Teenage Marijuana Use
Teenage marijuana use is at its highest level in 30 years. Many teenagers try marijuana once or twice while others use it regularly or become addicted.
Knowing that teenage marijuana use is a reality, it is important to talk to your teen. Open communication with your teen about the realities of marijuana use can help them make better choices and may prevent them from developing a problem with marijuana use down the line.
- Ask them their opinion of marijuana and what they have heard about its use
- Listen carefully to their answers, pay attention, and try not to interrupt
- Avoid making assumptions or angry comments
- If you are open to it, or it is applicable, talk to them about any negative experiences you may have had with marijuana use; being careful not to minimize the dangers of marijuana and other drug use as you are sharing your experiences.
If you believe that your teen did not heed warning and that their use is past prevention, then the following are some common signs of marijuana use to look for:
- Having increased irritability
- Losing interest in and motivation to do usual activities
- Spending time with peers that use marijuana
- Acting very silly and out of character for no reason
- Having trouble remembering things that just happened
- Carrying pipes, lighters, vape pens, or rolling papers
- Coming home with red eyes and/or urges to eat outside of usual mealtimes
- Stealing money or having money that cannot be accounted for
Often teenagers start using marijuana because they believe that it is safer than alcohol or other drugs. They believe that “it is harmless because it is organic or natural.” They see their friends using it occasionally or without obvious repercussion and assume that “it is not addictive.”
No matter where your teenager is in their marijuana use (never tried it, occasional use, or developing a problem), it is important to understand and stress some of the actual risk factors associate with teenage marijuana use:
With short-term use of marijuana you can see:
- Increased aggression
- School difficulties
- Problems with memory and concentration
- Use of other drugs or alcohol
- Risky sexual behaviors
- Worsening of underlying mental health conditions including mood changes and suicidal thinking
- Increased risk of psychosis
- Interference with prescribed medication
With long-term use of marijuana you can see:
- Breathing problems similar to those formed when smoking cigarettes (coughing, wheezing, trouble with physical activity, and lung cancer)
- Decreased motivation or interest (affecting school performance)
- Lower intelligence
- Mental health problems (depression, anxiety, anger, irritability, schizophrenia, and risk of suicide)
Teenage marijuana use can be damaging to your teen and detrimental to your family. If you believe that your teen is using marijuana in an unhealthy or addictive manner, then we can help. You are not alone. Miami Teen Counseling can help you find the tools and resources you need to move forward in strength and confidence. Request an appointment or contact Miami Teen Counseling (or Miguel Brown directly) at 786-383-0353. Our office hours are flexible (including afternoons and evenings) and all counseling services are offered in either English or Spanish. Contact us today!