I debated about posting about teens smoking pot, 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 drug.
In fact, many of my friends vehemently refuse to smoke cigarettes, but love smoking weed. I want to explain to parents the teen pot culture and give some warning signs that your kid might be smoking it. Many of these are no different from when parents were teenagers, but it can never hurt to be reminded.
-Marijuana: MaryJ, Pot, Grass, Weed, Toke, Reefer, Hay, MaryJane
Types of Marijuana:
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 (Tetrahydrocannabinol, the main psychoactive substance in cannibus) and gives a “good high.” 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.
Pot Delivery Systems:
Joint: Putting weed in rolling paper sometimes with a ‘filter’ made of cardboard, (looks like a handrolled 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 pot pipes, which are basically tobacco pipes for weed.
Bubbler: A type of handblown 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. Vaporizers offers minimal smell and some believe they are better for the lungs.
Edible Stuff (aka “laced” food): Marijuana can be cooked into brownies and cookies, for instance. I have seen truffle pasta made with the oil from cooked pot.
Hookah: Many teens now go to cafes or bars where there are hookahs with flavored, usually fruity, tobacco. Teens can buy their own hookahs and add pot to the flavored tobacco, which covers the scent.
Medicinal Marijuana: In certain states, teens can get their hands on a marijuana prescription, allowing them to purchase marijuana energy bars, pot pills and chocolate infused pot.
The Warning Signs Your Teen is Using Pot:
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.
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 mints and Clear Eyes drops to hide the bloodshot eyes) clove cigarettes, loose tobacco peelings…you might want to have a talk with them.
- Blood-shot eyes
- Odd behavior after being with friends like extended giggling, lack of eye contact, running upstairs to bed, consuming large quantities of foo
- 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 kid’s 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.
Vanessa Van Petten is a CNN columnist, winner of the Mom’s Choice Award and an author with Penguin Books. She travels the country speaking to all types of groups about family relationships, teen lifestyles, advertising to Net-Generation and many other issues pertaining to Gen Y. She also gives keynote and inspirational speeches. She is the author of the forthcoming “Do I Get My Allowance Before or After I’m Grounded?”
The information on MommaSaid.net is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice or to replace your relationship with a physician. For all medical concerns, you should always consult your doctor.