It’s understandable that a majority of parents would be concerned if they found out their teen smokes pot. Concerns about potential health ramifications (especially for younger, underdeveloped brains), where the weed is coming from and what types of people the teen is hanging around, and the possibility of facing legal consequences are all legitimate concerns for any parent. If you suspect that your teen might be dabbling in pot, here are some answers to a few common questions.
1. What are some slang terms used to describe cannabis?
There are more than 200 slang terms out there but a few of the most common are pot, herb, weed, dank, Mary Jane, grass, kief, ganja, hash, nugg, sticky icky, kush, flower, bud. Weed paraphernalia terminology might include joints, blunt, spliff. bong, vape, papers or cones.
If you hear your teen repeating some of these terms, it’s highly likely they might be using cannabis.
2. What are some signs that my teen might be smoking cannabis?
Excessive giggling, extreme sleepiness or lethargy may be signs of a cannabis habit, but they are also common for teenagers. So be sure to pay attention to your teen’s overall behavior. For instance, if your teen seems to be running out of money, or is borrowing money from you more often, this could be an indicator.
Between buying both cannabis and the items with which to consume it, a habit can be expensive. Also, if your teen seems to be using eye drops more often, they could be trying to clear that damning bloodshot look. The musky, herbal, smoky smell coming from his or her room is also a dead giveaway.
3. Is cannabis harmful to my teen’s brain development?
The effects of cannabis (THC in particular) on the teenage brain are largely inconclusive. As a psychoactive component, researchers have raised concerns regarding the effects that this component can have on a developing brain. This is especially since marijuana can temporarily impair memory, attention, and focus.
A few years ago, several news outlets picked up on a study published by the Journal of Psychopharmacology, which concluded that pot use lowers teen IQs. However, most follow-up studies have debunked this claim and have found ‘no measurable link between marijuana use and lower IQ,’ reads the National Academy of Sciences website.
Unfortunately, the Schedule I classification of cannabis means that the studies conducted can only make associative claims rather than those based on hard evidence. So, until more becomes known, pot use is best reserved for adults.
4. Is cannabis addictive?
Cannabis addiction can be understood more as a psychological dependency where a teen might use the drug to cope with stress, emotions, pressures and other unexpressed phenomena.
If your teen can’t or doesn’t want to function without cannabis, claims to ‘need’ it to deal with certain aspects of daily life, or seems to be irritable, angry or depressed without it, he or she has most likely developed a dependency. Teens can also become addicted to food and other habits in the same sense.
But as far as a physiological addiction that requires medical intervention (like with alcohol, opioids, etc), quitting cannabis is not dangerous for teens like with other substances. If your teen does seem to have a cannabis dependency, it might be time to address some of the underlying issues they may be dealing with.