These questions were answered by more than 50 individual scientists and science writers with expertise in addiction. To get as many answered as possible, responses were written quickly based on the personal background and knowledge of each expert. Please note that there was not a secondary review or proofreading of each fact, and if readers have questions or comments about any response, they can ask further questions.

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This is an odd question, but I was reading that some of you work at the NIDA that does research on drugs and brain effects by drugs. Does the NIDA pay people to sit around and do 'drugs' so you can observe them??

-user,

Thanks for a great question.We support a lot of different kinds of research and some of the studies do in fact involve the administration of various drugs to people in controlled laboratory situations.The people involved (subjects) always have prior experience with the drug being studied, doses are generally small, and subjects are well informed about the study and possible effects. No one who works at NIDA can be a subject of one of these studies.

-Steve Gust

Wat actually is huffing

-Trackstar,

Huffing involves the use of inhalants which involves an inhalant-soaked rag stuffed in the mouth and inhaling from balloons (sometimes filled with nitrous oxide). Inhalants are rapidly absorbed through the lungs into the bloodstream and quickly distributed to the brain and other organs. Within seconds of inhalation, you can experience intoxication along with other effects similar to those produced by alcohol including slurred speech, an inability to coordinate movements, euphoria, and dizziness.Huffing, however, can cause irregular and rapid heart rhythms and lead to heart failure and death within minutes of a prolonged session of sniffing. This syndrome is known as "sudden sniffing death." For more information on inhalants, go to: http://www.drugabuse.gov/DrugPages/Inhalants.html. Because intoxication lasts only a few minutes, abusers frequently seek to prolong the high by continuing to inhale repeatedly over the course of several hours, a very dangerous practice. With successive inhalations, abusers can suffer loss of consciousness and death. At the least, they will feel less inhibited and less in control. After heavy use of inhalants, abusers may feel drowsy for several hours and experience a lingering headache.

-David Shurtleff

Wat are the new new drugs that are out right now that are dangerous and popular

-Trackstar,

We have found that the most commonly abused drugs are tobacco, alcohol and marijuana. These three drugs are still very dangerous and popular. In addition, key drugs that we've become concerned about because they appear to have increased in popularity are prescription drugs (painkillers such as vicodin and oxycontin) stimulants (ritalin and adderal),sedatives and methamphetamine.These drugs are used by a lot of teenagers who may not realize how dangerous they can be. Did you know that drugs can contribute to lots of health problems, including lung and cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, and mental disorders? For more information, check out:"The Science of Addiction" at http://www.nida.nih.gov/scienceofaddiction/. I hope this information helps!

-Wilson Compton

wat is a way kids can get off drugs

-bronxboi96,

There are lots of ways that kids can get off drugs. Most kids do better getting off drugs when they have help, like from a therapist, support group, and their family. For more on treatment and where you can find it, you can go to the Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator at 1-800-662-HELP or go to their website at http://www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov/. If you need to speak with some immediately, call 1-800-273-TALK. It's the National Suicide Prevention line, but they can also help you find the help you need.

-Melissa Riddle

wat is meth

-YeraBeara,

"Meth" is methamphetamine--an addictive stimulant drug that can have long-lasting toxic effects on the brain. It causes wakefulness and physical activity, which over time can be exhausting and detrimental to the body and brain. Long-term use can lead to hallucinations, stroke, and psychosis (when a person has difficulty recognizing reality, thinking rationally, or communicating with others).For more information on methamphetamine, go to http://www.drugabuse.gov/ResearchReports/methamph/methamph.html.

-David Shurtleff

wat is opium ,wat is opium, wat is opium,?...?wat is opium

-jimmy b,

That's a great question. Opium is a white liquid that is found in a plant known as the poppy plant. Opiates are drugs that are made from opium. Some opiates that you may have heard of include heroin, morphine and codeine.

-Larry Stanford

Wat kind of affects does drugs have on your body

-Trackstar,

There are direct adverse health effects depending on the drug. Individuals who suffer from addiction often have one or more accompanying medical issues, including lung and cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, and mental disorders. Imaging scans, chest x-rays, and blood tests show the damaging effects of drug abuse throughout the body. For example, tests show that tobacco smoke causes cancer of the mouth, throat, larynx, blood, lungs, stomach, pancreas, kidney, bladder, and cervix. In addition, some drugs of abuse, such as inhalants, are toxic to nerve cells and may damage or destroy them either in the brain or the peripheral nervous system. In addition, drugs will impair your judgment which can lead people to engage in all kinds of risky behaviors and these behaviors may impact your health. Please go to www.drugabuse.gov for more information.

-Jacques Normand

wat u think about coke

-anthony,

I prefer Mountain Dew!

-Moderator

What aer the signs of drugs?

-orcas,

There are many different signs of drug use depending on the type of drug taken. Stimulants cause behavior like talkativeness, sleeplessness, and general "hyper" activities. Depressant drugs like tranquilizers or sedatives make people sleepy, drowsy, and unable to think clearly. If someone is addicted to drugs, that individual will exhibit overwhelming or uncontrollable urges to seek and use the drug, regardless of the consequences such as poor performance in school, loss of friends, and loss of pleasure in things that used to bring pleasure.For more information about drug abuse, visit http://www.drugabuse.gov. To learn more, check out "The Science of Addiction" at http://www.nida.nih.gov/scienceofaddiction/

-Steve Gust

What affects do drugs have on your brain?

-gator bit my ass of....ouch,

Drugs of abuse increase the release of neurotransmitter known as dopamine in the brain's reward centers. With continued use and release of dopamine, individuals can become addicted to this effect and start to take the drug "compulsively." With continued use, drugs of abuse can affect decision making and affect your ability to learn new things.

-David Shurtleff

what age do most people start drinking?

-loufuszplayer23,

most often in their early teens

-Nora Volkow

Is pot bad for you?

-johnny appleseed,

There are many long-term effects of smoking marijuana. The use of marijuana can produce adverse physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral changes, and,contrary to popular belief,it can be addictive. Marijuana smoke, like cigarette smoke, can harm the lungs. The use of marijuana can impair short-term memory, verbal skills, and judgment, and also distort perception. Marijuana has been associated with a number of mental conditions, including schizophrenia (psychosis), depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. It also may weaken the immune system and possibly increase a user's likelihood of developing cancer.For more information about marijuana, go to https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/marijuana

-Kevin Conway

Is pot bad for you?

-johnny appleseed,

There are many long-term effects of smoking marijuana. The use of marijuana can produce adverse physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral changes, and,contrary to popular belief,it can be addictive. Marijuana smoke, like cigarette smoke, can harm the lungs. The use of marijuana can impair short-term memory, verbal skills, and judgment, and also distort perception. Marijuana has been associated with a number of mental conditions, including schizophrenia (psychosis), depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. It also may weaken the immune system and possibly increase a user's likelihood of developing cancer.For more information about marijuana, go to https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/marijuana

-Kevin Conway

is second hand cigar smoke as bad as ciggarette smoke?

-apollo 13,

probably yes.

-Barry Hoffer

Is smoking cigarettes worse for you than marijuana is?

-Lozier_s11,

Good question. Both marijuana and cigarettes have health consequences. It is known that when either one of them is smoked, many chemicals including tar, enters the lung. Both substance have active ingredients that enter the brain and produce changes to make the person addicted. So, I would prefer not having to choose between one or the other because either one of them has its own bad effects. If you want more information about the findings from research done with each one of those drugs you can visit for cigarettes: http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/tobacco-addiction and marijuana: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/marijuana

-Ivan Montoya

Is smoking cigarettes worse then chewing tobacco?

-thompson_t11,

Interesting question! The ingredient of tobacco that causes addiction is nicotine and whether someone smokes, chews, or sniffs tobacco, he or she is delivering nicotine to the brain. Therefore, the tobacco addiction is the same and the medical consequences associated with nicotine will be the same. The only difference is that a person who smokes is also delivering carbon monoxide and tar to his or her lungs in large amounts which can cause direct damage to the lung. In addition, the person who chews tobacco can have great damage to his or her teeth and be at high risk of getting oral cancer. You can find more information at: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/tobacco

-Ivan Montoya

Is smoking cigarettes worse then smoking marajana?

-thompson_t11,

Smoking is dangerous, whether you smoke cigarettes or marijuana. Marijuana is not safer than cigarettes, as both can cause serious damage to your lungs and can impair your brain, for example. Nicotine is one of the most heavily used drugs in the U.S. and one of the most addictive. The tar in cigarettes increases a smoker's risk of lung cancer, emphysema, and bronchial disorders. The carbon monoxide in smoke increases the chance of cardiovascular diseases. Secondhand smoke causes lung cancer in adults and greatly increases the risk of respiratory illnesses in children. Marijuana has many potentially negative effects as well. For example, studies indicate an association between marijuana and a number of mental conditions, including schizophrenia (psychosis), depression, anxiety, and suicide attempts. Young users may be especially vulnerable. For more, see http://www.drugabuse.gov/MarijBroch/parents/. For more information about smoking, go to: http://www.smoking.drugabuse.gov/

-Gaya Dowling

Is smoking marijuana four times worse than smoking cigarettes?

-MSHS,

No. Both are addicting and both are bad for your lungs. Cigarettes are proven to cause 15 different types of cancer. Although, we have less data on marijuana, research shows that it causes pre-cancerous changes in the lining of the lungs. Sometimes, these comparisons are made on the basis of one particular type of damage that is observed or measured. For example, after smoking a cigarette or a marijuana joint, carbon monoxide or some other chemical from the cigarette of joint could be measured in the blood. For more information about smoking, go to: http://www.smoking.drugabuse.gov/ For more information about marijuana, go to http://www.marijuana-info.org/

-Frank Vocci

is marijuana worse then ciggerettes?

-lmgs07,

Good question. Both marijuana and cigarettes have health consequences. It is known that when either one of them is smoked, many chemicals including tar, enters the lung. Both substance have active ingredients that enter the brain and produce changes to make the person addicted. So, I would prefer not having to choose between one or the other because either one of them has its own bad effects. If you want more information about the findings from research done with each one of those drugs you can visit for cigarettes: http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/tobacco-addiction and marijuana: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/marijuana Thanks for your great question!

-Ivan Montoya

is marijuanna bad for you?

-starsk8er91,

Marijuana use has been associated with a number of mental conditions, including schizophrenia (psychosis), depression, anxiety, and suicide attempts. Still, scientists do not yet know whether using marijuana causes mental illness. Evidence does show that frequent use is linked to psychosis (disturbed perceptions and thoughts) in some people, and can make these symptoms worse in patients who already have schizophrenia. Young users and those who are dependent on marijuana may be especially vulnerable. Research also shows greater rates of depression, anxiety, and suicidal thinking in people who smoke a lot. For more, see http://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/marijuana. Also there is a question of whether marijuana use leads to use of other drugs. Scientifically, the jury is still out. But when we look at people who abuse illegal drugs, they tend to have also used marijuana and nicotine and alcohol. Still, it is not true that most marijuana users go on to use other drugs, In and of itself, though, marijuana can pose significant health risks, including the risk of addiction. Check out https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/marijuana for more information. In addition, there are health effects associated with chronic marijuana use such as respiratory diseases.

-Liz Robertson

is medical marajuana bad for you or good for relieving your pAIN?

-hotdog,

Currently, the FDA has not approved medical marajuana for pain management. There are some research studies looking in to this, but there is not enough information to know for sure right now. Only the pill form is FDA approved, which means that this medication contains ingredients found in marijuana and can legally be prescribed to relieve some of the symptoms of seriously ill patients, such as those with cancer or AIDS - to help them eat more by reducing nausea. This medication has very serious adverse effects, for example drowsiness, dizziness, fainting,overdoses, mental or mood changes (eg, anxiety, confusion, depression, feeling disoriented or "high") and addiction. Therefore, if it is not indicated and supervised by prescribing physician, it shouldn't be used.

-Petra Jacobs

is medical marajuana bad for you or just to relieve pain

-hotdog,

Thanks for the interesting question. The Food and Drug Administration, which is responsible for ensuring the safety of everything from cosmetics to human and animal medications to our nation's food supply has not approved marijuana to treat any medical illness. That is because smoking marijuana can cause serious health and social problems, including the risk of addiction. However, the FDA has approved certain medications that contain ingredients found in marijuana. These medications are usually prescribed to relieve symptoms in seriously ill patients, such as those with cancer or AIDS to help patients eat more or to reduce nausea. See http://www.nida.nih.gov/MarijBroch/teens/ for more information. Also, there is some new and exciting research looking at the class of drugs that marijuana belongs to (cannabinoids) that is being studied in the use of pain.

-Joe Frascella

Is meth a problem in Ohio?

-rinehartm,

Meth is a problem in many locations in the US, including Ohio. Recent statistics suggest that 7% of Ohio youth surveyed report lifetime use of meth. This number is frightening since meth use and addition can have serious consequences. Use of meth can lead to aggression, memory loss, and other serious health problems.

-Aria Crump

What are the functions of your brain?

-Carry,

The brain does so much, that's a hard question to answer in just a few words. Your brain co-ordinates everything that happens inside of your body including thinking and feeling, breathing and digesting food. It also coordinates your external behavior, like...well, everything you do.You might want to take a course in Psychology or Neuroscience to learn more about how the brain works and what it does.To learn more about how drugs affect the brain, check out "The Science of Addiction" at http://www.nida.nih.gov/scienceofaddiction/

-Steve Grant

What are the long term effects of alcohol?

-pseudonym28657,

Thanks for asking. Long-term drinking of alcohol can lead to persistent memory problems and poor decision-making. Additionally, it can have bad effects on other systems within your body, like the liver. For more information on alcohol abuse, go to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism at http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/

-Nancy Pilotte

What are the long term effects of heroin?

-Pablo,

Heroin is very addictive. Death from overdose, early death (most heroin addicts die before age 50), and lung disease are a few of the major long term effects that are more likely to happen as use continues. Also, although heroin users often start with snorting heroin, they often end up with injecting heroin, which can lead to serious diseases and conditions such as hepatitis, bacterial infections, HIV/AIDS, etc. A drug using lifestyle damages person's relationships with friends and family and ultimately, drug users can end up with people and in places that they wouldn't want to be. The sooner the person enters drug abuse treatment, the better.For more on treatment and where you can find it, you can call the go to the Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator at 1-800-662-HELP or go to their website at www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov

-Petra Jacobs

what are the long term effects of pot

-kelly,

marihuana impairs your memory and learning and decreases your motivation the long term effects are an impairment in your educational and professional achievements

-Nora Volkow

what are the long term effects of smoking pot

-vboutsidehitter32,

There are many long-term effects of smoking marijuana. The use of marijuana can produce adverse physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral changes, and,contrary to popular belief,it can be addictive. Marijuana smoke, like cigarette smoke, can harm the lungs. The use of marijuana can impair short-term memory, verbal skills, and judgment, and also distort perception. Marijuana has been associated with a number of mental conditions, including schizophrenia (psychosis), depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. It also may weaken the immune system and possibly increase a user's likelihood of developing cancer.For more information about marijuana, go to https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/marijuana

-Kevin Conway

what are the long-term effects of marijuana?

-blake, Pennsylvania

There are many long-term effects of smoking marijuana. The use of marijuana can produce adverse physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral changes, and,contrary to popular belief,it can be addictive. Marijuana smoke, like cigarette smoke, can harm the lungs. The use of marijuana can impair short-term memory, verbal skills, and judgment, and also distort perception. Marijuana has been associated with a number of mental conditions, including schizophrenia (psychosis), depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. It also may weaken the immune system and possibly increase a user's likelihood of developing cancer.For more information about marijuana, go to https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/marijuana

-Kevin Conway

What Are The most Addicting Drugs

-McLovin,

All drugs can be addictive, and it is impossible to give you a straight answer because it very much depends on the specific vulnerabilities of each user, how the drug is taken and how much. Having said that, most addicted people are addicted to nicotine. To learn more, check out "The Science of Addiction" at http://www.nida.nih.gov/scienceofaddiction/

-Barry Hoffer