How to Tell if Your Child Is Smoking Pot

More and more kids are smoking pot. The National Institute on Drug Abuse found, in its 2012 Monitoring the Future survey of eighth, 10th and 12th graders, that 36 percent of high school seniors and 11 percent of eighth graders had smoked it in the previous year. Recognizing the signs that your kid could be smoking pot can help you curb the behavior before it becomes a problem or provide professional help, if it's needed.

Look for physical symptoms that your child may be high. These can include red eyes, nervousness, inappropriate giggling, and dizziness or lack of balance.

Pay attention to the sudden use of air fresheners or incense. Your child may be using these to mask the smell of marijuana in his room or on his body.

Watch grades closely. Empowering Parents says kids who are smoking pot will likely experience a decrease in motivation, which can lead to skipping school and lower grades. If you haven't seen a report card in a while, your child may have hidden it. Call the school to ask for a copy. If you are suspicious about your child's behavior, call the school to ask for a report on attendance and performance in class.

Get to know your child's friends. Empowering Parents says kids who are smoking pot will likely start spending time with new friends -- perhaps friends who are supplying pot or with whom your child could be smoking pot. If your child doesn't bring friends to the house, that may also be a warning sign.

Pay attention to extracurricular activities. With the drop in motivation, kids may also stop doing things like attending after-school clubs or participating in sports.

Pay attention to changes in mood. That surly attitude may not be typically teen or preteen angst. Caron Treatment Center says pot use can lead to anxiety, panic attacks, mood swings, antisocial behavior and more negative behavior in general. If you notice a sudden shift in your child's attitude, investigate to find out what may be causing it.

Search your child's room and belongings for drugs and drug paraphernalia. It's a good idea to ask for permission first, but if she doesn't want to grant permission or is angry you're asking, she may have something to hide.

Ask your child to take a drug test. Propose the test without advance warning, and go to a testing facility right away. Otherwise, your child could have the opportunity to do things to throw the test, like take certain over-the-counter remedies or drink a lot of water.


If you discover that your child is smoking pot, it is important to enlist the help of a professional counselor who can offer guidance and help get to the cause of your child's behavior.