Although most of the public 4/20 events have been cancelled as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many marijuana dispensaries are still open. There is a good chance that private “celebrations” will still be held. If you aren’t familiar with the signs of marijuana use, what should you look for?


  1. Unusual odors

There are different varieties of marijuana and some have a very distinctive smell. For example, some strains of marijuana have an odor similar to that of a skunk. Be aware of any new or unusual odors on clothing, bags, or in personal spaces (like bedrooms). 


  1. Memory and/or learning issues

It’s very common for others to notice that marijuana users have a hard time concentrating or paying attention. They may have a hard time learning new information, processing information, or following multi-step directions. They may become more forgetful, losing their keys or missing appointments. 

Most of the time the user does not notice that they have become more forgetful or distracted, but others around them usually notice the change.


  1. Lack of motivation

As marijuana use increases, users are more likely to become unmotivated and apathetic. This is often called “amotivational syndrome.” 


  1. Secrecy

Has the person become more secretive? Have they become more defensive when asked about their activities or how they spend their time? Some people are naturally more private and reserved, so that’s not necessarily a warning sign. But a change in behavior usually is. If a person who used to be open and transparent has suddenly become quiet, defensive, sneaky, or secretive, it’s probably a warning sign.


  1. Change in friends

Has the person become friends with anyone new? Has their set of friends changed? These can often be warning signs of a change in behavior as well. 


  1. Change in activities

With all substances, as the addiction grows, the user becomes more disinterested in other activities. Their thoughts and actions become more and more focused on activities related to getting the drug and using the drug. Even after using, their thoughts return to how to get more of the drug. 

If you notice a marked change in activities, including school, extra-curricular activities, hobbies, and other interests, this is usually a warning flag that something is going on.


  1. Money problems

Again, with any addiction, the users will find themselves spending more and more money to feed their habit. Have they started asking for more money than they used to? Do they opt out of activities with the excuse that they can’t afford it? Do they lose track of their spending, overspending without realizing it? Are they unable to keep up with their bills or other obligations?


  1. Physical changes

When a person is actually high, they may show some or all of the following:

  • Slowed responses; delayed reactions
  • Poor coordination
  • Red eyes
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased appetite
  • Panic or anxiety
  • Lethargy

Marijuana users often have the impression that marijuana use “isn’t that bad”, but it can have lasting effects on brain development and function, academic performance, relationships, and life success. Download a free PDF on “What Marijuana Looks Like in 2020” to learn more. 


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3rd Millennium Classrooms has been providing marijuana behavior intervention courses since 2004. If you would like to learn more about Marijuana 101 or to get someone signed up to take the course, contact us at or 888-810-7990.