Signs of Marijuana Use

Reviewed Nov 28, 2016

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Summary

Marijuana:

  • Can give you a pleasant high for a short time
  • Affects memory, motivation, and motor coordination
  • Can lead to birth defects in a user’s children

You may be a parent who suspects your child is using marijuana, or maybe an employer having trouble with an employee. Are there signs you should watch for to detect marijuana use?

Marijuana at home

For whatever reason, you think your son or daughter might be using drugs, specifically marijuana. Short of a confrontation or invasion of their privacy, is there any way to be sure?

Here are some physical signs to look for:

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • A lingering smell of sweet herbal smoke
  • Stubs of tightly wound paper but no filters
  • Residue of twigs, seeds, pods or leaves
  • Bottles of eye drops
  • Rolling papers, piles, bongs, clips. Drug paraphernalia is a good indicator of frequent use.
  • Incense, to cover up the smell of marijuana smoke
  • Mouth wash, air fresheners, or other scent maskers
  • Small burns on thumb or forefinger

If you have found one or more of these signs, look for changes in behavior. They could signal a wide variety of problems, including marijuana use disorder.

Has your teen:

  • Recently changed friends
  • Dropped out of activities she once liked
  • Suddenly run out of money, for no apparent reason
  • Dropped in academic achievement or test scores
  • Become newly interested in taking out the trash or walking the dog late at night

Have you noticed that your kid:

  • Easily loses his train of thought
  • Says teachers or other authority figures are out to get him
  • Laughs inappropriately
  • Is always hungry
  • Seems confused and lethargic
  • Is staying up or out much later than usual

If you answer yes to several of these questions, it is time for you to talk to your teen. She may be experimenting, which does not mean she is an addict. She might not go beyond that stage. Or, she could be smoking pot regularly, frequent enough to interfere with her grades, relationships and future plans, especially if she drives under the influence of drugs. If she uses pot regularly, it is time for you to get her drug counseling. If regular use goes on for a long time, she could develop a dependency on the drug and then she would need further substance use treatment.

Before you talk, choose a time when she is sober, when the two of you are alone and when will not be interrupted. Make sure you have your own negative feelings under control.

  • Do not be confrontational.
  • Show your interest in your child’s feelings and needs.
  • Ask if there is something bothering her.
  • Ask her if she is using drugs. If she says yes, ask her what kind, where, when, and with whom.
  • Very important: Listen to what she has to say.
  • Tell her your concerns. Be loving, but also honest.
  • Ask her to stop.
  • Tell her the facts about marijuana or other drugs. Be sure to educate yourself, first.

If your talk is not successful, do not waste time getting her the help she needs. Discuss the situation with a doctor. Join a support group for parents in similar situations. Find professional help for your child as quickly as possible. The longer you wait, the more likely she will become dependent on this or other drugs.

Marijuana at work

Marijuana use in the workplace can put everyone on edge or even at risk of injury. People who are high have accidents—in cars, with machinery, or in their dealings with customers or colleagues.

Laws may be changing in your state, but few employers are going to permit drug or alcohol use on the job. Chances are your company has rules. Review them. If you head a small business, you will have to decide how much you will or can tolerate when you suspect a worker is high on the job.

He may not be using marijuana at the workplace, but his off-premise use can affect his performance.

Here are some things to look for, if you suspect your employee of using pot.

Ask yourself, is your employee:

  • Chronically late
  • Unmotivated
  • Depressed or withdrawn
  • Slow, lethargic, or confused
  • Unable to follow instructions
  • Having financial problems
  • Getting into trouble with the law
  • Coming back late from lunch or breaks, then not accomplishing much
  • Calling in sick frequently
  • Complaining about supervisors picking on her
  • Argumentative
  • Suddenly coming to work sloppily dressed or poorly groomed
  • Wearing clothes that smell like incense
  • Losing coordination and motor skills
  • Not as physically strong as he was when you hired him

We all lose our get-up-and-go once in a while. No single item on this list is an absolute sign of drug use. But, taken together, they describe an employee who may have a drug problem, especially a marijuana use problem. What you do about it will depend on your company’s policies.

Document what you see, as well as the employee’s work performance. A consultation with a doctor or drug counselor might be a good step to take, so you would know if you are on the right track. Or, you might want to go directly to your human resources director for instructions on how to handle the situation.

Resources

National Institute on Drug Abuse
www.nida.nih.gov

National Institute on Drug Abuse Teen Page
http://teens.drugabuse.gov/

Nar-Anon Family Groups
http://nar-anon.org/naranon/

By Paula Hartman Cohen
Source: Jenny Karstad, MA, LADC, LCMHC, clinical supervisor, Brattleboro Retreat Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Center, Brattleboro, VT; Joseph Lee, MD, psychiatrist, medical director for youth services and national advocate for adolescent addiction and mental health issues, Hazelden Addiction Treatment Centers, Minneapolis, MN; William Shryer, DCSW, LCSW, clinical director, Diablo Behavioral Healthcare Centers, Danville, CA; Tina B. Tessina, PhD, psychotherapist and author of The Real 13th Step: Discovering Confidence, Self-Reliance, and Independence Beyond the 12-Step Programs, Long Beach, CA
Reviewed by Arkady Bilenko, MD, Vice President, Regional Medical Director, Beacon Health Options

Summary

Marijuana:

  • Can give you a pleasant high for a short time
  • Affects memory, motivation, and motor coordination
  • Can lead to birth defects in a user’s children

You may be a parent who suspects your child is using marijuana, or maybe an employer having trouble with an employee. Are there signs you should watch for to detect marijuana use?

Marijuana at home

For whatever reason, you think your son or daughter might be using drugs, specifically marijuana. Short of a confrontation or invasion of their privacy, is there any way to be sure?

Here are some physical signs to look for:

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • A lingering smell of sweet herbal smoke
  • Stubs of tightly wound paper but no filters
  • Residue of twigs, seeds, pods or leaves
  • Bottles of eye drops
  • Rolling papers, piles, bongs, clips. Drug paraphernalia is a good indicator of frequent use.
  • Incense, to cover up the smell of marijuana smoke
  • Mouth wash, air fresheners, or other scent maskers
  • Small burns on thumb or forefinger

If you have found one or more of these signs, look for changes in behavior. They could signal a wide variety of problems, including marijuana use disorder.

Has your teen:

  • Recently changed friends
  • Dropped out of activities she once liked
  • Suddenly run out of money, for no apparent reason
  • Dropped in academic achievement or test scores
  • Become newly interested in taking out the trash or walking the dog late at night

Have you noticed that your kid:

  • Easily loses his train of thought
  • Says teachers or other authority figures are out to get him
  • Laughs inappropriately
  • Is always hungry
  • Seems confused and lethargic
  • Is staying up or out much later than usual

If you answer yes to several of these questions, it is time for you to talk to your teen. She may be experimenting, which does not mean she is an addict. She might not go beyond that stage. Or, she could be smoking pot regularly, frequent enough to interfere with her grades, relationships and future plans, especially if she drives under the influence of drugs. If she uses pot regularly, it is time for you to get her drug counseling. If regular use goes on for a long time, she could develop a dependency on the drug and then she would need further substance use treatment.

Before you talk, choose a time when she is sober, when the two of you are alone and when will not be interrupted. Make sure you have your own negative feelings under control.

  • Do not be confrontational.
  • Show your interest in your child’s feelings and needs.
  • Ask if there is something bothering her.
  • Ask her if she is using drugs. If she says yes, ask her what kind, where, when, and with whom.
  • Very important: Listen to what she has to say.
  • Tell her your concerns. Be loving, but also honest.
  • Ask her to stop.
  • Tell her the facts about marijuana or other drugs. Be sure to educate yourself, first.

If your talk is not successful, do not waste time getting her the help she needs. Discuss the situation with a doctor. Join a support group for parents in similar situations. Find professional help for your child as quickly as possible. The longer you wait, the more likely she will become dependent on this or other drugs.

Marijuana at work

Marijuana use in the workplace can put everyone on edge or even at risk of injury. People who are high have accidents—in cars, with machinery, or in their dealings with customers or colleagues.

Laws may be changing in your state, but few employers are going to permit drug or alcohol use on the job. Chances are your company has rules. Review them. If you head a small business, you will have to decide how much you will or can tolerate when you suspect a worker is high on the job.

He may not be using marijuana at the workplace, but his off-premise use can affect his performance.

Here are some things to look for, if you suspect your employee of using pot.

Ask yourself, is your employee:

  • Chronically late
  • Unmotivated
  • Depressed or withdrawn
  • Slow, lethargic, or confused
  • Unable to follow instructions
  • Having financial problems
  • Getting into trouble with the law
  • Coming back late from lunch or breaks, then not accomplishing much
  • Calling in sick frequently
  • Complaining about supervisors picking on her
  • Argumentative
  • Suddenly coming to work sloppily dressed or poorly groomed
  • Wearing clothes that smell like incense
  • Losing coordination and motor skills
  • Not as physically strong as he was when you hired him

We all lose our get-up-and-go once in a while. No single item on this list is an absolute sign of drug use. But, taken together, they describe an employee who may have a drug problem, especially a marijuana use problem. What you do about it will depend on your company’s policies.

Document what you see, as well as the employee’s work performance. A consultation with a doctor or drug counselor might be a good step to take, so you would know if you are on the right track. Or, you might want to go directly to your human resources director for instructions on how to handle the situation.

Resources

National Institute on Drug Abuse
www.nida.nih.gov

National Institute on Drug Abuse Teen Page
http://teens.drugabuse.gov/

Nar-Anon Family Groups
http://nar-anon.org/naranon/

By Paula Hartman Cohen
Source: Jenny Karstad, MA, LADC, LCMHC, clinical supervisor, Brattleboro Retreat Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Center, Brattleboro, VT; Joseph Lee, MD, psychiatrist, medical director for youth services and national advocate for adolescent addiction and mental health issues, Hazelden Addiction Treatment Centers, Minneapolis, MN; William Shryer, DCSW, LCSW, clinical director, Diablo Behavioral Healthcare Centers, Danville, CA; Tina B. Tessina, PhD, psychotherapist and author of The Real 13th Step: Discovering Confidence, Self-Reliance, and Independence Beyond the 12-Step Programs, Long Beach, CA
Reviewed by Arkady Bilenko, MD, Vice President, Regional Medical Director, Beacon Health Options

Summary

Marijuana:

  • Can give you a pleasant high for a short time
  • Affects memory, motivation, and motor coordination
  • Can lead to birth defects in a user’s children

You may be a parent who suspects your child is using marijuana, or maybe an employer having trouble with an employee. Are there signs you should watch for to detect marijuana use?

Marijuana at home

For whatever reason, you think your son or daughter might be using drugs, specifically marijuana. Short of a confrontation or invasion of their privacy, is there any way to be sure?

Here are some physical signs to look for:

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • A lingering smell of sweet herbal smoke
  • Stubs of tightly wound paper but no filters
  • Residue of twigs, seeds, pods or leaves
  • Bottles of eye drops
  • Rolling papers, piles, bongs, clips. Drug paraphernalia is a good indicator of frequent use.
  • Incense, to cover up the smell of marijuana smoke
  • Mouth wash, air fresheners, or other scent maskers
  • Small burns on thumb or forefinger

If you have found one or more of these signs, look for changes in behavior. They could signal a wide variety of problems, including marijuana use disorder.

Has your teen:

  • Recently changed friends
  • Dropped out of activities she once liked
  • Suddenly run out of money, for no apparent reason
  • Dropped in academic achievement or test scores
  • Become newly interested in taking out the trash or walking the dog late at night

Have you noticed that your kid:

  • Easily loses his train of thought
  • Says teachers or other authority figures are out to get him
  • Laughs inappropriately
  • Is always hungry
  • Seems confused and lethargic
  • Is staying up or out much later than usual

If you answer yes to several of these questions, it is time for you to talk to your teen. She may be experimenting, which does not mean she is an addict. She might not go beyond that stage. Or, she could be smoking pot regularly, frequent enough to interfere with her grades, relationships and future plans, especially if she drives under the influence of drugs. If she uses pot regularly, it is time for you to get her drug counseling. If regular use goes on for a long time, she could develop a dependency on the drug and then she would need further substance use treatment.

Before you talk, choose a time when she is sober, when the two of you are alone and when will not be interrupted. Make sure you have your own negative feelings under control.

  • Do not be confrontational.
  • Show your interest in your child’s feelings and needs.
  • Ask if there is something bothering her.
  • Ask her if she is using drugs. If she says yes, ask her what kind, where, when, and with whom.
  • Very important: Listen to what she has to say.
  • Tell her your concerns. Be loving, but also honest.
  • Ask her to stop.
  • Tell her the facts about marijuana or other drugs. Be sure to educate yourself, first.

If your talk is not successful, do not waste time getting her the help she needs. Discuss the situation with a doctor. Join a support group for parents in similar situations. Find professional help for your child as quickly as possible. The longer you wait, the more likely she will become dependent on this or other drugs.

Marijuana at work

Marijuana use in the workplace can put everyone on edge or even at risk of injury. People who are high have accidents—in cars, with machinery, or in their dealings with customers or colleagues.

Laws may be changing in your state, but few employers are going to permit drug or alcohol use on the job. Chances are your company has rules. Review them. If you head a small business, you will have to decide how much you will or can tolerate when you suspect a worker is high on the job.

He may not be using marijuana at the workplace, but his off-premise use can affect his performance.

Here are some things to look for, if you suspect your employee of using pot.

Ask yourself, is your employee:

  • Chronically late
  • Unmotivated
  • Depressed or withdrawn
  • Slow, lethargic, or confused
  • Unable to follow instructions
  • Having financial problems
  • Getting into trouble with the law
  • Coming back late from lunch or breaks, then not accomplishing much
  • Calling in sick frequently
  • Complaining about supervisors picking on her
  • Argumentative
  • Suddenly coming to work sloppily dressed or poorly groomed
  • Wearing clothes that smell like incense
  • Losing coordination and motor skills
  • Not as physically strong as he was when you hired him

We all lose our get-up-and-go once in a while. No single item on this list is an absolute sign of drug use. But, taken together, they describe an employee who may have a drug problem, especially a marijuana use problem. What you do about it will depend on your company’s policies.

Document what you see, as well as the employee’s work performance. A consultation with a doctor or drug counselor might be a good step to take, so you would know if you are on the right track. Or, you might want to go directly to your human resources director for instructions on how to handle the situation.

Resources

National Institute on Drug Abuse
www.nida.nih.gov

National Institute on Drug Abuse Teen Page
http://teens.drugabuse.gov/

Nar-Anon Family Groups
http://nar-anon.org/naranon/

By Paula Hartman Cohen
Source: Jenny Karstad, MA, LADC, LCMHC, clinical supervisor, Brattleboro Retreat Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Center, Brattleboro, VT; Joseph Lee, MD, psychiatrist, medical director for youth services and national advocate for adolescent addiction and mental health issues, Hazelden Addiction Treatment Centers, Minneapolis, MN; William Shryer, DCSW, LCSW, clinical director, Diablo Behavioral Healthcare Centers, Danville, CA; Tina B. Tessina, PhD, psychotherapist and author of The Real 13th Step: Discovering Confidence, Self-Reliance, and Independence Beyond the 12-Step Programs, Long Beach, CA
Reviewed by Arkady Bilenko, MD, Vice President, Regional Medical Director, Beacon Health Options

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