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 weed help anxiety?

-elastigirl, Illinois

The short answer is no. There is no good evidence that marijuana helps with mental illnesses. In fact, teen use of marijuana has been associated with an increased risk of some psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia. If you've already tried other treatments for anxiety and you feel like you're not getting better, then talk to a trusted adult and let them know that you're struggling. The good news is that there are effective treatments available for anxiety (many of them don't involve any medication!). If you have questions about substance abuse or mental health treatment, call 1-800-662-HELP, 24/7. Or you can go to to find information about treatment centers in your area. You may also want to check out our info on anxiety disorders:

-Ruben Baler

Can morphine used for medical first aid, be considered a drug, and if so what are the effects it holds?


Yes, morphine is a drug. It can be misused, but for first aid, it can be a powerful pain treatment. I got it years ago when I blew out my knee. Helped alot with the initial pain.

-Dave Thomas

Can mushrooms become addicting?

-DW, Washington

Hi, dwatckins@masd20! We still do not know the degree to which mushroons and hallucinogens are additive. However, we do know that mushrooms have harmful effects such as hallucinations, panic attackes, muscle weakness, nausea, vomiting, and drowsiness. Long-term consequences of mushroom use can be risk of flashbacks and memory problems. And remember, there is the risk of poisoning if you eat the wrong mushroom. Thanks for the question!

-Roger Sorensen

Can my penis have an erection while on the effects on drugs?


Interesting question elrabidd. Drugs like alcohol can interfere with erections and impair coordination leading to devastating accidents like drunk driving. Tobacco can damage you slowly and lead to cancer. Heroin, cocaine or misused prescription drugs can cause overdose and death even the first time you use them. And nearly all can lead to addiction which destroy lives. Why take a chance?

-John Satterlee

Can my penis size decrease by the use of drugs?


Hi Kcocdestroyer62, Thanks for your question. Many different lifestyle choices can affect the size of a penis--weight gain, aging, or side effects of some medications your doctor may prescribe. Anabolic steroids have been shown to reduce breast growth and cause shrinking of testicles and there has been some data that indicate that smokers had shorter erect penises, compared to men who did not smoke. Researchers believe this is because smoking inhibits blood flow, preventing the penis from stretching, which might reduce penis length. See for more info on steroids, and check out Ruben's video:

-Bethany Deeds

can my phone b a drug

-BMS, Oklahoma

This is an excellent question. There is a lot of debate about cellphone usage and whether people can be "addicted" to their phones. If you feel that you are on your phone much more than you should be, and that it affects your quality of life (like your grades are affected or your friends are getting tired of you being on your phone all the time) and that you use your phone even in dangerous situations because you can't stop (like having to look at your phone or texting while driving), then you may have a problem. Some people, if they think they are using their phones too much, make specific times when they do not look at their phones (like 4-6pm every day). Hope this helps!

-Michelle Leff

can Nyquil give you a high or drunk feeling

-whitney-FVSU4H, Georgia

Hi whitney-FVSU4H, thanks for the question! There are some things in the medicine cabinet at home, or available without a prescription at the drugstore, that can impact your brain. Nyquil is a cold reliever and sleep medicine and it might make you tired. It is not wise to misuse any drug--even those that might be found in your medicine cabinet. If you have trouble sleeping, make sure you are getting enough exercise during the day.

-Emily Jones

can over the counter painkillers make you high

-wolf333, Oregon

Hello Wolf333,
No, but they can be toxic. Take all prescribed or over-the-counter (OTC) medicine as directed on the label or by a doctor.

-Cora Lee Wetherington

Can people get a mental illness from drugs? -Grace

-gracecollins, New Jersey

Tricky question. For the most part, illicit drugs do not usually cause mental illnesses. However, illicit drugs can reveal or unmask illnesses. For example, someone may not know they have depression or bipolar disorder until they have a strong reaction to a drug. Also, there is some evidence that smoking marijuana, especially when you're a child or teenager, can raise the risk of developing schizophrenia -- a very serious mental illness. We're not 100% sure about this connection but the data so far are concerning.

-Joshua Gordon

can people go without herion for a day or is it a getaway drug ?

-Demerius-FVSU4H, Georgia

Hi De.
if someone is addicted to a drug, it would be very difficult for him/her to go a day w/o the drug. Any drug, under some circumstance can work as a gateway drug.

-Ruben Baler

Can people overdose on weed?

-CM, Illinois

Hi CM,

This is a great question!
An overdose occurs when a person uses enough of the drug to produce life-threatening symptoms or death. There are no reports of teens or adults dying from marijuana alone. However, some people who use marijuana can feel some very uncomfortable side effects, especially when using marijuana products with high THC levels. People have reported symptoms such as anxiety and paranoia, and in rare cases, an extreme psychotic reaction (which can include delusions and hallucinations) that can lead them to seek treatment in an emergency room.

I hope this helps!

-Jinhee Lee

can people stop using drugs

-Javares-FVSU4h, Georgia

Hi, this is a great question! Yes, it is definitely possible to stop drugs. Think of the people who quit smoking. That does not mean it is easy. Support from friends and family and getting the right treatment are crucial to stopping drugs. The good news also is that as soon as people quit, their brain and body can start to heal. See these resources about drug treatment on NIDA's website: Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction: See NIDA's Step-by-Step Guides to determine if you or a loved one has a problem with drugs:

-Carlos Blanco

Can person die if he drinks a lot of alcohol?

-zlata, Illinois

Yes! Alcohol overdose can be fatal!! Alcohol affects many organs - from our brain to heart to lungs to liver. See this link (Alcohol Overdose) for details.
In children and teenagers, the effects of alcohol on the developing brain can be particularly harmful! Check out our website The Cool Spot for more info!
- Vijay

-Vijay Ramchandani

can phentanil kill you?

-amontesrz, Arizona

YES!!!!!! Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin and the leading cause of drug overdose deaths in our country. VERY dangerous!!!

-Dave Thomas

can prozac get you high

-mshugar26, Oregon


-Emily Einstein

can smirnoff kill you? asking for a friend

-NOR5K1, Illinois

Yup. Too much smirnoff in one night can kill you by poisoning, and too much smirnoff over time can kill you with alcohol-induced diseases.

-Marsha Lopez

Can smocking cigarettes be used as medication?

-SM, Illinois

That's an interesting question! People sometimes smoke to relieve stress, but studies suggest smoking may actually be linked to increased chances of having an anxiety disorder or depression, especially in teenagers. Also, smoking is seen to cause multiple types of cancer, including lung cancer. You can find more information on smoking's effects on the brain and body here:

-Vani Pariyadath

Can smoking at a young age affect your future health?

-noodles, Illinois

Hi noodles. Yes, it can! There is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke. Smoking has multiple harmful effects, such as causing lung or heart disease. The longer someone smokes, the more likely they will experience the harmful effects. However, when a person quits, their body slowly starts to recover immediately. If someone doesn't smoke, they shouldn't start. But if they do smoke, it is always worth their health to stop. Check out this link for more info:

-Kevin Walton

can smoking weed give you erectile dysfunction?

-LG, Montana

HI Igillmore - No, but smoking weed will make you dumb. Marijuana has so many effects on your body. The brain might be the most affected. Research has shown that marijuana affects learning and memory, which can affect your schoolwork; coordination and judgment, which affects your ability to drive and play sports. It can also be addictive. Smoking marijuana appears to affect your lungs and respiration. There are receptors for THC, the addictive chemical in marijuana, throughout the body. These receptors regulate pain or immune responses, and thus, smoking marijuana may change your normal pain and inflammatory responses. For more info, see Marijuana: Facts for Teens booklet:

-Steve Gust

Can doing drugs stunt your growth?

-Noah H, New Jersey

Hi Noah
Yes, anabolic steroids are well known for this effect. High hormone levels coming from steroids signal to the body to stop bone growth too early. AS use in teens can also stunt height if use happens before the growth spurt
thanks for a great question
b smart. b safe

-Ruben Baler

Can drugs affect someone's mental illness? i.e depression, schizophrenia, BPD, bipolar.

-16165, New Jersey

Hi 16165,
Yes, drugs can definitely affect someone's mental illness. I assume you are asking about illegal or street drugs, which are often used by individuals with mental health issues because they can temporarily reduce some of the negative feelings that their illness causes. Unfortunately, using these drugs can often make the symptoms of these disorders worse over time, as they teach the brain to respond the wrong way to these feelings. However, it is worth noting that properly prescribed medications for these disorders are also drugs, but ones that are specifically designed to help people with mental illnesses. To learn about mental health medications, visit:

-Eric Murphy

can drugs affect your nervous system?

-dj nini,

Hi DJ - Yes, absolutely. While some medicines affect different parts of the body, pretty much all drugs of abuse affect the nervous system, and by that I mean the brain! For some additional information, you might want to check out "Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction":

-Steve Gust

can drugs cause aggression and anger

-default skin, Illinois

Hello default skin! Absolutely..this is one of the more difficult side effects of drugs. Of course, people are different and react differently to drugs. Often, the agression and anger comes when the drug is wearing off and their bodies are screaming for more drugs; this is the worst part of addiction. Sometimes the agression comes after a person has used a drug for a long time (like with steroids -- you've heard of "roid rage"). See information on different drugs here:

-Meyer Glantz

can drugs cause aggression and anger

-Fishhsticks1231, Illinois

Hey Fishhsticks1231! Yes they can. Drug use can alter or change how a person acts. All drugs change the normal function of the brain. For some people, these changes cause them to become very aggressive and show increased anger after taking drugs.

-Tisha Wiley

can drugs cause depression :(

-teletubbies123, Illinois

Some illicit drugs can cause you to feel depressed -- like alcohol when you're intoxicated or cocaine when you're withdrawing. But if you are feeling depressed a lot of the time, for a couple of weeks or more, its probably something else and you should seek help from a doctor or other responsible adult. To learn more about depression in teens, visit:

-Joshua Gordon

Can drugs cause depression?

-Memo Hérdez,

Some illicit drugs can cause you to feel depressed -- like alcohol, when you're intoxicated, or cocaine, when you're withdrawing . But if you are feeling depressed a lot of the time, for a couple of weeks or more, its probably something else and you should seek help from a doctor or other responsible adult. To learn more about depression in teens, visit:

-Joshua Gordon

can drugs cause internal bleeding?

-Mikaela-FVBSU4H, Georgia

The category of abused drugs does not usually have this as a side effect. They do damage your brain. Internal bleeding is more prone to occur in people who are taking certain prescribed medications such as aspirin, NSAIDs for pain and coumadin (warfarin) or other blood-thinning agents that are usually recommended only for people who have serious heart disease. Internal bleeding can occur in those who had liver damaged after longtime heavy drinking.

-Shwe Gyaw

can drugs effect your stress?

-Joey, Illinois

Hi Joey. Great question. People sometimes use drugs because they are trying to deal with anxiety or stress. Unfortunately, drugs are often counterproductive and end up causing you even more stress. Some drugs can actually cause increased anxiety and stress when you take them. Not only that, when you use drugs, you run the risk of becoming addicted. If you are addicted, you might begin to prioritize the drug over other things in your life, and in the process make choices that cause you even more stress--for example spending all of your money on drugs or alienating the people who love you. See information on different drugs here:

-Suzanne Lim

can drugs effect your stress? (make it worse)

-Aybrian-FVSU4H, Georgia

Great question! Stimulants (like cocaine, nicotine, and even caffeine) can increase anxiety and stress. With other drugs, sometimes it depends -- the drug can worsen or reduce stress depending on the person using it and the circumstances under which the drug is being used. Some drugs that can provide short-term relief of stress can have the opposite long-term effect when used chronically. You can find more information on the effects of stimulants here:

-Vani Pariyadath

Can drugs elevate your IQ?


Hey Pelooon. Nope, drugs won't elevate your IQ- that pill in the show Limitless is fictional :)

-Emily Einstein