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.

Download Full Year

Can you die from a panic attack caused by marijuana?

-wowbro, Texas

There is no evidence that a panic attack from marijuana can kill u

-Nora Volkow

can you die from a tobacco overdose?

-16764 summit, New Jersey

Hi 16764 summit, thanks for this question! You can't actually overdose from tobacco (although too much of it could make you pretty sick), but there are many dangers to your health from smoking tobacco. The long-term effects of smoking makes it one of the most dangerous drugs. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States, and cigarette smoking is responsible for nearly 90 percent of those deaths. Because that happens over many years of smoking, people often don't think about it when they are young. It is important to think about these effects of tobacco your health, since after all, most people who start smoking when they are young wished they had never started.

-Kevin Walton

Can you die from depression

-Big crill, New York

Big crill - hi there - and thanks for sending me your question. Generally - major depression robs people of energy and interest in life. With treatment, they are very likely to get better - and successfully enjoy life. The big concern is that without treatment, there is the possibility that they consider suicide as an option. If you know someone who is depressed and considering suicide, please have them call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273.TALK (8255) to get some support.

-Denny Pintello

Can I snort cocaine while pregnant?

-Taleen, Ohio

Hi Taleen - anything you ingest will also be experienced by your growing baby. If you feel that you need help with cocaine use - please reach out to a trusted parent, family member, or friend to get help. Hopefully you feel comfortable talking to your family doctor, because they can help! SAMHSA also has a treatment locator to help you find treatment options in your area Please take care of yourself both for your own sake and for your baby's.

-Michele Rankin

can kids buy otc drugs

-Tyler@Tremain, Texas

hey Tyler@Tremain, yes, legally they can.

-Maureen Boyle

can legal drugs like Prozac, help with drug addiction?

-janemiz, Rhode Island

There are some legal drugs that help with drug addiction. Prozac and other antidepressants are useful if someone has an addiction and also suffers from depression. There are other drugs that are specifically useful for drug addiction.

-Josh Gordon

Can LSD be lethal?

-IRamos, Texas


-Jag Khalsa

Can marijuana affect people faster depending on their age?

-amomin, Texas

Hello amomin,

Sort of. Marijuana and other drugs are more dangerous for people under 25 because their brains are still developing, and there is evidence that marijuana and other drugs can alter brain development. Also, if children or toddlers get exposed to drugs, they can become intoxicated or overdose more easily than adults because of their small body size and other differences. When people get older, they also may respond differently to drugs because of age-related changes.

-Roger Little

Can marijuana be laced with other drugs?

-pineapple, New York

Yes, absolutely.

-Eric Wargo

can marijuana effect your learning skills?

-wallace1234, New York

Hi Wallace1234,
Great question. Yes, marijuana impairs your memory and thinking skills, making it harder to learn. If you use it heavily while you are in school, you will not do as well as you might otherwise. Also, if you use marijuana heavily in your teens, you could permanently lose IQ points -- sounds like a "scare tactic" but a big study in New Zealand a few years ago showed that people who had used marijuana heavily as teenagers lost 8 IQ points!

-Eric Wargo

can marijuana help you with medical problems

-kyle, Texas

Hey kyle, Marijuana for medical use has been in the news a lot lately. The marijuana plant has not been approved by the FDA for the treatment of any medical condition. There is early research suggesting that some of the active ingredients in marijuana, like THC and cannabidiol (CBD), may potentially help treat things like epilepsy, cancer, obesity, or addiction. Scientists are studying these ingredients to try to develop new medications. A pill form of THC (an active ingredient in marijuana) is already available for certain conditions, such as nausea associated with cancer chemotherapy and weight loss in patients with AIDS. However, smoked marijuana is unlikely to be an ideal medication because of its negative health effects, including the risk of addiction and the damage that smoking can do to the lungs.

-Maureen Boyle

Can marijuana help you with PTSD. please answer ( I need the extra credit)

-Zach Lipson, New York

That is a great question. The short answer is no. But there are some studies going on to see if some of the chemicals in marijuana might make a difference.

-Josh Gordon

Can marijuana make you less smart?

-mvarghese, Texas

Yes, particualrly if you smoke regulalrly during adolescence

-Nora Volkow

Can marijuana permanently affect your learning skills?

-aluo, Texas

Hi aluo,
Great question. There's some reason to believe that if you use marijuana heavily in your teens, it can permanently affect your ability to think and learn. This is why we at NIDA are so concerned about teen marijuana use. Your brain is precious, so don't do anything to compromise it!

-Eric Wargo

Can Marijuana that isn't mixed with any chemicals or laced with anything still kill you, if over used. Such as Medical Marijuana?

-Dr.Swag26, Illinois

Hi Dr.Swag26, while overdosing on marijuana doesn't cause death many people end up in the emergency department after taking too much marijuana or high potency forms of marijuana. Overdoses can cause severe anxiety, paranoia, and even psychosis.

-Maureen Boyle

Can marijuana use help for people who are addicted to much stronger drugs, such as heroin or cocaine?

-trlsb, Illinois

So far, there is no evidence to support this.

-Susan Weiss

Can medical marijuana help someone with severe anxiety and/or depression?

-Clueless , New York

People sometimes say they are using marijuana for that purpose, but so far, there's very little research to support this claim, and marijuana may make things worse in the long run. It can increase the risk of suicidal thinking and attempts, and may also worsen at least some forms of anxiety and depression--especially with chronic use. We need more research to help us better understand what marijuana or its ingredients may be useful for--but so far, the main health problems that have some evidence behind them are nausea, spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis, and some pain conditions.

-Susan Weiss

Can medication meant for depression stop depression? Is it possible to get rid of depression?

-tammiabante, Illinois

Depression medications can certainly do a great job in treating the symptoms of the disorder, but they don't necessarily stop it entirely. However, depressive symptoms can go away or become more manageable, and often medication and/or talk therapy can help this process.

-Susan Borja

can medicine have the same effects as drugs?

-cmorales, Texas

I think you're asking about what you've heard out there about the similarities, or differences, of what people call "drugs" compared to "medicines." There is some overlap, especially in the opioids areas. We have a very large opioid overdose problem in our country. Opioid analgesics (pain medicines) are often life-saving medications that, if not used appropriately, can cause great harm, up to and including death by overdose. see

-Dave Thomas

Can meditation help with addiction?

-St Francis 2017, Minnesota

Hi St Francis. Brain scientists have gotten really interested in the effects of meditation on the brain. A recent study of “beginner” meditators by a Harvard researcher found that 8 weeks of training in techniques like mindfulness meditation and yoga increased gray matter in brain regions involved in memory, learning, emotion, breathing, and motor control. Many scientists have been looking at the potential role for meditation in helping to treat addiction and many have reported finding meditation and mindfulness incredibly valuable at helping with drug addiction. One study among smokers found that a short course of training in mindfulness meditation led to significant spontaneous reductions in measures of smoking in a group of young adults. More research is needed, but it's definitely promising! Read more at: and

-Jeff Schulden

can mental abuse effect your physical form

-ajstarr02, Texas

Good question! I would have to say yes. But how? There are several ways. First, abuse causes stress; stress causes the release of various hormones, like cortisol, and cortisol can have all sorts of effects on your body, like causing you to gain weight, changing the structure of your brain, changing the way your organs and muscles work. Second, abuse can increase the chances you will develop a mental illness like depression or PTSD. These can have effects on cortisol also, and they can also cause symptoms like changes in sleep or appetite that can affect your body.

-Josh Gordon

Can mixing different drugs kill you?

-vha, Texas

Yes mixing drugs is particualrly dangerous because you unbalance the physiology of your body even more than doing them by themselves. For example, heroin and alcohol both exacerbate respiratory depresssion and their combination can be lethal.

-Nora Volkow

Can mixing drugs kill you?

-ijiwani, Texas

yes and there are some mixtures that are particualrly dangerous

aclohol and cocaine
alcohol and opiates (heroin vicodin)
heroin and benzodiazepines

-Nora Volkow

can molly kill you

-elizabeth123, Massachusetts

Hi Elizabeth123 - actually it can. Molly is a common name for MDMA which can cause problems with the body’s ability to control temperature, particularly when it is used in active, hot settings (like dance parties or concerts). On rare occasions, this can lead to a sharp rise in body temperature (known as hyperthermia), which can cause liver, kidney, or heart failure or even death.

-Michele Rankin

can my dog get second-hand high

-Gage L., Pennsylvania

it certainly can.

-Ruben Baler

can one become addicted to advil

-kristinaz, New York

kristinaz - nope

-Maureen Boyle

Can one get addicted to cough syrup?

-mpalmer, New Hampshire

Hi mpalmer - it is possible. When abused, promethazine-codeine cough syrup presents a high risk of fatal overdose due to its effect of depressing the central nervous system, which can slow or stop the heart and lungs. Mixing with alcohol greatly increases this risk. Promethazine-codeine cough syrup has been linked to the overdose deaths of a few prominent musicians. You can learn more here:

-Michele Rankin

can one tab of acid kill you

-dorayme, Alabama

Yes. If that tab of acid is actually LSD, the greatest risk of death would be due to injury or accident. Tabs of acid may also contain other synthetic hallucinogens, such as NBOMe, which have been associated with overdose death. For more information about hallucinogens, check out

-Emily Einstein

Can one-time moderate use of cocaine lead to permanent brain damage, loss of memory or any other effects?

-eadams, Maine

Hi Eadams,
It is possible to suffer negative effects from one-time use of cocaine. Cocaine increases body temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate. Users risk heart attacks, respiratory failure, strokes, seizures, abdominal pain, and nausea. In rare cases, sudden death can occur on the first use of cocaine or unexpectedly afterwards. Check out information on our website about cocaine:

-Anto Bonci

Can over consumption of alcohol cause hallucinations? Can we also die due to overdrinking of alcohol?

-Yooooooooooo, Maryland

Yes, during severe withdrawal from alcohol people can experience hallucinations. Alcohol certainly can kill if someone drinks too much. Alcohol shuts down vital brain centers that control breathing and other functions, directly causing death.

-George Koob