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 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

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

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

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

-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: http://www.scholastic.com/smp/pdfs/nida/NIDA_YR11-Stu_Comp.pdf.

-Vani Pariyadath

Can drugs elevate your IQ?

-Pelooon,

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

-Emily Einstein

Can drugs have other really bad effects other than overdose?

-Wiley Wildcat, Illinois

Great question Wiley! Some drugs like tobacco can damage you slowly and lead to diseases like cancer. Drugs like alcohol can impair your coordination and lead to devastating accidents like drunk driving. And nearly all can lead to addiction which destroy lives. Why take a chance? For more information on different drugs check out: www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/commonly-abused-drugs-charts.

-John Satterlee

Can drugs help calm down people with ocd?

-lc203,

There are several prescription medicines that can be helpful with OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder). Psychotherapy also helps. But there is no evidence that illicit drugs help. So see a doctor for helpful treatments. To learn more about OCD, visit: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd...

-Joshua Gordon

Can drugs help me end my depression?

-kcocdestroyer62,

Hi there kcocdestroyer 62! Hmmm - I am not sure if you are asking about legal drugs or illegal drugs. Legal depression medications can certainly do a great job in treating the symptoms of the disorder, but they don't always reduce the symptoms entirely. However, depressive symptoms can go away or become more manageable, and often medication and/or talk therapy can truly help in treating these symptoms. Always speak with your doctor or mental health professional before beginning new medications. Illegal drugs, unfortunately, can interfere with treatment or recovery from depression. For more info, on treatment and therapies for depression, visit: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml#part_145399

-Denny Pintello

can drugs help with suicidal thoughts and can they help with depression

-wolf333, Oregon

Hi wolf333, Yes, there are many different medicines, called anti-depressants, that a doctor can prescribe to treat suicidal thoughts and depression. But illegal drugs, like marijuana or opioids, for example, can make mental health symptoms worse so please avoid those. If you or someone you know is feeling depressed, the first thing to do is find a trusted adult - like a parent, coach, counselor or teacher - and ask for help. You can also check out these resources: Teen Depression (Brochure): www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/teen-depression/index.shtml and www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/. If you are in crisis, please call 1-800-273-8255. This is the SAMHSA mental health helpline and a trained professional will answer your call.

-Kristen Huntley