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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Can you Overdose on Marijuana

-Foxtrot15, Illinois

You may have heard that nobody has ever died from an overdose of marijuana. However, a person can certainly overdose on a drug without dying, and marijuana is no exception. If a person uses a large amount of marijuana, perhaps by smoking too much of a high-potency marijuana or eating a lot of food products containing marijuana, they can experience very negative consequences, such as paranoia, severe anxiety, and even psychotic symptoms, which is when a person loses touch with reality. You can learn more about overdoses here:

-Bethany Deeds

Can you overdose on marijuana?

-madchrist7, California

You may have heard that nobody has ever died from an overdose of marijuana. However, a person can certainly overdose on a drug without dying, and marijuana is no exception. If a person uses a large amount of marijuana, perhaps by smoking too much of a high-potency marijuana or eating a lot of food products containing marijuana, they can experience very negative consequences, such as paranoia, severe anxiety, and even psychotic symptoms, which is when a person loses touch with reality. You can learn more about overdoses here:

-Dave Thomas

Can you overdose on marijuana?

-joey is dumb, Illinois

Hello Joey,

You can overdose on any drug. In the sixth century, a scientist named Paracelsus stated that "the dose makes the poison." In other words, any substance can be poisonous in a large enough dose. Now that marijuana is being sold in so many forms (as extracts, edibles, etc.), it's easier than ever to overdose. And the increased availability of marijuana products has led to an increase in accidental poisoning of young children. Here's more information:


-Roger Little

Can you overdose on marijuana?

-CoyoteStrong, Arizona

Hi CoyoteStrong (great username). Marijuana intoxication can, in rare cases, produce a temporary psychosis. There are no reports of people fatally overdosing (dying) on marijuana alone. However, people can feel some very uncomfortable side effects, especially when using marijuana with high THC levels. There are reports of marijuana users seeking treatment in emergency rooms, reporting unease and shaking, anxiety, paranoia, or hallucinations, and in rare cases, extreme psychotic reactions. Learn more about drug overdoses among youth. However, marijuana use can increase risks for accidents and injuries (impacts of drugged driving are discussed here:

-Jacqueline Lloyd

can you overdose on pain meds

-michaela poliqu, New Hampshire

Hi Mich,
Yes, especially prescription opioids, especially if one takes too much or in combination with things like alcohol or benzodiazepines. They are medicine but are also dangerous...

-Dave Thomas

Can you overdose on vaping?

-Roz, Illinois

Good question, Roz. It would be very difficult to overdose just from vaping normally, but too much nicotine will definitely make you very sick. However, nicotine is very toxic and can be absorbed through the skin. Recently, an increasing number of childen have been poisoned by nicotine that someone around them was using in a vaping device because this form of nicotine is very concentrated. In 2014, there were about 14,000 cases of nicotine or tobacco exposures reported to poison centers in the US. To learn more about tobacco, nicotine and e-cigs, see

-Heather Kimmel

Can you overdose on Xanax?

-Wiley Wildcat, Illinois

It is difficult to overdose on Xanax or other drugs like it (such as Valium) alone. But, when combined with alcohol or opiates like heroin or fentanyl, they can cause overdoses.

-Joshua Gordon

Can you snort E-liquid

-Gremlin Man , Illinois

It would be a pretty terrible idea, and wouldn't get the nicotine to your brain any faster.

-Mary Rooney

Can you survive an addiction to heroin?

-Garfield , Illinois

Yes. Although recovering from addiction requires treatment as well as support from family and friends.

There are medications to help with some addictions including nicotine/tobacco, alcohol, and opioids (e.g. heroin or pain pills). And there are also behavioral therapies to help people recover. But addiction is often a lasting condition, like heart disease or diabetes; there are treatments that help someone live a healthy, productive life but there is no cure. People in recovery from an addiction still have be very careful. NIDA scientists are working hard to develop better treatments to treat addictions to all types of drugs. You can learn more about effective treatment programs here:

-Carlos Blanco

Can you take drugs and still live a healthy life?

-The Real Lebron, Illinois

Using drugs isn't a healthy choice. When you use drugs, you risk becoming addicted. Once you become addicted, your priorities shifts to ensuring that you can get your drug. Once you start making those kinds of choices, you become increasingly unable to make other choices that keep you healthy--like eating well, exercising, and staying connected to the people in your life you value. If you want to live a healthy life, The Real Lebron, it is best to avoid using drugs.

-Tisha Wiley

Does medical marijuana actually helpful or are doctors just handing it out.

-Bshields, Montana

Thats a good question. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved marijuana for any medical uses; the FDA has approved several components of marijuana for medical use, however, just not the whole plant. The distribution of "medical" marijuana in the states that have approved it is being done on very little scientific evidence. We'll see whether -- and if so, how -- good clinical research shows the many purported benefits of marijuana to be true.

-Aaron White

Does medical marijuana still have the same effects of non-medical marijuana

-Brevin Tating, California

Depends--people mean a lot of different things when they talk about "medical marijuana". If they are talking about products that contain high levels of THC (the ingredient that gets you high), then there's no real difference. But some people are talking about products that are high in cannabidiol (CBD) and have no or almost no THC in them. These are the products that are being used to treat seizures, e.g., in children. CBD is a very different chemical and doesn't seem to have many of the same risks as THC--its not addictive, doesn't mess with your memory, etc. The problem with CBD products that are widely available is that they are not Federally regulated and you risk getting something that is not what you think it is or that has not be manufactured safely. The exception is a recently approved medication (Epidiolex), for treating seizure disorders in children.

-Susan Weiss

does mixing diferent kinds of drugs affect my body in a different way than if i use them separately

-dj nini,

Hi dj nini! Yes, that can definitely happen. Different kinds of drugs affect different parts of the body - some may affect one organ or another and some affect many all at once. Sometimes mixing drugs can intensify their effects on one organ system or make you not aware of the effects on others. For example, alcohol is a depressant that can cause you to feel sleepy. When alcohol is mixed with caffeine, the caffeine can mask the depressant effects of alcohol, making you feel more alert and awake than you would if you were only drinking alcohol. As a result, you may drink more alcohol and become more impaired than you realize, increasing your risk of a lot of negative consequences.

-Michelle Jobes

Does nicotine affect athletic play for better or worse? I have teammates that are all juuling before games and telling all of us who don't, that we should do it, because it helps their game and would help ours- they think they are faster and more accurate.. I thought they played worse than normal in our last tournament and we got a lot of "conduct calls" from them mouthing off on the field.

-madchrist7, California

This is a great question, madchrist7! When nicotine enters the body, it initially causes the adrenal glands to release a hormone called adrenaline. The rush of adrenaline stimulates the body and causes an increase in blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing, which may be why your teammates think they are performing better. However, long-term brain changes brought on by continued nicotine exposure from tobacco products, such as Juul, result in addiction. A person can develop tolerance to nicotine, which means that he/she no longer responds to the drug in the way that person initially responded and needs more nicotine to get the same effect. When a person tries to quit, he or she may have withdrawal symptoms, including:irritability, problems paying attention, trouble sleeping, increased appetite, and powerful cravings for tobacco. To learn more about tobacco, nicotine and e-cigs, see

-Shwe Gyaw

Does people under 18 years old shouldn't drink because of health issues or because of responsibility and immatureness


The teenage years are a time to learn how to have fun and cope with life in healthy ways. It is also a time of intense brain development. It's best to avoid alcohol until the legal age of 21 to allow the brain to reach its full potential. The chances of developing problems with alcohol are much lower when people wait until the legal age to drink. NIAAA's Underage Drinking fact sheet has more info:

-Emily Einstein

does redbull and cocaine fix your problems

-MG, Montana

Hi mg
hardly. for starters, redbull is legal and if you drink it responsible it's unlikely to fix your problems (although I don't know what your probelms are) or create serious ones. ON the other hand, cocaine is illegal and it can definitely get you into a whole lot of trouble.

-Shwe Gyaw

does second-hand smoking have the same effects as smoking?

-kelly, Arizona

Hi kelly,

There are real risks linked to exposure to secondhand smoke. Every year tens of thousands of Americans die from exposure to secondhand smoke. And those exposed risk some of the other diseases that smokers can suffer from.

The good news is that we are seeing the lowest record rates of smoking in teens and adults. The bad news is that each year almost 500,000 Americans die prematurely from tobacco use...and almost all of that is from firsthand and secondhand exposure to cigarette smoke.

-Mitch Zeller

does smoking affects concentration?


Smoking what? Marijuana certainly affects concentration and makes it difficult to learn new things and remember them. Tobacco--less so, but it has other health risks as I'm sure you are very aware.

-Aaron White


-ladarius-FVSU4H, Georgia

There are many ways people can get help stopping smoking. There are medications, group and individual talk therapy, telephone counseling, and even smartphone apps and text messaging treatments. Reach out to someone you trust. To learn more about tobacco and nicotine products (including quitting), visit:

-Joshua Gordon

How can police tell if drivers are under the influence of marijuana if it stays in your system for an entire month?

-airhead, Illinois

Thanks for the question. The roadside tests for driver impairment cannot detect acute marijuana impairment for more than a couple of hours. The THC in the marijuana (the chemical ingredient that causes the high) can stay in the body much longer, but the impairment lasts only a few hours for the most part.

-Ruben Baler

How can safe usage of LSD help or harm somebody that struggles with social anxiety?

-drugsarebad420, Maryland

That's a really good question. There is no evidence that LSD use (safe or otherwise) can help with social anxiety. However, research is being conducted to examine whether some related chemicals might be used safely to treat mental illnesses. For now, you should know that there are several safe and effective treatments for social anxiety -- including some types of antidepressants, and group and individual psychotherapy. See a doctor or talk to a responsible, trusted adult and you can get the help you need! To learn more about social anxiety, visit:

-Joshua Gordon

how can someone stop there addiction????

-Eagla, Maryland

Good morning, Eagla. Someone who is addicted can stop using drugs with the help of a trained healthcare professional. Most of the treatments that work for substance use disorders involve changing one's behavior through counseling and behavioral and family interventions and, in some cases, treatment may involve medications. Here are a couple of sources of information about treatment:

If you have questions about substance abuse or mental health treatment, call 1-800-662-HELP, 24/7. You can also go to to find information about treatment centers in your area.

See NIDA's Step-by-Step Guides to determine if you or a loved one has a problem with drugs:

-Belinda Sims

How can someone's behavior change after use of cocaine?

-chamness_a, Oregon

Hi chamness_a, thanks for your question. Cocaine is a stimulant and generally causes an increase in activity in the body and the brain -- faster speech, hyperactive behavior, racing thoughts, overly optimistic thinking, and physical symptoms like higher blood pressure and rapid heart rate. In overdose, it can cause severely irregular heart rhythms and even a brain stroke. Here's some more info from our website:

-Wilson Compton

How can teens get help if they need it to stop vaping nicotine?

-DBRAD, California

The best way you can quit vaping is to talk with a doctor about help for the problem. There are effective methods to help vapers quit, including counseling and medications. Having support and encouragement from family/friends also helps. For more information about treatment,

-Roger Little

How can u be sure that a drug doesnt have Fentinal dded in it?


Hi III from Instituto Asunción Águilas. Thanks for your question. Fentanyl is extremely dangerous and a contributing factor to many drug overdose deaths. There is no way to be sure that an illicit drug does not have fentanyl. The safest way to protect yourself is not to use illicit drugs. This link shares more information on Fentanyl:

-Marsha Lopez

How can u know if someone is doing drugs? (like the symptons)


That's a really good question and thanks for asking and caring. Different people have different symptoms depending on the drug they've used. The important thing is to notice if they are behaving differently and if you feel comfortable ask them if they are ok. It's best to talk to a teacher or parent to make sure the person gets the help they need. Here's a link on guidance for helping.

-Michele Rankin

how can vaping on a regular basis affect a person's everyday actions and/or thought processes? when will we know more about long term affects?

-geo507685, Illinois

Thank you for such a great question, geo507685! Vaping on a regular basis increases that person's exposure to nicotine. Nicotine is addictive, so when someone becomes addicted to nicotine, they will seek it out even if it interferes with their normal activities. Vaping, particularly in kids, can lead to the use of regular tobacco products, like cigarettes, which are very harmful. In addition, exposing the developing brain to drugs, including nicotine, can cause changes in the brain that then lead to the use of other drugs. Many researchers are working to understand the long-term effects of vaping and exposure to nicotine. For more information, see:

-Heather Kimmel

how can we avoid when people offers us drugs?


Hey Hey Kei. Avoid by saying no. Walk away. Say 'I don't do that.' You are responsible for your own choices and you don't have to do drugs just because they are offered. Choose words that feel comfortable for you, but it's okay to make your own decisions and leave a situation where you are feeling uncomfortable or pressured. Remember, you don't have to justify taking care of your health to anyone.

-Amy Goldstein

How can we best educate young people about the risks of vaping?

-mpapa, New Jersey

Hi mpapa, Great question. Vaping has many more chemicals than people may know about, so someone who vapes exposes their body and brain to addictive nicotine, heavy metals, aldehydes and other toxic substances. Because vaping has only been around for a few years, we don't yet know the long term consequences, but we do know enough to say that these are not harmless products. For more info, check out this link about Electronic Cigarettes (E-cigarettes):

-Wilson Compton

how can we convince the JUULers to give us our bathroom back

-what the nugget, Illinois

Hey there what the nugget,

That sound frustrating! Here is my suggestion. Direct your friends and peers to visit The Real Cost website. The Real Cost was created to give you what you need to know about tobacco−facts based on science, so you, and your peers, can judge for yourself.

-Suzanne Lim