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My son has been smoking cannabis

(31 Posts)
GeraldineGransnet (GNHQ) Tue 14-Jun-11 18:39:45

(This is another Ask a gran question sent in by readers of the Radio Times.)

My 16-yr-old admitted he had been smoking cannabis when I confronted him. What do I do next? I’m afraid he’ll continue to take drugs, but take stronger ones and destroy any trust between us.

jennybumble Wed 15-Jun-11 16:36:17

I think all 16year olds will try drugs, I know my children did. We didn't rant or rave just spoke about it, and being a nurse they were all used to my "going on" . It worked though as we had no more problems, or at least if they tried anything again we didn't know.
You have to try and trust your children, and just be there if they need you.

Annah Wed 15-Jun-11 16:36:57

Hello smoking cannabis? i guess the most important question is 'why?' does he enjoy it? please do not always believe the scare mongering of government legislation. people drink and smoke from our generation. i can give you advice on cannabis and the relation to other drugs

JessM Wed 15-Jun-11 21:00:44

Arguably better than alcohol. Now there is a dangerous drug in the hands of young men.
A huge number of kids smoke cannabis and it is just a phase. Sometimes it is because their mates do it and there is not a lot else for them to do. Specially in some areas of the country. Occasionally it might be to withdraw from painful emotions.
Both my sons went through it and neither of them became long term users. There are also millions of adults that smoke a little dope and function happily in their jobs etc.
The worrying thing these days is Skunk which is much stronger version of cannabis than the stuff that used to be around. Also cannabis does make you "dopey" the next day - so might interfere with motivation for exams or work performance. Thirdly it is normally mixed with tobacco and can turn people into tobacco smokers. My sons both smoked tobacco long after they gave up dope. Now that is really worrying as tobacco is much more addictive and hard to give up.
You need to discuss these issues with him. You need to inform yourself, keep calm and communicate.

pompa Wed 15-Jun-11 21:22:09

I agree with JessM, our son was a bass guitarist in a ska/punk band, played in some real dives, went through university, and certainly tried cannabis, I don't believe he ever tried any other drugs. But it was alcohol that was the biggest worry and danger to his health. Like most teenagers he grew up into a boringly conservative adult and is due to be married in a few weeks.
The odd thing was, whilst he tried cannabis, he could not abide cigarette smoking.
JessM is right, you need to discuss it with him, try to understand why he has tried it.

crimson Wed 15-Jun-11 22:47:02

The new cannabis really is strong and can tip some people over the edge. I've completely changed my views on taking cannabis recently, except for medical reasons [MS etc]. It can and does ruin lives.

Joan Thu 16-Jun-11 01:38:35

My two sons joined the Australian Army Reserve when they were at university - the money helped, as Austudy (our student grant) was not very much. Being in the army meant that they got regular blood tests, so that was the ONLY reason they never bothered with pot.

My husband did a degree late in life, and one day he was sitting on a bench in the university grounds, reading and smoking his pipe, when a young student sat beside him and asked if he minded him smoking the stuff. Husband said OK, fine, then the lad offered him a pipeful. Well, he accepted and smoked it, never realising that today's stuff is a bit more powerful than the 60s stuff.

He sailed through the afternoon's tutorial, and aced an essay he wrote that evening. But his head and stomach suffered the next day, and said never again!

I agree the strong GM stuff is a danger.

Joan Thu 16-Jun-11 01:39:10

Of course you should talk to your son - but accept you'll probably be lied to.

JessM Thu 16-Jun-11 12:55:29

Yup we all lied to our parents or concealed things from them did we not?
I remember when i was 14 or 15 hitchhiking to other towns without my mother's knowledge (with a friend - but still!).

sussexpoet Thu 16-Jun-11 14:33:22

I think almost everybody tries cannabis at one time or another: not everybody continues to use it. (or to progress to other drugs) I came to it late (in my 30s) when we smoked hash (resin) which is much milder than weed which is today's version. The one to avoid is skunk, which will blow your head off, and has nasty effects. I still enjoy the occasional drag on a spliff, but gave up smoking tobacco 30 years ago! The worst addictive drug of the lot is alcohol and I have never understood why it remains socially acceptable.

monkeebeat Thu 16-Jun-11 17:37:28

A few years ago a friend of mine found her son smoking canabis in her kitchen with some friends. She worked on the theory that canabis was 'soft' and that smoking under her roof meant she had a degree of control and could may be prevent escalation into heavier stuff.
He became an unhappy young adult needing much help from psychiatric services.He was not able to hold down a job, prone to depressions and thought disorders.
Some people use canabis without apparant effect. Others using it just a few times are permenantly altered by it.

Lynette Thu 16-Jun-11 19:26:49

Talk talk talk...keep all lines of communication open.

willosal Thu 16-Jun-11 19:52:14

Both my sons now 30 and 28 smoked pot, did I like it, NO, and had long chats about my feelings that it was not something I wanted them to be doing,fearing that they would go on to something worse.I would not allow them to smoke in or near our home,and would be up waiting for them if they were very late home,even when they were over 20,still living at home.I made it very plain to them both that I hated the thought of them smoking pot, and asked them both to think it through from my point of view,maybe I was just very lucky,they soon stopped smoking and hanging out with the friends that did,I dont believe either of them smoke it now,and Im truly thankfor for that.

crimson Thu 16-Jun-11 20:10:03

Can only agree with what monkeebeat has said; whether it is the type of cannabis or the effect it has on some individuals[or the amount that they take], I'm not sure, but it can have a devastating affect on some people. Having said that, it's something that most kids will dabble with at some point in their life, so I agree with keeping communication going with them about it.

NewGranLin Wed 10-Aug-11 15:24:19

I agree with Crimson. Cannabis is not safe. Unknown to me my son had been smoking cannabis for some time as well as cigarettes. With hindsight I should have noticed - his behaviour changed and he became quite paranoid about 'people always watching and laughing at him. One night he had severe palpitations and I had to rush him to hospital. Fortunately, there was no permanent damage and the next day he apologised over and over and threw all his cigarettes in the bin. He hasn't smoked anything since(about 8 years) and has returned to his normal self. It could have been very different.

nanapug Wed 10-Aug-11 15:32:59

I agree with Lynette talk talk and more talk. Get him to watch Jeremy Kyle and witness the paranoia that can result from smoking cannabis. It would certainly scare me......

jangly Wed 10-Aug-11 15:55:24

My daughter says she often smells cannabis smoke around her (very middle class) secondary school. I think it is quite common.

Me, I'd tell him that if I smelt it on him once more he would be grounded for at least month. (I would, convincingly) pretend I could smell it.

jangly Wed 10-Aug-11 15:56:29

And then I would keep sniffing him.

Elegran Wed 10-Aug-11 15:56:32

We came home from a weekend away to find the living room stinking of wet bonfires and DD1 admitted that she and a few friends had been smoking cannabis. I went off the deep end about the horrible smell (I can't stand tobacco smoke, let alone grass) and made her hoover exhaustively and wash the suite until I could no longer smell it. I also told her a few opinions about people who could not face the world unless they were anaesthetised by drugs or alcohol, or had their brains chemically altered, being wimps, and got in some facts about what was actually happening to their brain cells. I suspect she tried it a few more times, but she never got onto any stronger drugs.
She is now a solid sober citizen, with a preference for expensive wines - quality over quantity.

jangly Wed 10-Aug-11 15:58:50

And then I would try to put in some much better parenting so that he didn't feel the need to copy his friends whenever they did something stupid.

It is stupid.

crimson Wed 10-Aug-11 16:59:26

NewGranLin; I'm SO pleased that your son is ok. I really can't believe that I'm so against it now, because I was a child of the sixties and lived in a haze of smoke through student years. But what I'm seeing now is frightening and life changing. It's apity because, back then, it was just a bit of a giggle [literally].

Acheron Wed 10-Aug-11 17:29:19

I know my son smokes cannabis when he has nights out with friends. On an infrequent basis. He tells me so I know all about it. I think it's best to have it out in the open where you know he's doing it and how often. I don't think having a battle with him over it would have the right effect. A lot of teenagers go through that "phase" and most of them come out the other end with no ill effects and without moving on to harder stuff. You just have to be alert for the warning signs.

I was a child of the 60s too and my son knows it - unfortunately.

jangly Wed 10-Aug-11 18:19:16

But is he only sixteen Acheron?

Acheron Wed 10-Aug-11 19:21:52

No he's not - he's 19 now...but he was 16 and at school when he first tried it. And it is only very occasional use. We have to distinguish between occasional and it becoming a serious problem and moving on to harder stuff. It's worrying as a parent to see your child start smoking cannabis or drinking or anything really. For me the important thing is communication with your child. You need to keep him/her talking to you.

jangly Wed 10-Aug-11 19:22:36

Very true Acheron.