that has a ‘pouch’ for water so that the marijuana smoke filters through the water as it “bubbles.”
- Vaporizer: A way of smoking weed without smoke. This machine heats up the marijuana so just the THC is burned off in a vapor and inhaled. (minimal smell and better for the lungs).
- Edible Stuff (aka ‘laced’ food): Brownies, cookies, I have seen truffle pasta made with the oil from cooked pot.
- Hookah: Many teens now go to cafes or bars where there are hookah’s with flavored, usually fruity tobacco. Teens can buy their own hookahs and add pot to the flavored tobacco, which covers the scent.
- Medicinal: If teens can get their hands on a marijuana prescription then they can eat marijuana energy bars, pills and chocolate infused pot.
The Warning Signs: If they come home smelling like: pot (obviously), cloves (clove cigarettes are often used to cover up the smell of pot), hookah tobacco (also used to cover up the smell of pot), lots of mint (many of my teen friends will literally shower in Listerine and gum before they get home), loads of perfume or cologne.
- Paraphernalia: If you find rolling papers, lighters, pot (obviously), little baggies, any type of hand-blown pipe/bubbler/contraption, lots of eye drops (my pot smoking friends always carry ice breakers and clear eyes to hide the bloodshot eyes) clove cigarettes, loose tobacco peelings…you might want to have a talk with them. (The following warning signs have lots of other explanations, but I feel I should mention them especially if they are paired with any of the signs above)
- Blood shot eyes: Odd behavior after being with friends like extended giggling, lack of eye contact, running upstairs ‘to bed,’ consuming large quantities of food…
- Extreme ups and downs: Some of the pot smokers I know smoke so often, that when they are not high their personalities are extremely different than when they do smoke. Of course, mood swings are a typical part of teen life, but if you notice shortened attention span and extreme changes in energy level or personality, this could be something to look into, whether it is pot or not.
- Unexplained loss of money, unexplained gain of money.Did you just give your kid his Christmas money and now it is all gone and there is nothing to show for it/explanation? How about if they have lots of spending money…too much spending money? There are many teens who will deal pot to their friends to make extra money on the side. (Interesting sidenote: One of my friends in high school used to sell his little brother’s urine to athletes to pass drug tests…he did very well for himself)
Please, please, please do not freak out if you find eye drops in your kids purse or pockets, there are many reasons why your teen might have some of the signs above, but I think it is just important for parents to be aware. To be honest, whether it is marijuana or not, many of these signs also might signify that someone needs help (mood swings, cigarettes, odd behavior, lack of attention). These things, drug related or not, should also be discussed with your teen.
Please do pass this around to other parents so that we can get the warning signs out there.
Vanessa Van Petten is the teen author of the parenting book “You’re Grounded!” She writes a parenting blog along with 12 other teen writers from the kid’s perspective to help parents understand what is actually going on in the mind of kid’s today. Her parenting tips have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Daily News, Fox 5 New York, CBS 4 Miami and much more. Visit her web site at RadicalParenting.com