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 beer get rid of body worms?

-makala2212, Georgia

There is plenty of speculation about this on the Internet but no studies have been done. 

-Aaron White

Can beer kill tapeworms in humans and dogs?

-Zemontiaaa, Georgia

I had never heard this one?! A quick search shows that there have not been any actual studies on this but some people swear that a very tiny amount of beer can kill tapeworms in dogs. It's best not to risk it, however, as alcohol can be toxic to pets. 

-Aaron White

can being around drugs for years affect you in the future.

-Dadrian14, Georgia

Hi Dadrian
probably not from second hand exposure, but being around drug users all the time has to have some negative effects in your life. Can you think of any?

thanks for a great question

-Ruben Baler

Can caffeine cause heart problems?

-Zohn, Maryland

Severe caffeine overdose can cause fast and erratic heartbeat, seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, and disorientation—these extreme symptoms are more often caused by using caffeine powder than from drinking too much coffee or tea or consuming too many sodas or energy drinks.

-Maureen Boyle

Can caffeine stimulate weight loss? If you took pure polyphenols (the substance in green tea for slimming effect), would you start having a faster/enhanced metabolism or lose weight? Lastly, why are some drugs-like tobacco and caffeine- acceptable in society where marijuana (a gateway drug but nevertheless still popularly used) is considered illegal and harmful as a substance (while coffee and cigarettes are considered normal, daily fare)?

-Lanthirey, Maryland

Give it up for Lanthirey!  Awesome question.  There is no good evidence that caffeine leads to significant weight loss.  It may suppress your appetite for a time, but over a period of time, its not enough to actually cause your body to drop some serious pounds.   There are, however, good ways to lose weight that actually work.  As for our society's approach to drugs?  Well-not all drugs are equally harmful.  People don't commit crimes, lose everything they ever worked for, hurt their families, cause accidents or generally bring down the quality of life for themselves or others because of caffeine.  As for marijuana/cigarettes--it does seem like cigarettes are going out of style (thank goodness!) and marijuana is more popular.  But normal?  It all depends on who you hang with--but for lots of Americans, marijuana is not normal or OK or acceptable--they just don't get the media attention.  

-Lis Davis

Can catnip get you high?

-imalazyshit, Maryland

No, catnip is not addictive or psychoactive. Catnip (from the plant Nepeta cataria) DOES cause most cats to act strangely: they roll around, shake their heads, rub against things, and try to get the plant all over their bodies. Interestingly, cats are only affected when they smell it - it has NO EFFECT if they eat it. It appears that catnip has little or no psychoactive effects in people.

-Joni Rutter

can cocaine be medical

-trapwizard04, Michigan

It does have a very limited medical use as a local anesthetic.   But I do not think it is used much.   There are other local anesthetics that work fine and are not abused.   


-Dave Thomas

can coffee kill you

-Brittany, Illinois

Although caffeine is generally safe at the dosages contained in popular beverages, caffeine overdose (which can happen when consuming caffeine powder) can cause fast and erratic heartbeat, seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, disorientation or even death—symptoms much more extreme than those of drinking too much coffee or tea or consuming too many sodas or energy drinks.

-Maureen Boyle


-IAMADRUG, Michigan

Yes. How likely depends on your individual tolerance, amount of active ingredient in the brownie, strength of active ingredient, and so forth.

-Nancy Pilotte

can i really become addicted just by smoking one cigarette????

-waka, Maryland

Hi waka.  
Yes. Scientific studies have shown that the brain is significantly affected by the first exposure to all drugs, including nicotine. The first exposure can change your brain and make you want to smoke the second, then the third cigarette, and so on. 
Get the facts at

-Antonello Bonci

Can illegal drugs prevent STDs like HIV or AIDS? Could that be the reason some people use them?

-sami14, Maryland

Hi sami14.  No way!  Actually, using illegal drugs can increase risk for STDs like HIV or AIDS because they affect your brain, they way you think and can lead to poor decision making, like engaging in risky sexual behaviors that increase risk for HIV/AIDS.  Here is some additional information for you to review --  It's great that you are asking this type of question.  You've just shattered a drug fact myth!

-Belinda Sims

can it be painful when you don't do cocaine in a while??

-Sophie Dupree, Texas

Hello Sophie--good question. When you take cocaine for along time, you can become addicted. This means that your body has now adapted to wanting to have cocaine. When you first stop taking cocaine, your body still wants the drug. If you don't take cocaine, your body begins to react. This is known as physical withdrawal. During physical withdrawal your body shows many ailments. This physical withdrawal can be very painful to the person.

-Roger Sorenson

Can LSD be a gateway drug like in the novel "Go Ask Alice"?

-919323, Florida

Hi 919323,
I'd say it's pretty unlikely, because these days LSD is pretty rare--a person would be very unlikely to take it as their first drug before having tried alcohol, marijuana, etc. One thing that makes a "gateway" drug is accessibility.
Great question, though!

-Eric Wargo

Can LSD really be stored in your spine and cause trips in the future?

-Kat, North Carolina

Hi Kat,
No, it's a myth that the LSD stays in your spine or anywhere else in your body. But it is true that you can have a trip in the future (a "flashback"). This is because of changes to the brain caused by the drug. It's your own altered brain causing the trip. (Pretty trippy, right?)

-Eric Wargo

Can Marijuana Be Addictive

-QueenAliyyah, Maryland

Sure, addiction is compulsive use despite harm.  That happens a lot with marijuana,  Here is some more information on marijuana:


-Dave Thomas

Can marijuana be fatal?

-curious Lion, Kansas

There are, to my knowledge, no direct fatalities attributable to marijunana itself. Causality is hard to prove. But people can and do injure themselves and die because of marijuana's effects on judgment, perception, and coordination. There are reports of people who have died in traffic accidents while under the influence of marijuana because it dramatically slows your reaction time (and you don't respond to danger signals from traffic as quickly as you would without the drug). Also, people can experience extreme anxiety (panic attacks) or psychotic reactions (where they lose touch with reality and may become paranoid).  Do you want to know more about drugged driving? Check out

-Nancy Pilotte

Can Marijuana cause paranoia?

-Marie, Maryland

Thanks for your question. Yes, for some people they can become paranoid after taking marijuana, and other drugs also. You can learn more about the effects of marijuana at

-Joseph Frascella

can marijuana change someones personality?

-Catherine Mayer, Ohio

Hi cathy,
i really think so. Anything that changes the brain can affect personality. besides the risk of addiction (which is a dramatic change in personality, associations have also been found between marijuana use and other mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts among adolescents, and personality disturbances, including a lack of motivation to engage in typically rewarding activities. 
hope this helps

-Ruben Baler

Can marijuana change the way you act and your personality?

-kearsarge, New Hampshire

Yes--any drug can do that.  Marijuana affects parts of the brain that are important for decision making and judgement, and at high doses or in vulnerable individuals it can make you paranoid or psychotic.  That usually goes way when the effects of the drug wear off, although in people with a pre-existing vulnerability to psychosis--it can contribute to a younger age of onset or more severe course of illness.

-Susan Weiss

Can marijuana enhance any mental disorder?

-JuanV, Texas

Hi Juan.  Good question.  Drugs affect your brain and your behavior whether or not you have a mental disorder. Some research suggests that drugs like marijuana use can increase risk for mental disorders.  We also know that using various drugs can also lead to impulsive behavior or can impair judgement, so using drugs can sometimes interact with symptoms or make mental health problems worse.  It's sort of odd when you think about the fact that we sometimes use drugs to treat mental disorders, but then again, medications to treat mental disorders are prescribed by a doctor under careful monitoring.

-Denise Pintello

can marijuana kill you?

-NateArchibald , Minnesota

Hi NateArchibald – deaths due direct exposure to marijuana are few, but driving under the influence of marijuana is very deadly especially when it is used along with alcohol.

-Susan Weiss

Can Marijuana Kill You?

-gerald jeffries, Maryland

Hi gerald jeffries. Great question! Not directly. Use of marijuana can impair coordination and lead to accidents that kill people.  Also, sometimes people become very anxious and paranoid when they use marijuana and end up hurting themselves.  Find out more on marijuana at

-Wilson Compton

can marijuana lead to other drugs as its called the gateway drug and if so what kinds?

-WBrooks, New Hampshire

Good question, WBrooks.  The research is not yet settled but it suggests that while most people who smoke marijuana do not go on to use other drugs, few young people use other illegal drugs without first trying marijuana. For example, the risk of using cocaine is much greater for those who have tried marijuana than for those who have never tried it. However, this is also true for alcohol and tobacco. Animal studies suggest that early use of marijuana (or alcohol or tobacco) may impact the brain – which is still developing in adolescents— altering the reward system in ways that affect the likelihood of using other drugs as you get older. In addition, using marijuana puts children and teens in contact with people who use and sell other drugs. So, a person who uses marijuana may be more likely to be exposed to and urged to try other drugs.

-Joni Rutter

Can medications for animals be taken by people?

-glenelg41, Maryland

Glenegl41, You want to take flea medicine?  If people take their animal's medications, how will the animal get better?  Some medications for animals and people are the same, but they may be administered in different dosing regimens. It is never a good idea to take drugs that are not prescribed by your doctor for a specific ailment.  

-Joni Rutter

Can meth kill you on the first try? Or in that just a myth?

-Tyrone Young, Minnesota

Meth is a way dangerous drug. Since it, as well as many other drugs, are often filled with other chemicals, reactions are often difficult to predict. Unfortunately, this can result is some very scary outcomes including death!

-Gaya Dowling

can mj effect blood flow to the brain?

-thor, Maryland

Hi Thor - YES marijuana can affect affect the contraction and expansion of your blood vessels, so it does affect blow flow to the brain.

-Susan Weiss

Can mushrooms be considered drugs?

-Kearsarge, New Hampshire

Ones with psychoactive components like psilocybin (shrooms) can be...

For more information on hallucinogens (like mushrooms), check out:!

-Nancy Pilotte

Can my body build a tolerance to drugs?

-alicia, Ohio

Fantastic question, Alicia! I assume your talking about drugs that can be abused.  Yes, most people do develop a tolerance to drugs - that means after a person uses a drug for a while, it takes MORE drug for the person to feel the same effect. This is why people who are addicted need more and more of a drug just to feel normal.
Want to know how many teens are using drugs? Check out this infographic:

-Dave Thomas

can my body build up a tolerance to drugs?

-joe45, Maryland

Hi Joe45,
Yes, most people do develop a tolerance to drugs - that means after a person uses a drug for a while, it takes MORE drug for the person to feel the same effect. This is why people who are addicted need more and more of a drug just to feel normal.
Want to know how many teens are using drugs? Check out this infographic:

-Michelle Leff

can Nyquil give you a high or drunk feeling?

-keshawn14, Georgia

Unless you get the non-alcoholic version of Nyquil, it's 10% alcohol. It would most likely put you to sleep (part of its intended effect) before you got drunk on it. If you tried drinking too much of it, you might risk some severe negative side effects of large doses of the other medications in Nyquil.  You would definitely risk alcohol poisoning (not fun...unless you enjoy getting your stomach pumped). The antihistamine in Nyquil might make you feel dizzy, but probably wouldn't really make you feel high...more like disoriented.

-Joseph Frascella