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How to spot the signs

It can be very difficult to decide whether behaviour and appearance changes in teenagers are simply due to the ‘growing–up’ process or something more serious. If they display a worrying number of these symptoms, it may be time to take action:

Behaviour change:

  • More sociable
  • Relaxed
  • Talkative
  • Giggly
  • Food cravings (often referred to as the munchies)

And also:

  • Sudden flare ups and upsets and becoming verbally abusive and possibly physically violent and throwing things
  • Suicidal tendencies 
  • Perception is impaired
  • Judgment is clouded
  • Lying
  • Secretiveness
  • Locking bedroom doors
  • Changing to new, often older friends and keeping away from previous ones
  • Secret phone calls, going out and not saying where they are going
  • Things going missing from the house, particularly money
  • School grades dropping, Lack of interest in the future, lacking in ambition, couldn't care less attitude in a once conscientious, normal child/teen
  • Short-term memory and ability to concentrate affected badly
  • Starts to skip school 
  • Neglect of hygiene
  • Use can cause psychosis (Any use can cause psychosis, it just depends on how much they take)

Physical Changes:

  • Dark rings under the eyes 
  • Blank expression
  • Dilated pupils (pupils become enlarged)
  • Sensitive itchy and often red eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Unpredictable eating and sleeping patterns
  • Unkempt appearance 
  • Speech slurred
  • Stomach upsets and cramps
  • Indigestion
  • Rash around the mouth
  • Continuous coughs and chest infections, sniffing.
  • Increased appetite, particularly late after an evening out
  • Tiredness and lack of energy
  • Chain smoking
  • Paranoia
  • Unusual smell (such as burnt sage) on clothes and in rooms

What other effects are there?

  • It heightens the users' senses, especially when it comes to colours, taste and music. 
  • Cannabis impairs driving skills therefore increasing the risk of accidents, so never get into a car with someone who has just taken cannabis.
  • Cannabis can badly affect the reproductive process and reduce the chance of having children. Sperm production is reduced and women can produce smaller babies with a variety of problems.

Signs in the house to look out for:

  • Paraphernalia - Items connected to general drug taking include; Matches, “Baggies” in pockets or around rooms (small square clear plastic bags), substances which looks similar to dried herbs, normally green, Rizla papers, torn up small pieces of card to make ‘roaches’ ( tubes inserted into a joint to cool down the hot smoke) 
  • Tiny little round burn marks on clothes, sheets or furniture
  • Plant seeds/stems, silver foil, candles, blackened spoons, clothes with an unfamiliar or smoky smell, pipes, bongs.

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Drugs: It’s just not worth it

Drugs: It’s just not worth it

Our 35-page book gives clear and easy to read facts and advice aimed at teenagers and young people.


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Worried about yourself or someone you know we can provide front line support and advice. If you suspect someone is using cannabis and/or skunk but you’re unsure, we help you to spot the signs.

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