Drugs that Teens Smoke

In addition to tobacco, there are several types of drugs that teens smoke. All of these drugs are harmful to a teen's lungs, and they also have other negative consequences for teens who smoke them. Keep reading for more information on drugs that teens smoke.

Drugs that teens smoke - Marijuana

Marijuana is the most common illegal drug in the US. Its use in the US has been declining, but more than 14 million people have tried marijuana, and most first time users are in their teens. Over one-third of high school seniors report having tried marijuana at least once.

Marijuana is also called pot, weed, grass, or reefer. It is smoked in papers, cigars, pipes, or bongs. Marijuana causes a high that affects the user's mood, coordination, and heart. Some of the effects of marijuana use include:

  • Impaired thinking and performance
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Tolerance of the drug, which means a teen must smoke larger amounts to get high
  • Psychological addiction
  • Lung damage
  • Coughing
  • Susceptibility to colds and respiratory infections

Marijuana is believed to contain more cancer-causing agents than tobacco smoke, and it is also associated with an increased risk of heart attack.

Teens who are psychologically addicted to smoking marijuana may feel like they need to drug to function. Therapy can help them overcome this addiction.

Drugs that teens smoke - Crack Cocaine

Crack cocaine is the form of cocaine that is smoked. It looks like pellets and is sometimes called rock or freebase. Its use has declined significantly, and less than 10 percent of teens have tried crack cocaine.

Teens who smoke crack cocaine can form an addiction to the drug the first time they use it. Smoking crack causes a strong but short-lived high, and the teen must use the drug again to get the high after it wears off. Crack cocaine can be fatal even the first time it is used.

Some of the other dangerous potential side effects of smoking crack cocaine include:

  • Paranoia
  • Psychosis
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke

Crack cocaine addiction is generally treated through therapy under a doctor's guidance.

Drugs that teens smoke - Methamphetamine

Another drug that teens may smoke is methamphetamine, or meth. Like all street drugs, the use of methamphetamine has declined in recent years. Less than 3 percent of teens have abused meth.

Meth is also known as crank and speed. Smoking methamphetamine creates a quick high, but a teen who smokes meth may develop a tolerance very quickly, and requires more of the drug to get the same high. Methamphetamine has some limited medical uses, but these uses are strictly monitored and controlled.

Some of the dangers of using methamphetamine, especially for long periods of time, include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Violent behavior
  • Mental problems
  • Brain damage
  • Dental problems
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Psychosis
  • Upset moods
  • Psychological addiction

Teens who smoke meth may need therapy and medical supervision to deal with psychological addiction and other side effects of methamphetamines.

Drugs that teens smoke - Heroin

Smoking is one of several ways that teens can abuse heroin. Heroin use has declined, so less than 2 percent of teens use heroin. Most people who use heroin start when they are young adults.

Heroin is also called junk, smack, or Big H. It affects a teen's brain to create a high, but it is very addictive. Teens may quickly develop a tolerance to heroin, requiring them to use more of the drug to get the same high. It is very easy to overdose on heroin, so teens who use heroin are at high risk for a fatal overdose. Other effects of heroin use include organ damage and infections.

Teens who are addicted to heroin need to go through detoxification under medical supervision, and may need therapy and/or a support group to help them stay clean. Sometimes medications are also used to help prevent relapses.


Nemours, TeensHealth, "Drugs: What You Should Know" [online]
National Institute on Drug Abuse, "NIDA InfoFacts: Marijuana" [online]
National Institute on Drug Abuse, "NIDA InfoFacts: Heroin" [online]

Related Article: Causes of Teenage Smoking >>