Get the Facts you Need to Talk to your Teen about Marijuana

Many parents think they would know if their teen was smoking pot – but would you know if they were eating, cooking, vaporizing or 'clam baking*' it?

All of the items below are clues that you might find in your teen's room that could indicate experimentation with marijuana.


To get a better idea of what different types of parapharnalia look like, search the item in Google Images.


This is not a vase. It's a water pipe used to smoke marijuana. Smaller, more compact versions are called bubblers. The effects of smoking from a bong are often more intense than smoking from a pipe. Bongs can be expensive, so if you find one of these in your teen's room, ask them how they got the money to make such a pricey purchase. Bongs come in an incredible variety of shapes, styles and even different materials. Makeshift bongs can be crafted from almost any household item. For an idea of some of the more "creative" bongs teenagers use, search "bong" on Google Images.



It looks pretty inconspicuous, but inside this little tin is a grinding device that prepares marijuana buds or "beasties" to be smoked in a joint or pipe. If your teen has a grinder, it's probably not the first time they've smoked – so ask them where they learned how to use the device. Like other types of marijuana paraphernalia, different types of grinders can look dramatically different – and many are designed to be inconspicuous. A quick Google Images search can help you identify the various styles.



These may look like your average brownies, but they are also one of the most common ways to cook marijuana into food and eat it. Marijuana that is consumed, rather than smoked takes longer to produce a high, but is typically more potent, making it easier to consume too much, too quickly.



A multi-user smoking device traditionally used in the Middle East to smoke flavored tobacco, but commonly used by American teenagers to smoke marijuana. Talk to your teen about why either use is unacceptable and dangerous to their health. Hookah's come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Use Google Images to browse all the different forms.



An expensive smoking device that heats marijuana to evaporate the psychoactive ingredients into a fine mist. It is believed to be a "cleaner" way of smoking, since it prevents toxins such as CO2 and tar from getting into the lungs. Talk to your teen about why even "clean" marijuana is dangerous to their health. Remember that there are many different types of vaporizers, all of which look vastly different. To get a better idea of what different types of vaporizers look like, search Google Images for "marijuana vaporizers".


Rolling Papers

It looks pretty similar to a pack of gum, but inside are super thin papers used for rolling joints or sometimes cigarettes. You have to be 18 to buy them, so instead of just taking them away, ask your teen why they have them and how they got them. To see all the different brands and varieties available, just look at your local gas station, or check out "rolling papers" on Google Images.



Your teen might just be a science-nerd, but it's unlikely. Small scales like this are commonly used to weigh out portions of marijuana. If you find a scale, you should talk to your teen about it right away, as it is an indication that your teen may be dealing. Like the scale pictured, many marijuana scales are small and inconspicuous. Use Google Images to get a better idea of what different types of scales might look like.



Also referred to as a bowl, it is one of the most common devices for smoking marijuana. If you find one, don't just take it away – many teens who smoke have more than one pipe. Instead, use it as an opportunity to talk to your teen about the physical and criminal implications of marijuana use.



Similar to a cigarette, a joint is a "single use" marijuana smoking device. It is one of the most common ways of smoking marijuana, due to its small size and portability. Joints are made by rolling ground-up marijuana buds in a thin rolling paper, and lighting one end to create smoke.



Bigger than a joint and similar to a cigar, a blunt is marijuana wrapped in a tobacco leaf wrapper. When smoking a blunt, teens are inhaling both marijuana and tobacco smoke. If you find a blunt in your teen's room, its important to talk to them about the risks of both marijuana and tobacco smoke and addiction.


Body Spray/Air Freshener

Finding body spray or air freshener in your teen's room could mean nothing more than the fact that they are a smelly teenager – but, if they often come home reeking of strong deodorant, perfume or cologne – or are constantly spraying air freshener in their room, it might be an attempt to cover up the smell of marijuana. Check for other signs of marijuana use such as dilated pupils or bloodshot eyes to confirm if you are suspicious. 


Eye Drops

If your teen doesn't use contacts, but you find bottles of eye drops in their room, it could be a sign that they are using marijuana. Marijuana can cause bloodshot eyes and dilated pupils, so many teens use eye drops to disguise the symptoms. If you find eye drops in your teen's room, let them explain why they have it, but be wary of flimsy excuses.


Large Amounts of Cash

Large or excessive amounts of cash can be an indicator of a teen who is selling marijuana or other drugs – a particularly risky behavior. If you find a large amount of cash in your teen's room, ask them to account for how they earned each dollar.


Empty Baggies/Small Jars

If you find empty sandwich baggies or small jars in your teen's room, open them and smell the inside to determine if they were used to keep marijuana. Marijuana is often stored in small, airtight jars or sandwich baggies to prevent moisture. 


Shaving Cream Can

If you find shaving cream, soda, hairspray or other cans in your teen's room – they could be perfectly innocent. But if you suspect your teen is experimenting with marijuana, unscrew the bottom of the can to see if it is being used as a drug storage device. It is becoming very common among teens to unscrew the bottom of cans, insert a false bottom, and store marijuana or other drugs in the empty part of the canister.


*“Clam Baking” refers to smoking marijuana in an enclosed vehicle, causing the vehicle to fill up with smoke. It can also refer to smoking marijuana in an enclosed room. It is believed that "clam baking" achieves a better high because no smoke is wasted.