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Parents can identify teen marijuana use by observing changes in behavior, physical signs, and shifts in social circles. Often, these changes are subtle but significant, including alterations in mood, academic performance, and social habits. Recognizing these signs early is crucial for addressing potential substance abuse issues effectively.

Identifying marijuana use in teenagers can be challenging, yet it’s crucial for their well-being and safety.

Marijuana use can manifest in various ways, affecting behavior, physical appearance, and overall lifestyle. As a parent, understanding these signs is the first step in providing the necessary support and intervention. If you notice any of these signs, you may be interested in exploring the benefits of teen marijuana abuse treatment.

In this article, we share the 10 most common signs of teen marijuana use.

Signs of Teen Marijuana Use

For parents, recognizing the signs of marijuana use in teens is essential for early intervention.

These signs range from physical changes to shifts in behavior and social interactions. Early detection can lead to more effective conversations and support strategies, helping teens navigate this challenging phase.

Here are 10 signs of teen marijuana use.

1. Noticeable Change in Behavior

A noticeable behavior change is one of the critical indicators of teen marijuana use. This may include sudden mood swings, irritability, or decreased enthusiasm.

Parents may observe their teen exhibiting unusual lethargy, laughing inappropriately, or showing an uncharacteristic lack of coordination. Changes might also manifest in altered sleeping patterns or a shift in eating habits.

These behavioral shifts, especially when they deviate significantly from a teen’s usual demeanor, can be a sign of underlying substance use and warrant further attention.

2. Decline in Academic Performance

Marijuana use in teens can lead to a marked decline in academic performance. This change is often due to a decreased ability to concentrate and a lack of motivation towards schoolwork.

Parents and teachers might notice a drop in grades, a disinterest in participation, or a pattern of incomplete or missing assignments. Teens using marijuana may also start skipping classes or show a general disengagement from the school environment.

Such a decline in academic performance, mainly if it’s sudden or unexplained, can be a strong indicator of marijuana use.

3. Red or Glassy Eyes

One of the most visible physical signs of teen marijuana use is red or glassy eyes. This symptom results from the dilation of blood vessels in the eyes due to the effects of marijuana.

An unfocused or dizzy appearance often accompanies it. Red eyes might persist for several hours after marijuana use and can be a clear indicator, mainly if observed frequently or alongside other signs.

Parents noticing this symptom in their teens, mainly if it occurs regularly, should consider it a warning sign of possible marijuana use.

4. Increased Secrecy and Privacy

Teens using marijuana often exhibit increased secrecy and a heightened desire for privacy.

This behavior might include spending extended periods locked in their room, being evasive about their activities, or reacting defensively when asked about their whereabouts or friends. They may also take precautions to avoid being caught, such as frequently changing their clothing or using breath mints.

This secretive behavior is a coping mechanism to hide their substance use, and a sudden or intense shift towards privacy should alert parents to the possibility of marijuana use.

5. Unusual Smell on Clothes or Breath

The distinct, pungent smell of marijuana smoke is often a telltale sign of its use. Parents may notice this unique odor lingering on their teen’s clothes, hair, or breath.

Unlike tobacco, marijuana has a skunky, herbal scent that can be quite noticeable and difficult to mask completely. Teens may try to cover it up with heavy use of perfumes, colognes, or air fresheners.

Recognizing and identifying this unusual smell can be key for parents in determining whether their teen is engaging in marijuana use.

6. Use of Eye Drops or Perfume to Mask Signs

Teens who use marijuana might often use eye drops to counteract the redness caused by smoking, a very distinct and noticeable symptom.

They may also frequently use perfumes, colognes, or air fresheners to mask the unique and lingering smell of marijuana smoke on their clothes and bodies. These behaviors can be a response to conceal their marijuana use from parents and authority figures.

The sudden and regular use of these products, especially when it coincides with other signs of marijuana use, should alert parents to possible substance use.

7. Unexplained Need for Money

An unexplained and persistent need for money can be a warning sign of marijuana use among teens.

Marijuana is not free, and teens engaging in regular use might start asking for money more frequently without a clear explanation or evidence of where it is going. They may also start to dip into savings or sell personal belongings.

If you notice your teen is frequently short on money, especially if this is out of character, it could indicate they are spending it on substances like marijuana.

8. Sudden Change in Friends or Social Circles

A sudden and significant change in a teen’s friend group or social circles, mainly if the new group is known or suspected of substance use, can be indicative of marijuana use.

Teens often adopt the habits and behaviors of their peer group. If a teen starts associating with friends who use marijuana, they may be more likely to start using it, too.

Paying attention to whom your teen is spending time with and how their behaviors change with new friendships is essential in identifying possible marijuana use.

9. Lack of Motivation or Lethargy

Marijuana use can lead to a noticeable decrease in motivation and an increase in lethargy.

This may manifest as a lack of interest in activities the teen once enjoyed, a general sense of apathy, or an increased time spent sleeping or lounging around. While it’s normal for teens to go through phases of low energy, a sudden or severe drop in motivation and energy levels, especially if accompanied by other signs of marijuana use, can be a cause for concern.

10. Possession of Paraphernalia Related to Marijuana Use

Finding marijuana paraphernalia is a clear indicator of marijuana use. This can include items like rolling papers, pipes, bongs, or homemade smoking devices.

Teens might try to hide these items in their room, car, or personal belongings. Discovering such items should prompt a serious and supportive conversation about substance use.

Paraphernalia possession not only confirms use but also indicates a level of engagement with marijuana that may require intervention.

Teen Marijuana Addiction

Regular marijuana use in teens can escalate into addiction, a risk heightened by the vulnerability of their developing brains.

Addiction manifests as dependency, where the teen feels unable to function normally without marijuana. This dependency can lead to significant risks, including impaired cognitive functions, decreased academic performance, and potential for engaging in risky behaviors.

Early intervention is crucial. Parents noticing signs of habitual marijuana use should consider a proactive approach. Seeking professional help through a teen treatment center that offers a residential treatment program is a constructive step.

These centers provide a nurturing environment to guide teens back on track, focusing on holistic recovery and sustainable well-being.

Teen Marijuana Abuse Treatment at Visions

Visions Treatment Centers offer specialized teen marijuana abuse treatment, providing a supportive and understanding environment for recovery.

Our comprehensive approach includes individual counseling, family therapy, and educational support tailored to each teen’s unique needs.

At Visions, we focus on healing the whole person, not just addressing the addiction fostering lasting change and resilience. Our dedicated team of professionals is committed to helping teens and their families navigate this challenging journey toward a healthier future. Reach out to Visions Treatment Centers for expert guidance and support in teen marijuana abuse treatment.


Recognizing the signs of teen marijuana use is the first step toward addressing potential substance abuse.

Early intervention, open communication, and professional guidance are key to helping your teen navigate this phase. At Visions Treatment Centers, we understand the challenges and complexities of teen substance abuse and offer tailored programs to support recovery. If you’re concerned about your teen’s marijuana use, don’t hesitate to seek help.

Contact Visions Treatment Centers today to learn how we can assist you and your teen in this crucial journey to well-being.

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