Note: There is no transcript for CHAT DAY 2018, which was cancelled due to the Government Shutdown initiated on January 20, 2018.

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 here.

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why is weed bad for your system

-tcaesar, Texas

Hey again tcaesar: Marijuana alters brain chemistry in ways that can have both short term and long term effects. In the short term--marijuana can cause someone to do something dangerous when they are high--like driving and getting into an accident, or not studying and having their grades drop, or seeing their athletic performance decline, and getting kicked off a team. But in the longer term marijuana is addictive. Repeated drug use changes the brain (and the body) and could one day lead to addiction and other serious medical consequences. Interestingly, one of our researchers surveyed people that had used marijuana regularly for many years. The marijuana users reported diminished life satisfaction and more physical and mental health problems, which they attributed to the marijuana. They also had poorer academic and job outcomes and lower salaries than a group of adults from comparable backgrounds who did not smoke marijuana. You can get more info about marijuana at or Thanks for the question, and get the facts on drugs so you can make healthy decisions for your body and brain!

-Joni Rutter

Why is weed legal in some states but not all of them?

-pancakes13, North Carolina

Lots of you are asking this question, so here is the answer I sent out earlier. Marijuana has been legalized through a political process, and reflects the votes of the people of those states, but the political process does not consider the potential health consequences. Other legal drugs, like nicotine in cigarettes, and alcohol, also have significant health risks, and these contribute significantly to our national health bill. It seems that people would be far smarter to avoid drugs like these that are known to make people sick. For information about marijuana, check out this page from our teen site:

-Nancy Pilotte

why isn't achchol and cigaretts illegal

-chief keef, Texas

good question--wish they were given all the harm they cause, but much of our drug policy and laws emerged from different events in our history, and thus may not be completely logical. For a summary of the drug laws in this country, check out:

-Susan Weiss

why the teens are more tempted to use drugs?

-CAV, Maryland

If you're asking why teens are more tempted now then they used to be, the statistics show that fewer teens use drugs now than did ten years ago. But if you're asking why is it tempting to use drugs, I believe that some teens really want to feel like they belong and many teens think that 'everybody is doing it.' So if it seems that others do drugs, especially friends, it may be tempting to try. But if you've been following our Chat today, you know it's not worth it. It's important to find activities you enjoy and friends who are doing positive things because that will help to reduce the temptation.

-Aria Crump

Why were alcohol invented?

-skatefreak245, New Jersey

Alcohol wasn't exactly invented - it was discovered. An ancient wine bottle was discovered in an area of China several years ago. It was around 9,000 years old. People have only been writing for about 5,000 years. So people were drinking alcohol way before anyone could even write about it. Until we find a container older than the one found in China, the current best guess is that people have been drinking alcohol for at least 9,000 years

-Shuly Babitz

Why were drugs actually created, didn't the inventors know what it could do to you?

-Airhead167, New Jersey

Good question, Lots of drugs of abuse were not actually invented. Cocaine comes from the coca leaf, cigarettes come from the tobacco plant, marijuana come from the marijuana plant. When people started using these drugs, they may not have known they were harmful, or may not have known as much about the harm as we know now. For example, people have smoked tobacco for centuries, but it was only in the 1950s that epidemiologists established that they cause cancer. Similarly, we are much more aware of cocaine's addictive and negative health effects than people were 100 years ago. Other drugs are created by drug companies in laboratory for medical purposes, but people abuse them (e.g. pain killers). Other 'designer' drugs are created in laboratories for the purpose of selling to people for abuse purposes. In these cases, the motivation no doubt is to make money.

-Dave Thomas

why when people get depressed do they do drygs?

-hbrown, Texas

To try and feel better. That may work in the short-term, but is a terrible long-term coping strategy, as you can probably guess.

-Jen Katt

why when taking an RX drug, it makes you unable to realize what your doing at the time?

-kyrat, Alabama

Thanks for the great question. There are different classes of prescription drugs. For example, the benzodiazepine class (containing drugs like Xanax) have a specific property which has the ability to cause amnesia, so that you don't remember things. Also, prescription opioid drugs (painkillers) are very powerful, more powerful by weight than morphine, and this causes the amnesia and loss of reasoning ability. This is just another way that shows how powerful and potentially dangerous prescription drugs are. To find out more about prescription drugs, visit the teen website:

-Richard Denisco

Wit if your frand is doing drugs wat shoud you say?

-meldridge, New Hampshire

This is unfortunately a common question today -- one that a lot of teens are dealing with or curious about. On the other hand, it's great that you're concerned about trying to help your friend. Be a good friend, someone who can be trusted to provide good information, or at least listen when people need to talk. So educate yourself first about drugs and alcohol and the problems they can cause. Start at our great website for teens at -- it includes some helpful information. Next, encourage your friend to talk to an adult that they can trust -- maybe a teacher or coach or a parent of another friend. If they don't feel comfortable doing that but they are ready to seek help, then you can check out available treatment resources in your community (some are available just for adolescents) at If they're in crisis, then they (or you) can call 1-800-273-TALK to talk to a professional who can help. Most of all, though, be the friend you'd like to have -- you can do a lot of good that way!

-Michelle Leff

Would "spices" be normal cooking ingredients like Oregano?

-623mp, Louisiana

Hi 623mp, No, 'spice' (in this context) refers to synthetic marijuana products. They look like incense or potpourri and consist of herb leaves sprayed with synthetic chemicals that cause marijuana-like effects, but often stronger. Stay away from them -- lots of teens are ending up in emergency rooms from spice. Stick with oregano--it makes things delicious, and it's safe :) Eric

-Eric Wargo

would i regret it if i tryed weed?

-hummer123, North Carolina

You might--different people react differently to it. For one, marijuana today is much stronger than it used to be making it more unpredictable in how it will affect you. Some people become very anxious and paranoid on the drug, which can be very disturbing. Second, marijuana affects your ability to think straight--so you might do something that you wouldn't ordinarily do, which can be embarrassing or even risky (e.g. driving while high or getting into a car with someone else who is high or drunk). Finally, you might really like it and keep using despite its having negative effects on your school performance, athletic skills, relationships, etc. So all in all--its a risk that i hope you will choose not to take.

-Susan Weiss

would it be possible to stop using drugs if you have used it for like 15 years?

-betterthanyou, Maryland

Good morning! It's ALWAYS possible to quit. Personally, I have a family member that used drugs and alcohol for many, many years, and sought treatment 5 years ago and has been clean since then (thankfullyl!)! But...back to your question, yes, it's definitely possible, but if someone has been using that long, chances are that they are addicted, so it may be hard for them to quit on their own or go 'cold turkey'. That's because drugs change the brain in a way that makes a person crave and want to seek drugs...once they stop using, even for a short time, they can have withdrawal symptoms that can be mild or quite severe and this may make people use again (or relapse). If someone you know is trying to quit using drugs, they should talk to their doctor. They can help them by providing help with how to quit drugs, including giving advice, and in some cases, medication to help with the withdrawal symptoms (for example, Chantix for smoking). Most importantly, their doctor can also help them find treatment facilities near them. In treatment, people can learn how to recognize triggers that may make them want to use, manage stress in their lives and teach them how to quit for good! For more information about treatment facilities click on -, or call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) for advice and more!

-David Shurtleff


-eddiemathis, Texas

Acid, or LSD is a hallucinogen, that causes people to see and experience things that aren't really there. Although it appears no one has ever died from an LSD overdose, LSD may prevent people from making good decisions, thus making the user more susceptible to accidents and personal injury. For example, it may cause temporary confusion. Like being drunk on alcohol, the danger might really come from what a person is DOING while high.

-Dave White

You guys are really great for doing this thanks a lot

-Bulls23, Pennsylvania

thanks...and you guys are awesome for participating!

-Jack Stein