Today’s Weed & Your Teen: What To Be On The Lookout For As A Parent


Experimenting with weed has been a rite of passage for teenagers across the world. Usually considered relatively harmless on the spectrum of drugs, today’s weed is not the same as the stuff from our generation. Increased potency and new methods of ingestion make modern marijuana more of a danger and less of a "chill way to relax." As the most used psychoactive substance amongst adolescents, it’s important for parents to have an idea about the dangers of teenage marijuana use and know what to look out for.


The Dangers of Teenage Marijuana Use


  • Impact on Brain Development: The brain continues to grow and develop until around the age of 25. Adolescence is a crucial period for brain development and the introduction of marijuana into the system can cause lasting effects and damage. Research indicates that regular marijuana use during adolescence can disrupt the development of neural pathways, leading to cognitive impairments, memory issues, and decreased academic performance.

  • Mental Health Risks: The potency of today’s weed is staggering. In the 90’s the average THC (psychoactive ingredient) content of weed was 4%. Today the average THC content is 20%. This doesn’t take into account the concentrated versions of marijuana like oils and edibles which can reach up to 90% THC content. The power of today’s cannabis poses a much higher risk of developing mental health disorders for teens than previous generations. Cannabis-induced psychosis is a very real, and increasingly prevalent phenomenon whereby the ingestion of marijuana causes paranoia, delusions, hallucinations, and sometimes a complete break from reality. THC can also exacerbate underlying mental health conditions like depression and anxiety while causing early onset schizophrenia in vulnerable teenagers.

  • Social & Academic Consequences: The stereotype of the lazy stoner has been around forever and for good reason. Teenage marijuana use can negatively impact social relationships and academic performance. Adolescents who use marijuana may experience difficulties in school, such as decreased motivation, impaired concentration, and lower grades. Moreover, substance use can strain relationships with family and peers, leading to social isolation and conflicts.

  • Legal Ramifications: While many states have legalized or decriminalized possession of marijuana, in many states it is still quite illegal. Depending on the jurisdiction, even if possession is legal, minors in possession may still face legal consequences including fines, community service, or involvement with law enforcement. Parents should be aware of the legal implications of underage marijuana use.


What To Be On The Watch For


  • Changes in Behavior: Keep an eye out for any abrupt or unexplained changes in your child’s behavior. If you notice mood swings, withdrawal from family activities, or a decline in academic performance, pay attention as it may be an indicator of drug use or an underlying mental/emotional issue.

  • Physical Signs: The telltale signs of weed use are bloodshot eyes, changes in appetite, and the smell of cannabis on clothes or belongings. 

  • Peer Influence: The teenage years are a fundamental period of development and ripe for peer influence. Pay attention to who your kid is hanging out with. If you notice changes in their friend group or an unwillingness for you to meet their friends, it may be a red flag that they’ve found a new group of people to hang out with who might not be the best influence. 

  • Open Communication: Keep the lines of communication open and honest. Create a home environment where you feel comfortable talking with each other. Let them know they can speak openly about their experiences, concerns, and questions without fear of judgment or punishment. Let them know you love them and just want them to be safe. 


Worried About Your Kid?


When we understand the risks associated with teenage marijuana use and stay engaged in our kids lives, we can help empower them to make informed and healthy decisions. If you suspect that your kid may be using marijuana, don't hesitate to seek support from Sustain Recovery. We’re here to help you and your family navigate the waters of teenage substance abuse and make sure everyone has a healthy, bright future ahead. Call us today.