Marijuana – Is my Teen Using?
Adolescence can be a challenging time for any teen and it is important for parents to recognize the difference between common adolescent behavior and possibly a more serious concern, such as the use of marijuana. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) “by the time they graduate high school, about 44 percent of U.S. teens will have tried marijuana at least once in their lifetime.”
It is not uncommon for parents to be unaware of their teen’s marijuana use because the short-term effects of marijuana can be easily overlooked as symptoms of simple teenage angst in the midst of a stressful, coming-of-age period in their lives. So how can parents determine the difference? By simply looking closer into the following changes in their teen’s daily life:
- A drop in academic grade point averages. Marijuana affects memory, judgment and perception.
- Weaker performances in sports or other athletic activity. Marijuana affects the cerebellum, the part of our brain that controls balance and coordination.
- Leaving the house without an explanation or coming home later than usual.
- Feeling more tired than usual during the day or changes in sleep habits
- Increased moodiness or agitation. Marijuana may actually increase anxiety in some users.
- Loss of interest and motivation
- Change in social circle
Talk to your teens about what is going on in their personal lives. It may be that your teen’s grade point average is dropping because they simply aren’t studying, they are agitated over a disagreement with a friend or an unhealthy diet is leading to their fatigue. However, even if these reasons may be the case, marijuana use often starts as a way to cope with these feelings. Find out what is going on with your teens, create an open dialogue and do not be afraid to be labeled as the “meddling” parent to find out what is going on.
For more information, visit http://www.drugabuse.gov/
For more information, targeted to parents of teens who may be using Marijuana, please visit: http://theparenttoolkit.org/images/uploads/toolkit/resource_files/parents_marijuana_brochure.pdf