The Inner Voice of a Teenager Addicted to Marijuana
“Nothing is coming between me and smoking. Nothing.”
Posted Feb 18, 2020
The information in this post is based on my clinical interviews with teenagers that suffer from marijuana dependency.
“I had my first hit in middle school, in a park near my house, hanging out, basically doing nothing. My friend took out a joint that his brother gave him for his thirteenth birthday. Sounds sketchy, right? But his brother is a straight-A student. He’s wasn’t a drug dealer.
To be honest, I wasn’t into it. I coughed so much it burned my throat. But then I was thought to myself, “Whoah.” I had this euphoric feeling that I never had before—total freedom. Everything I worried about went away like thinking I’m too short, nerdy or worrying about my acne. It all disappeared.
I decided right then and there, “I need to get more.”
Before you judge me, I’m not a loser with a sad story. No one in my family does drugs, my parents aren’t abusive. I’m not from a poor neighborhood. I love my mom and dad, my brother and I are best friends. On winter breaks, when I was little, we went to Disney World and we visited my grandparents in Florida.
I guess you could say, we’re an all-American family.
But smoking weed, it just feels so good. It’s all I think about now. When I’m not high, I’m thinking about getting high. When my supply is low, I’m thinking about buying more weed or bumming some off a friend. I can’t imagine not having weed on me. Man, that would so suck.
Even when my parents caught me smoking in my room and I promised I wouldn’t do it again, I knew I was lying. In fact, I smoked later that night. My mom cries and my dad has this defeated look. They’re so dramatic. They need to chill out. Even my brother is dumping on me, saying that I’ve changed, that’s I’m hurting mom and dad.
Honesty, I don’t care what he says. Nothing is coming between me and smoking. Nothing.
I get high alone now. I don’t need friends. I smoke before school, in the stairwell during lunch, behind the gym after school. I don’t need a reason to get high. Honestly, I forget what it feels like not to be high.
Most days, I can’t stand my parents. They’re always sniffing around my room. Judging me. They make me want to smoke more. I can’t wait to move out. I tell them that weed isn’t addictive but they won’t listen.
There are so many ways to get high too. You can roll, bake, they even have weed gummy bears. My friend’s parents smoke with him. How cool is that? They even taught him how to make weed butter.
Last week, I got a vape pen. I traded for my guitar for it. Now I can smoke anywhere. Sometimes I even take a few hits in the back of my English class. The other kids stare and shake their heads like they’re better than me. But I don’t care. That’s why I quit sports and band. They’re all uptight and stupid.
The truth is, weed just makes everything better. If I watch a movie, I watch it high. If I skateboard, I ride high. I even eat dinner with my family high. They can’t even tell anymore.
I owe everything to weed. Weed is a part of my identity. I don’t know who I would be without it.”
“I Tried to Cut Back”
“Honestly, I’ve tried to smoke less. but I just can’t. Seriously. Last year, I went two or three days without smoking, and I had a wicked panic attack. My hands were sweating, my heart was racing. Thank God, my friend let me hit his pipe after school. I took a few puffs and I calmed right down (See “Raising Teenagers in the Age of Anxiety”).
Weed is good for me. It helps me. It helps a lot of people. Even doctors describe it. Is that the word? Described?
Now, all the kids at school are obsessed with college applications. What a joke! Spending all that money. Stressing about grades—for what? Honestly, I feel sorry for them. I stopped worrying about my grades a long time ago.
Most days, you’ll find me chillin’ in my bedroom. Watching YouTube videos or playing Fortnite. And smoking, of course.
I’m not an addict. Seriously, I’m not. I’m a good person. And if you think that I’m addicted to weed, well, whatever. Get over yourself.”"Weed is part of my identity. I don't know who I'd be without it."
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Relax Mom, It’s Only Pot
Posted , updated Feb 17, 2006.
What is my teenager going to encounter?
Second to alcohol, marijuana is the most commonly used drug. Marijuana, also called pot, reefer, grass, weed, dope, ganja, maryjane, and sinsemilla, looks like dried parsley with stems and/or seeds. It can be smoked or eaten. Paraphernalia includes rolling papers and pipes. Pot increases the heart rate, causes bloodshot eyes, dry mouth and throat, increases the appetite, reduces short term memory, alters one’s sense of time, and reduces one’s concentration, coordination, and motivation.
My child would never try pot!
Many parents are unaware of what their child is doing. Recent studies show that 44 percent of teens have tried pot, even though only 21 percent of parents think it is possible their child might have tried it. Seventy-one percent of teens say they have friends who use pot, even though only 45 percent of parents think their son or daughter might have friends who smoke pot. Although one-third of parents believe their teen thinks pot is harmful, only 18 percent of teens actually do.
Why would my child want to try it?
Teenagers use substances for the same reasons as adults do, to relieve stress, relax, have fun, because everybody else is doing it, and because being high often feels good. Teens often say, “I would like to try pot just once to see what it is like,” “Everyone tries drugs sometimes,” and “Smoking marijuana is okay sometimes.” Teens are most likely to smoke pot on the weekends, with friends, and at parties.
But it’s illegal…
Even though drugs are illegal, nearly half of 8th graders and 75 percent of 10th graders say pot is easy to find. While drug use among teens has decreased slightly, it is still a problem.
What can I do to help my teen?
Recognize that your child is being exposed to drugs. Five times as many parents believe child drug use is a national problem than believe drug use is a problem in their child’s school. Drug use is lower among kids who learn about the risks at home. The number one risk kids associate with drug use is “My parents would feel really bad if they found out I was using drugs.”
Tips for talking with your teenager about drugs:
- Establish a clear family position on drug use.
- Be prepared; teens may have a lot of incorrect information they got from other kids and from the media.
- It is okay to say you don’t know, but be sure to find the answer.
- Listen carefully to her concerns and feelings, and respect her views.
- Let him know it is okay to act independently from the group.
- Be aware of how you use and talk about drugs in front of your kids. Kids learn by watching you.
- Discuss the difference between prescription and illegal drugs.
- If you suspect a severe problem, seek outside help.
“Just say no” isn’t good enough!
Telling your teenager to just say no isn’t going to be enough to prevent him from trying pot at a party when all his friends are getting high. Practice how to say no in different situations with your teen. Give your teenager options for saying no and let him choose which he feels the most comfortable using.
Alternatives to “Just say no”:
- It is okay to say, “I just don’t want to.”
- Suggest another activity like basketball, shopping, eating, or change the subject.
- It is okay to avoid situations where there might be drugs or to hang out with friends who don’t use drugs.
- Encourage your child to use you as an excuse. Tell them it is okay to say things like “My mom won’t let me go,” or “My dad would kill me if he ever caught me smoking pot.”
- It is okay to be at a party and not try pot, even if it seems like everybody else is doing it. How can I tell if my teen has a problem? Here are some of the warning signs:
- Getting high on a regular basis or avoiding others to get high.
- Giving up activities they used to enjoy such as sports or hanging out with friends.
- Wearing clothes with drugs pictured on them or reading magazines on drugs.
- Getting into trouble with the law.
- Feeling run-down, depressed, or suicidal.
- Missing school, poor school performance, or suspension from school for a drug-related incident.
Where to go for help:
If you suspect your teen has a problem with drugs, you can contact your physician, school counselor, an independent drug counselor, or the resources listed below to get help for your teen and your family.
Where you can go for more information:
University of Minnesota Extension Service www.extension.umn.edu/info-u www.parenting.umn.edu
UM Children, Youth & Family Consortium www.cyfc.umn.edu
Schaefer, C. E., & DiGeronimo, T. F. (1999). How to talk to teens about really important things. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
Steinberg, L., & Levine,A. (1997). You and your adolescent: A parent’s guide for ages 10-20. New York: Harper Perennial.
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