How Can I Tell If My Child Is High on Marijuana?

How Can I Tell If My Child Is High on Marijuana?

If want to know if your child is smoking marijuana, look for the following easy-to-spot signs:

  • Red, dry or baggy eyes
  • Chronically tired and unmotivated
  • Skunk-like smell on clothes or in the bedroom
  • Carries a lighter but never cigarettes
  • Black marks on the bottom of the lighter (from packing bowls)
  • Ripped cardboard, particularly from cigarette packs (used as joint filters)
  • Little Debbie wrappers everywhere (a.k.a. “the munchies”)
  • Cigar tobacco with no shell (cigar is refilled with marijuana to create a “blunt”)
  • Significant increase in monies borrowed or requested
  • Conversations become unintelligible or pseudo-intellectual
  • Paraphernalia like water bongs, roach clips, pipes and pipe cleaners
  • Twisted paperclips with black-tar bits (to poke and/or clean pipe bowls)
  • Often loses train of thought
  • Laughter at inappropriate times
  • Unnecessary paranoia and anxiety
  • Burnt fingertips or lips
  • A sudden aptitude for fractions

Another tell is smoking cigarettes between the index finger and thumb, which is the common hold for a joint, as opposed to holding the cigarette between the middle and index fingers.

Talking to Your Kids about Marijuana

Many parents want to find hard evidence before initiating a conversation, so they search the child’s bedroom, backpack and computer browsing history, but a supposed breach of trust and privacy can derail a drug talk before it even begins. Every family should have a drug-use conversation regardless of suspicion or evidence, and the following are some important points to make:

  • Marijuana is illegal with criminal consequences
  • One joint can contain more chemicals than a pack of cigarettes
  • Marijuana-using social circles typically engage in more risk
  • Marijuana impairs focus, concentration and memory
  • Hinders decision-making, reaction times and overall awareness
  • Decreases motivation, initiative and physical/academic activity
  • Limits a teen’s ability to process and learn from challenges
  • Increases risks when driving a car, motorcycle or bike
  • Can lead to paralyzing paranoia in emergency situations

The most important point, however, is that many recent studies (British Journal of Psychiatry, British Medical Journal, Archives of General Psychiatry and others) found connections between adolescent marijuana use and symptoms of psychosis. While the research is ongoing, early use appears to increase the risk of psychosis and schizophrenia later in life. According to, the studies show “a 40% increased risk of psychosis in cannabis users… [and] 50% to 200% [increased risk] in those who used cannabis frequently.” Before talking with your child, research “cannabis psychosis” on the internet and make sure you understand this potential danger.

Treatment for Marijuana Addiction

Cambridge professor Leslie Iverson, author of The Science of Marijuana, suggests that 10% to 30% of all marijuana users develop a dependency and 9% develop an addiction. Fortunately proper treatment can help users of all ages. Professional help includes the following:

  • Assistance with anxiety, insomnia, headaches, irritability and other withdrawal symptoms
  • Mental-health screenings and treatment for any psychiatric and/or mood disorders
  • Behavioral therapies to eliminate unhealthy habits and instill positive new ones
  • Examine underlying causes (fitting in, peer pressure, escape) that inspired the use
  • Group therapy, counseling sessions and other aftercare support

Quit Using Marijuana

If you or your child is addicted to marijuana, our expert staff is available 24 hours a day to help. Call our toll-free number to ask about marijuana use signs, talking with kids about drugs and options for treatment. We can even check health insurance policies for coverage. We are here to help, so call today.