Teen son finding his way?

(19 Posts)
Sarawak Thu 05-Sep-13 00:19:46

Has anyone had experience of teens experimenting with dope? Is this peer pressure and how worried should I be??

OldLadyKnowsNothing Thu 05-Sep-13 00:25:32

How old is the teen, and how often (and what, exactly) is s/he smoking?

Sarawak Thu 05-Sep-13 00:27:59

Almost 17. Weed, I think!

Sarawak Thu 05-Sep-13 00:29:13

Occasional use, at parties with his mates. He doesn't know I know. Bit of a shock

DaleyBump Thu 05-Sep-13 00:35:46

I'm 18. Tried it once, never again. Hated it. Not that I could if I wanted to since I'm now pregnant, but I wanted to know what it was like. Could it be something similar?

OldLadyKnowsNothing Thu 05-Sep-13 00:37:24

Ok, I wouldn't worry too much if it's just a "special occasion" type thing. Cannabis is not an addictive drug, but some very strong (high in THC) weed, usually (and mostly incorrectly) called skunk can cause mental health issues in some teens. At your ds's level, don't panic. If it becomes daily, you have a problem.

Sarawak Thu 05-Sep-13 00:38:51

Maybe. It started after his GCSEs at a party, and I know he's done it several times since. But there's so much pressure at that age to fit in. I don't mind so much so long as it is occasional, and doesn't escalate to something more dangerous, and addictive ...

MrsFrederickWentworth Thu 05-Sep-13 00:39:41

Reasonably old compared to some.

I expect to be flamed for this, but dig up some of the research on what it can do to the developing brain and bring it into the conversation by some way s or other. I know it doesn't to everyone, but I know two young men whose lives have been destroyed by it, even though one gave up after a couple of years. Both nice young men from ordinary decent families.

Sarawak Thu 05-Sep-13 00:44:01

Wow I will do so, thank you. Will find a way of discussing during normal conversation with male friend who my son respects, and be casual about t. Thanks

OldLadyKnowsNothing Thu 05-Sep-13 00:50:58

No reason to be flamed, MrsF, you're right. It can cause problems. But mostly, it doesn't.

exexpat Thu 05-Sep-13 01:00:50

Normal to experiment, and it won't usually have long-term consequences - friends who were always stoned at 6th form/student parties are now respectable lawyers, doctors, academics, producers etc.

However I have told my teenage DS about an old boyfriend of mine who was a lovely, clever, charmingly eccentric chap, with a bit of weed habit. He became more and more eccentric, to the point where it was no longer charming, and was eventually diagnosed schizophrenic. He killed himself at 23.

Obviously not everyone who smokes dope becomes schizophrenic, but studies have shown a correlation (it could be causal, it could just be that people with incipient psychiatric problems self-medicate with dope).

In your position I wouldn't panic or come down heavily, but I would certainly be watching for signs that it was becoming more of a habitual thing than the occasional joint at parties.

MiniMonty Thu 05-Sep-13 01:26:32

(talking from experience - I have a strong view...)

Totally normal to experiment and totally normal for good parents to freak out and stamp on it ! (it's not the sixties)...

Do it cleverly and carefully (you're not a Victorian reactionary) but do stamp on it and do go all the way to get the message through - i.e. dealing with his group of friends - he needs a DIFFERENT group of friends. Get into the whole big conversation about the aspirations and ambitions of your teen, go the whole hog. Don't let this go or slip away as an issue.

Weed these-days is far, far stronger than it used to be, and there is NO legal way of acquiring or possessing it (so your boy is involved in crime even if to him it seems like innocent fun or a bit of a lark).

As posted above, the schizophrenic link is real not imaginary and it just isn't worth the risk. Stamp on this now, sort it out carefully and cleverly - but stamp on it. The Bohemian chilled out parent doesn't exist anymore because bohemia doesn't exist anymore. Britain is a harsh, difficult place for young people and being off your head ain't gonna help.

I would go as far as grassing up whoever you think is supplying (or getting) the gear within the peer group and having your son watch that happen to someone he knows. Lesson learned methinks...

It's so easy not to take this seriously but drugs are a vicious cancer in our society and many, many decent kids from good homes fall foul.

BOF Thu 05-Sep-13 01:51:45

I have to agree with that.

cory Thu 05-Sep-13 06:25:51

I also had a friend who developed schizophrenia and eventually killed himself. It's a horrible, horrible illness.

flow4 Thu 05-Sep-13 10:23:38

Sarawak, for as long as your son smokes only socially, doesn't get into the habit of smoking it in the morning, and stays interested and engaged in the rest of his life, I don't think you need to worry.

IME there are two different types of cannabis smokers: those who smoke it to wind down after busy days/weeks, and those who smoke it because they have not enough else to do and/or to switch off and opt out from lives they don't like. The first group tend to use cannabis without it causing them any problems...

Apologies in advance for the rest of this post. It's long and potentially boring for anyone not interested in the chemistry of cannabis...

There is a very important difference between skunk and other forms of cannabis, which is very poorly understood. It is important because it means skunk is potentially dangerous, while other forms of cannabis are not. It explains why views about cannabis often polarise, because most people don't understand the difference.

Cannabis has two main 'ingredients': THC and cannabidiol/CBD. The THC is the main psychoactive component, affecting the mind most and giving most of the 'high'. CBD is less psychoactive, has proven medical benefits (see link) and appears to reduce or mitigate some of the more powerful effects of THC. Particularly, and crucially for experimenting teenagers and their parents, THC appears to have a psychotic effect on some people, but CBD appears to have a 'balancing' anti-psychotic effect.

In 'normal' cannabis, CBD makes up about 40% of the drug and THC a much smaller (but still powerful) 3-4%. However, in skunk, the plant is genetically modified to add extra THC for more of a high, by reducing the amount of CBD (they alter the drug's molecular structure). So, skunk producers are aiming to increase the psychoactive element, but are also incidentally increasing its psychotic element, and simultaneously reducing its anti-psychotic, 'protective' element.

That means that skunk is much more variable and unpredictable, and potentially much more dangerous, than other forms of cannabis.

You will still get people telling you that cannabis is 'harmless'. Generally they aren't clear about the difference between skunk and other forms. Very many parents of teenagers smoking skunk - including me - will tell you it causes problems, including erratic, aggressive, depressive, paranoid, and psychotic or near-psychotic behaviour. IME, other types of cannabis do not do this.

If you want a graphic example of the very different effects of skunk and 'normal' cannabis, watch this video or the BBC3 documentary it's extracted from.

UK police estimate that over 70% of seized cannabis is now skunk. It's increasingly difficult to get hold of non-skunk cannabis in the uk. That's very bad news, as far as I'm concerned...

More wiki info about cannabis here. It's also worth looking it up on Frank.

MiniMonty Fri 06-Sep-13 00:29:26

I must agree wholeheartedly with the above and the info for those without experience is well worth a read.
The real problem for anyone who wants a chilled out smoke of "old style" pot (be they young or old) is that there is no legal way of acquiring it and as you are therefore forced to deal with dealers who are de facto outside the law, you have no way of knowing what you're getting. If you get it from a friend at work / mate / brother in law it's now third hand and you have even less chance of knowing.
My view is that the good old days of the good fun stoner are over and that smoking pot is now more dangerous than binge drinking.
Legalisation = control and taxation and I support it. Take this business away from organised criminals.
In the meantime, refer to my previous post and stamp on it.

MrsFrederickWentworth Fri 06-Sep-13 07:10:52

The other point that tends to go down well if the point already made, that it's criminal, but in a different way. If you get caught, it goes on your record.

There are then a number if jobs you are barred from and, more importantly to the teen, countries you cannot ever go to, of which the USA is the teen noted one.

Flowd, that was great. I wish you could be cloned in every classroom and hone.

flow4 Fri 06-Sep-13 09:33:21

Glad you found it useful. smile

It is no longer the case that a young person found with cannabis will get a criminal record. Most young people who use cannabis know this, and indeed are well informed about their rights. As a parent I think it's worth informing yourself and 'getting your facts straight' because it undermines you if you give your teen information which they know isn't true.

What usually happens, at least round here, is this...

Police generally turn a blind eye to young people smoking cannabis. They simply do not have the resources to respond formally.

If police have some other reason for speaking to young people - for instance if they are causing a nuisance - they will also take some action relating to obvious cannabis use, but that may be limited to saying "you don't want me to see you smoking that, do you?" They will probably (and should always) issue a 'stop and account' form that says why they were spoken to. As a parent, you quite possibly won't even find out about this.

Further action is possible but is likely to depend at least partly on the YP's attitude: polite kids who move swiftly on are much less likely to be searched than bolshy ones.

If the police do a 'stop and search' they will confiscate any cannabis found and should issue a receipt. They probably won't take any further action if a young person has been cooperative. They should not search a YP under 17 without a parent/responsible adult present, but sometimes do. As a parent you can complain about this, but IMO that may increase the chances of further action being taken.

If a YP is actually arrested for possession of cannabis, this seems to me to be because there were other factors involved too: for example, the YP was rude or police suspect they are also dealing but have no evidence. (NB: I'm a parent, not a legal expert, so I might be wrong...) A YP arrested and charged for possession will usually get a caution/warning for a first offence.

If a YP is caught dealing or supplying cannabis - even if they're just "getting a bit for a friend" they will always be arrested, and charged if there is enough evidence.

MrsFrederickWentworth Mon 09-Sep-13 21:20:20

Round here they seem to link possession with dealing quite a lot. Tbh, they are prob right in the cases they have done do.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now