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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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Does marijuana help in some cases for adolescents?

-Eline, Illinois

Hi Eline
There is a chemical derived from the cannabis plant called "cannabidiol." This has been found to be effective in treating some rare childhood seizures. Most of the commonly available cannabis/marijuana contains THC, which is addictive and causes a high and has limited health benefit to adolescents or adults.

-Geetha Subramaniam

Considering that you consume the "same amount... which drug between marujuana and alcohol does less harm to your body?

-farkas,

Hi farkas
how can one possible consume the "same" amount of two different things? what would you measure?
only zero amount would cause the same negative effect. B smart. B healthy

-Ruben Baler

consuming drugs affects somewhow when you have sex

-el chapo,

Hello. I'm not totally sure what your question is--but here's my best guess. Some drugs can cause you to do things that you wouldn't otherwise do. So using drugs makes you more likely to engage in risky sexual behavior, which may lead to diseases or possibly unplanned preganancies. Some drugs also may interfere with your ability to have sex while others may alter the experience. Either way, safety is a concern when combining drugs with sex. The consequences are often unpredictable and may lead to more problems than you expect.

-Aria Crump

COULD a baby in the womb get high by their mother smoking

-Angela-FVSU4H, Georgia

Every drug a pregnant woman takes also reaches her baby. The ways in which the baby can be affected depends on the drug the mother takes, how much she uses, and when in pregnancy she uses. Babies born to mothers who are addicted can suffer terrible withdrawal symptoms. But the good news is that the sooner a pregnant woman stops using drugs, the better the results for her baby. You can read more at https://teens.drugabuse.gov/blog/post/using-drugs-when-pregnant-harms-baby.

-Carlos Blanco

COULD a baby in the womb get high by their mother smoking

-HAMILTON-FVSU4H, Georgia

Hi Hamilton,

It is unclear whether a baby in the womb can get high while in the mother's womb, however, substance use during pregnancy can be risky to the woman's health and that of her children in both the short and long term. Most drugs, including opioids and stimulants, could potentially harm an unborn baby. Use of some substances can increase the risk of miscarriage and can cause migraines, seizures, or high blood pressure in the mother, which may affect her fetus. In addition, the risk of stillbirth is 2 to 3 times greater in women who smoke tobacco or marijuana, take prescription pain relievers, or use illegal drugs during pregnancy. Pregnant women should check with their health care provider before using any medicines or substances.

For more information, check out https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/substance-use-in-women.

-Jinhee Lee

Could constantly drinking alcohol (everyday) cause the person to remember past memories that wished to be kept away?

-pboydmateo01, Oregon

It probably would not help the person remember past memories because drinking too much can damage the areas of the brain that make and recall memories.

-Emily Einstein

could drugs ruin your life

-JP, Montana

Hi Jphillips. Yes, they could. Drug abuse can have many negative consequences. If you are asking about the health effects of drugs, these effects can include brain damage due to lack of oxygen and even death. You can find more information about the health effects of various drugs here: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts. Also, it is important to know that drug abuse can have other kinds of consequences, including family problems, losing a job, and failing in school. Thanks for your question.

-Steve Gust

could someone be allergic to alcohol

-WpasstheJ, Maryland

Sort of. About half of people with Asian ancestory have a gene that makes it hard to metabolize alcohol. If they drink, a toxic chemical called acetaldehyde builds up in their bodies and causes the release of a molecule called histamine, which is what happens when people have allergies. The histamine causes the skin to get warm, red and blotchy, and the person can feel quite sick.

-George Koob

Could taking drugs in moderation be good for your body and could the same be said for alcohol?

-pboydmateo01, Oregon

Hi,

That's a great question!
Taking any drug without a prescription and taken in a way not prescribed by your doctor is not a good idea. Drug-drug interactions, adverse effects, drug-disease interactions, etc are some of the things you should be wary of. The same can be said for alcohol, especially if you are under 21. The parts of the brain that control judgment and decision-making do not fully develop until people are in their early or mid-20s. Because the brain is still developing, using drugs at this age has more potential to disrupt brain function in areas critical to motivation, memory, learning, judgment, and behavior control.

For more information, check out our Science of Addiction publication at https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-add....

-Jinhee Lee

Could you die faster if you had smoke?

-LC,

Hey there luisa cedros.

People who smoke cigarettes regularly and for a long period of time do die earlier than people who never smoked. On average they can lose 10 or more years of life if they smoke for a long time compared to folks who never smoked.

Thanks for your question!

-Mitch Zeller

Could you die from marijuana, not an accident related to pot like driving while high, but is an overdose possible?

-V, Illinois

Hello V,
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: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/marijuana-facts-teens/letter-to-teens

Thanks

-Roger Little

Could you use drugs to alleviate dysphoria?

-Icarus, Illinois

What kind of drugs, Icarus? Dysphoria -- another word for depression -- can be treated by medications and psychotherapy. Illicit drugs may make you feel better for short time, but they aren't safe in the long-term and they aren't as effective as meds your doctor can prescribe.

-Joshua Gordon

cual es la droga que menos daño te hace? which is the drog that make less damage to me?

-El Patròn,

Hi El Patròn, That's an interesting question. Prescribed medications or drugs, can be useful when used as prescribed by health professionals. But honestly, there's no drug that people use for fun that I can recommend. Each one has risks that, in my opinion, outweigh the benefits. Check out our NIDA Teen Website for more information.

-Aria Crump

depending on the subject's physical condition, do drugs have a different effect on them?

-Salia,

Hi Salia -- Yes, the subjects' physical condition does play a role in the effects of drugs. For example, people who suffer from anxiety as teenagers have a higher chance of developing severe anxiety problems, psychosis, and/or other serious mental health problems. Learn more here:
https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/commonly-abused-drugs-charts

-Anto Bonci

Did you know that the average dosage of marijuana can cause hormonal changes within minutes of consuming this drug?

-JE, South Carolina

Hi JE
Thanks for the info. I knew that there are hormonal and pharmacological mechanisms that may explain some of the sex differences in the effects of cannabis and cannabinoids but I didnt know that marijuana could affect hormonal changes within minutes. Will certainly look into that.
thanks

-Ruben Baler

difference between thc and cbd and do they show up on drug tests?

-big chungus, Illinois

THC and CBD are two different components of marijuana. Some drug tests would be positive for both of them. Learn more abot marijuana here: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/marijuana

-Emily Einstein

Do all drugs alter your physical appearance in a bad way?

-HWP4Y , Oregon

Hi Hwilson,
Yup, depends on the drug but they can do all sorts of things to you brain and body, including your physical appearance. One very disturbing example is "meth mouth." If you haven't ever seen a picture of that, trust me, it is awful!!!

-Eric Murphy

Do all people have a reaction to drugs

-DB, California

Hi DebB - hope you are enjoying the Chat. Yes. Drugs are chemicals that will act on various systems in the human body to have effects or reactions. All drugs of abuse can lead to addiction and have different health impacts--it's a tough question to answer because it all depends on the particular drug and the individual misusing it.Here's a list of commonly abused drugs with the health consequences of each: http://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/commonly-abused-drugs-charts/common....

-Roger Little

Do all vaping devices cause popcorn lung?

-Jimmy, Illinois

Hi Jimmy - this is a great question. "Popcorn lung" is another name for a disease called bronchiolitis obliterans, which makes you cough and feel short of breath. Workers at a popcorn factory were found to have this disease more than other people, and it turned out that the cause was a chemical called diacetyl. This chemical is also present in many vaping liquids, which is a cause for concern. The contents in vaping devices are not regulated, so it's impossible for a user to know what he or she is vaping. Check out these resources on e-cigs - https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/electronic-cigarettes-e...

-Heather Kimmel

Do any studies actually prove that medicinal marijuana works, if so by who?

-Ben the dog, Oregon

This is a great question, Ben the dog, but we don't have a good answer yet. So far, we do not have enough large-scale clinical studies that show that the benefits of the marijuana plant outweigh its risks in patients it's meant to treat. You can find some examples of studies on medical use of marijuana here and here.

The purified version of CBD (extracted from the plant) has been approved by the FDA to treat seizures and to treat nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy . Use of the whole plant will not necessarily provide the same benefits because the plant has so many more chemicals in it that can cause other problems. More research is needed on this topic!

-Vani Pariyadath

do certain drugs effect animals too?

-BS, Montana

Yes, drugs have similar, if not identical, effects in animals as they do in humans. Of course, animals can't describe the subjective effects of drugs, but the effects on their brain and behavior is usually the same and is a good indication of their effects in humans. Animals will self-administer nearly every drug of abuse that humans do. So, animal studies are commonly used to test whether a new drug is likely to have abuse liability in humans.

-Steve Gust

do different drug require different specialized treatment plans for rehab

-spence_5644, South Carolina

Great question! Actually, each PERSON in treatment requires a specialized treatment plan tailored specifically to that person. This includes addressing the drug(s) being used as well as multiple other factors including family dynamics etc. This is why treatment plans are SO important.

Thanks for asking!

-Jack Stein

Do drugs affect lifespan

-nicole, Maryland

Hi Nicole! Thanks for your question. There are a few ways to look at drugs affecting lifespan. Some drugs can cause overdose and death (heroin, opioids like fentanyl) ,some drugs when abused can cause health issues (cocaine can cause cardiac problems), and certainly if people are under the influence they may make bad decisions (like driving while drunk or drugged) which could result in a life-threatening situation. In general, it really would depend on the drug, how often it is used (frequency and also length of use), etc.

-Michelle Leff

Do drugs and alcohol actually affect intelligence?

-WP, Texas

Probably,
For example, some studies show that marijuana users tend to have lower IQs compared to non-users, but others don't. However, more research is needed to show this for sure and for other drugs. But I think it is clear that drugs do not make a person smarter and likely negatively impacts intelligence, and it does affect grades in a negative way... Something to think about.

-Dave Thomas

Do drugs can improve your athletic ability?

-Pelooon,

Hello, Pelooon! Great question. There is a lot of misinformation about the effects of drugs on athletic ability. Your own body produces all the resources it needs to be a great athlete. The kinds of drug sometimes used by athletes are called anabolic steroids or stimulants. Adults and teens who use these drugs increase the risk for high blood pressure, an enlarged heart, irregular heart rate, heart attack, stroke, dangerously high body temperatures, and intense anger or paranoia. Far from a winning combination! For more information check out this resource.

-Katia Howlett

Do drugs have a taste?

-Mr. Man, Illinois

Sure. They do not taste good, but they do have a flavor. Typically, drugs are acidic or bitter. Marijuana is being sold in some states as "edibles" where it is included in such things as cookies that cover up the marijuana flavor. The issue here is that these cookies are sometimes eaten by mistake (a child just thinks its a cookie). Not a good thing.

-Dave Thomas

do drugs make people commit suicide

-IDK WHO AM I, Illinois

Dear IDK---this is an excellent question. They probably do for many reasons. One--people who are addicted are often extremely depressed about their life and their inability to stay off drugs. Sometimes the drugs make their depression worse. They sometimes think their families are better off without them, They are wrong, of course...what families want is for the person to keep trying until they get better. There is help available. Here is a website where you can get help for thoughts of suicide and other serious problems such as drug abuse, physical or verbal abuse, and depression: www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ .If you have questions about substance abuse or mental health treatment, call 1-800-662-HELP, 24/7. Or you can go to https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov to find information about treatment centers in your area.

-Carol Krause

do drugs shorten your life spam

-2400269, Illinois

Drugs can most certainly shorten your life span. Drugs can have a wide range of adverse effects from contributing to chronic diseases like cancer, liver disease, and HIV to acute problems like strokes and overdoses that can be fatal. There is a lot of information about the health effects of drugs on NIDA's teen site here: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts

-Marsha Lopez

do drugss cause cause permanent damage to your body even after you have quit

-whitney-FVSU4H, Georgia

Hey Whitney,
Unfortunately, in some cases, all of the damage to one's body may not be reversed. However, the body does have a remarkable ability to heal, and people do make remarkable recoveries from addiction.

-Dave Thomas

do more people do drugs cus of fameouse people

-AD, Illinois

That is a great question--I am not sure anyone has asked that before. You could be right. Lots of people in the music industry sing or rap about drugs, because it makes them look "edgy" and "cool" and I guess it helps sell their music. Surely that influences people. In a survey done about 10 years ago 1 in 3 popular songs mentioned drugs and/or alcohol, and 3 in 4 rap songs mentioned drug and alcohol. As you know, a lot of those singers and stars end up in rehab over and over again because their drug problems are very difficult to manage. As a teen, you are responsible for your own health---it is up to you to make decisions that will give you a long healthy life.

-Carol Krause