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 marijuana kill you?

-Natalie , New Hampshire

Marijuana doesn't cause overdose death the way that drugs like alcohol or opioids do.

-Emily Einstein

Can marijuana really affect your brain and school productivity as people say ?

-Lxam10, Maryland

Yes, there are a lot of studies showing that marijuana can affect your brain. The good news is that if you stop using marijuana, your brain may recover, but remember that the teen brain is especially vulnverable because it is still developing, and drugs and alcohol can case permanent harm to the developing brain. See this easy-to-read booklet about the effects of marijuana on teen health. Marijuana: Facts for Teens booklet: www.drugabuse.gov/publications/marijuana-facts-teens/letter-to-teens

-Carlos Blanco

Can marijuana shrink cancer cells?

-theboyz, Illinois

Hi theboyz -- Thanks for the question. There are a couple studies of cancer cells in a dish that suggest that some components of cannabis might stop cancer-cell growth. However, I'm not aware of any well-controlled studies in cancer patients that suggest marijuana use can shrink cancer cells or cure cancer.

-Steve Gust

Can marijuana treat aids?

-Chungus, Illinois

That's a really interesting question. There are medicines made with some of the same chemicals we see in marijuana that help with their nausea and severe weight loss. . However, we are also interested in whether marijuana (or some of its ingredients) might have an effect on the disease, because it does act on the immune system which is the target of the HIV virus. But until we know more, it is important for teens to stay away fro marijuana because of affects on the developing brain.

-Susan Weiss

CAN YOU DIE FROM SMOKING WEED EVERYDAY?

-Garfield , Illinois

Yes--if you drive while high. Probably not from an overdose, but you are likely to experience other negative effects on mood or your thinking ability.

-Susan Weiss

can you die from using heroin one time

-AshAlk, Maryland

Heroin is a dangerous drug for lots of reasons. In particular, too much heroin can cause an overdose and make you stop breathing. That can happen even if it is your first time using heroin.

-Joshua Gordon

can you die from vaping

-gabi, New Hampshire

Vaping is used for different substances, and there are also dangerous chemicals included in the vaping liquid. Also, vape pens can explode and couse life-threatening injuries! There has been one death attributed to an exploding vape pen: a man in Florida dies in May 2018 from projectiles that entered his head fom an exploding vape pen. It's not worth the risk!

-Emily Jones

can you die if you vape?

-...,

Hi there. Thanks for your question. From vaping, probably not. However, directly drinking the liquids in e-cigs can be very dangerous. Someone who vapes, or uses e-cigs, gets exposed to a lot of chemicals, such as nicotine, propylene glycol, glycerol, and flavor chemicals. Nicotine is addictive, and taking too much nicotine, which are in e-cigs, can make you very sick. Some of the chemicals are known to be harmful, and the safety of most of the others is not known. Unless you are using e-cigs to help you stop smoking, e-cig use should be avoided, especially in teens when their brains are still developing.Check out this link for more info: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/tobacco-nicotine-e-cigarettes

-Kevin Walton

CAN YOU DIE IN ONE DAY FOR TAKING DRUGS

-Javares-FVSU4h, Georgia

Yes--depends on the drug, but many of them slow or stop your breathing (e.g., opioids like heroin or fentanyl, alcohol, sedatives like valium).

-Susan Weiss

can you eat weed and is it bad for you

-horse, Oregon

Hi horse,
Any way that you consume marijuana can be harmful to your brain and your body, whether you eat it, smoke it, or vape it. You can get more information here: Marijuana: Facts for Teens booklet: www.drugabuse.gov/publications/marijuana-facts-teens/letter-to-teens

-Cora Lee Wetherington

Can you eat weed to get high?

-Superdood, Illinois

Yes

-Bethany Deeds

Can you eat weed to get high?

-Superdood, Illinois

Hello SD,
Indeed edible sources of marijuana are increasing available and yes, they do produce a high. These products have been associated with an increase in overdoses in children and pets that get access to them. And, because it is possible to eat these in a short period of time and there is a delay in the onset of the effects, it may be possible to overdose or overuse these products and experience undesirable effects.
https://teens.drugabuse.gov/blog/post/marijuana-edibles-are-not-candy

-Emily Einstein

Can you forget you forget problems when you are high'

-lll,

Sure, people may forget about their problems when they're high. Those problems are definitely still there, though, and may feel even worse afterward (they also may actually get worse as a result of using drugs).

-Emily Einstein

can you get addicted to a drug if you have tried it just once?

-chachi,

Thanks for the question, Chachi! Although we know what happens to the brain when someone becomes addicted, we can't predict how many times a person must use a drug before that happens. The only way to be sure that a person will never become addicted to a drug if they don't use it.

There are many things that influence whether a person will become addicted. Their biology (a person's genes) and their environment – like whether their friends or family use drugs or positive influences like sports or music – play a role. We also know that the younger someone is when they start to use drugs or alcohol, the more likely they are to become addicted. If you don't use before your brain is fully developed (in your mid 20's) your risk for addiction is MUCH lower!

-Marsha Lopez

Can you get addicted to ADHD medicine

-soup, Oregon

Hi Soup. Do you like soup? The anwser is "Yes.' ADHD medications include amphetamine (Adderall), methamphetamine, and methylphenidate (Ritalin). All of these drugs increase the activity of the dopamine system that is involved in reward and reinforcement. All of these drugs are also considered to have high abuse liability by the Food and Drug Administration. For more information on ADHD clickon this link: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd-the-basics/index.shtml

-Dave Thomas

can you get addicted to adhd meds?

-EM, New Hampshire

Hi ella
what a great question.
our research shows that if you have been properly diagnoised with ADHD, you are not more or less likely than the general population to become addicted to the medication. However, if you are using the meds w/o a prescription, your risk of becoming addicted to it go up significantly.
b smart and stay healthy

-Ruben Baler

Can you get addicted to anxiety/adhd meds

-Foxtrot15, Illinois

Hi Foxtrot15 - Many medications for anxiety and ADHD have only a small risk of addiction as long as they are taken as they were prescribed - so it's always important to follow instructions from your doctor. If you're worried about becoming addicted there are some ADHD medications with very low (almost no) addiction risk (like Vyvanse or Strattera). Overall though, research shows that teens with ADHD who are prescribed effective medication for ADHD and take it properly actually have a lower risk of ever becoming addicted to any drugs than teens with ADHD who never receive ADHD treatment.

-Roger Sorensen

can you get addicted to cold medicine

-CardiBeenKnown, Illinois

Hi CardiBeenKnown: Soooooo, cough and cold medicines should be taken as directed on the label. They can safely treat symptoms caused by colds and flu. If they are taken in higher quantities or when such symptoms aren't present, they may affect the brain in ways very similar to illegal drugs, and can even lead to addiction. https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/cough-and-cold-medicine-dxm-and-codeine-syrup

BTW, Best of luck on your grammy nomiation this year CardiB

-Ruben Baler

Can drugs make you gay?

-AOV,

Nope.

-Susan Weiss

Can drugs, smoking and vaping be linked with depression?

-122333444455555, 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: www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/teen-depression/index.shtml

-Joshua Gordon

can easily accessible painkillers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen become addictive and, if so, what damage can they do?

-bear, Oregon

Hello Bear,
These painkillers do not have addiction liability but they can be toxic to your liver if taken at doses beyond those advised on the label or if taken with alcohol, so following recommend doses is very important!

-Roger Little

can eating disorders be linked to drug abuse

-default skin, Illinois

Some people with eating disorders also have problems with drugs. If you have both, you need treatment for both! So it is really important to be open and honest with your doctor and other people you trust in order to make sure you get all the help you need. To learn more about eating disorders, visit: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/eating-disorders/index.shtml.

-Joshua Gordon

Can food be a drug?

-wiskilukan,

Hi there
such a great question. I have even published several papers that explore the overlaps between obesity and addiction. They are not the same but they do have similarities, definitely. If this connection worries you, you should consult your primary physician who would be in the best position to diagnose and treat any mental or physical disorder.
Thanks for the interest and best luck to you.

-Ruben Baler

can huff spray paint and get high and possibly die

-lemur, Illinois

Hi lemur! Unfortunately yes, even after one use, by

  • sudden sniffing death—heart beats quickly and irregularly, and then suddenly stops (cardiac arrest)
  • asphyxiation—toxic fumes replace oxygen in the lungs so that a person stops breathing
  • suffocation—air is blocked from entering the lungs when inhaling fumes from a plastic bag placed over the head
  • convulsions or seizures—abnormal electrical discharges in the brain
  • coma—the brain shuts down all but the most vital functions
  • choking—inhaling vomit after inhalant use
  • injuries—accidents, including driving, while intoxicated
-Michele Rankin

can i be too much of a gamer and suffer acholoholism

-assEater420, Oregon

It's possible for anyone to develop alcoholism. People who have other addictions are sometimes more likely to develop alcoholism. Being aware of one's possible risk for alcohol use disorder is an important first step in avoiding it.

-Aaron White

can i die from eating too much chocolate because of all the endorphins in it

-AW, Montana

No

-Ruben Baler

Can I die from smoking weed

-bfost123, Maryland

Hi bfost123: Most drugs can cause overdose and death if taken in high enough quantities. They can also cause death from accidents as a result of driving while being high -see this link for more information -- https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/drugged-driving. Marijuana can also cause a variety of health effects, including learning, attention and memory problems, increased heart rate, anxiety, paranoia, and even psychosis in some cases.

-Bethany Deeds

Can I eat nicotine?

-Dr. Mudbone, Illinois

Thank you for joining us, Dr. Mudbone! We would not recommend eating nicotine, as it is toxic, and can cause nausea and vomiting. Quick facts about tobacco, nicotine and e-cigarettes: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/tobacco-nicotine-e-cigarettes.

-Mary Rooney

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: www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/commonly-abused-drugs-charts

-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