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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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do mushrooms have any long term effects on a person

-Thomas , Illinois

Hey Thomas! Good question! Mushrooms contain hallucinogens. Little is known about the long-term effects of hallucinogens. Short term effects include bad trips, increased heart rate and nausea. Long terms effects that have been reported include spontaneous flash backs and paranoia. More research is need on the long-term consequences of using hallucinogens.

-Roger Sorensen

Do nicotine patches or gum work to help someone quit vaping?

-mary, Illinois

Nicotine replacement therapies like nicotine patches and gum can help a person reduce the amount of nicotine they are consuming while vaping or smoking traditional cigarettes. Even though they don't produce tobacco smoke like regular cigarettes, e-cigarettes are not harmless. When you vape, you're inhaling several poisonous chemicals and it's a great idea to try and quit using a treatment method suggested by your health care provider, including nicotine patches or gum. For more information about vaping, see the NIDA Teen site:

-Michelle Jobes

do parents realize their child is doing drug often

-JP, Montana

Hi Again JP, According to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health about 9.5% of 12-17 year olds said they used drugs and around 13% of said they drank alcohol in the month before the survey. Your second question is harder to answer. We don't really know if parents are aware of their children's substance use, but it's important to try and provide parents with all the resources they need to help keep their kids safe--which is really what all parents want to do (despite what it seems like sometimes!). If you or someone you know is having a drug abuse problem call 1-800-662-HELP, 24/7 or go to to find information about treatment centers in your area. You can also talk to your school counselor or a teacher, who can help you get help...

-Jinhee Lee

do people dip marijuana blunts in heroin

-teletubbies123, Illinois

While not the most common way to take either marijuana or heroin, it's possible.

-Emily Einstein

do people get energy drinks as a drug just like steroids is it ?

-Demerius-FVSU4H, Georgia

People may take energy drinks for different reasons but is quite possible that some people take them because they can be addictive. Many energy drinks have caffeine, which provides a short-term boost of energy, but can be addictive.

-Carlos Blanco

Do people like vaping more than smoking pot in the world.

-JH, New Hampshire

The most recent data show that there are similar rates of vaping and marijuana use in high school seniors.

-Emily Einstein

Do shrooms help cure depression?

-LTHS2019, Illinois

Shrooms (psychedelic mushrooms) do not cure depression. However, some of the chemicals in shrooms are under study for possible effects in mental health conditions. So stay tuned -- someday we may have new treatments based on this research, but for now, don't look to shrooms for help. See a doctor or talk to a trusted adult.

-Joshua Gordon

do some teens vape to be considered "cool"?

-g, Illinois

Hi g from LTHS! People vape and use drugs for lots of different reasons. One is wanting to be 'cool' for fitting in (peer pressure). Other reasons may include boredom, rebellion, curiosity, and the list goes onnnnnnnn...... Check out this link for more reasons: FYI: People can know drugs are bad for them, but they may still choose to take the risk, while others may not be aware of all the risks. Then, once they're hooked, it can be very difficult to stop. Check out one of NIDA's Drug and Health Blog posts about peer pressure here: Thanks for the terrific question.

-Jinhee Lee

do tactile drugs exist


Hi Maite,
Several recreational drugs such as cocaine, amphetamines, narcotics and (more famously) magic mushrooms have been reported to cause tactile hallucinations (the false perception of tactile sensory input that creates a hallucinatory sensation of physical contact with an imaginary object). These types of hallucinations can also be caused by neurologic disorders like Schizophrenia, Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimer's disease.
Thanks for the great question. Respect your brain and stay healthy.

-Ruben Baler

DO teens smoke more in high school or in college

-Angela-FVSU4H, Georgia

Hi Angela! About 9 out of 10 cigarette smokers first tried smoking by age 18, and 98% first tried smoking by age 26 so both high school and college as prime times where smoking starts. More Information about smoking and prevention can be found at

-Steve Grant

Does Marijuana make you depressed

-LB, Illinois

Hi LB,
Addiction in general can lead to depression, and yes, this includes marijuana.

To learn more about marijuana's effects, see: Marijuana: Facts for Teens booklet:

-Dave Thomas

Does medical marijuana actually helpful or are doctors just handing it out.

-Bshields, Montana

Thats a good question. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved marijuana for any medical uses; the FDA has approved several components of marijuana for medical use, however, just not the whole plant. The distribution of "medical" marijuana in the states that have approved it is being done on very little scientific evidence. We'll see whether -- and if so, how -- good clinical research shows the many purported benefits of marijuana to be true.

-Aaron White

Does medical marijuana still have the same effects of non-medical marijuana

-Brevin Tating, California

Depends--people mean a lot of different things when they talk about "medical marijuana". If they are talking about products that contain high levels of THC (the ingredient that gets you high), then there's no real difference. But some people are talking about products that are high in cannabidiol (CBD) and have no or almost no THC in them. These are the products that are being used to treat seizures, e.g., in children. CBD is a very different chemical and doesn't seem to have many of the same risks as THC--its not addictive, doesn't mess with your memory, etc. The problem with CBD products that are widely available is that they are not Federally regulated and you risk getting something that is not what you think it is or that has not be manufactured safely. The exception is a recently approved medication (Epidiolex), for treating seizure disorders in children.

-Susan Weiss

does mixing diferent kinds of drugs affect my body in a different way than if i use them separately

-dj nini,

Hi dj nini! Yes, that can definitely happen. Different kinds of drugs affect different parts of the body - some may affect one organ or another and some affect many all at once. Sometimes mixing drugs can intensify their effects on one organ system or make you not aware of the effects on others. For example, alcohol is a depressant that can cause you to feel sleepy. When alcohol is mixed with caffeine, the caffeine can mask the depressant effects of alcohol, making you feel more alert and awake than you would if you were only drinking alcohol. As a result, you may drink more alcohol and become more impaired than you realize, increasing your risk of a lot of negative consequences.

-Michelle Jobes

Does nicotine affect athletic play for better or worse? I have teammates that are all juuling before games and telling all of us who don't, that we should do it, because it helps their game and would help ours- they think they are faster and more accurate.. I thought they played worse than normal in our last tournament and we got a lot of "conduct calls" from them mouthing off on the field.

-madchrist7, California

This is a great question, madchrist7! When nicotine enters the body, it initially causes the adrenal glands to release a hormone called adrenaline. The rush of adrenaline stimulates the body and causes an increase in blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing, which may be why your teammates think they are performing better. However, long-term brain changes brought on by continued nicotine exposure from tobacco products, such as Juul, result in addiction. A person can develop tolerance to nicotine, which means that he/she no longer responds to the drug in the way that person initially responded and needs more nicotine to get the same effect. When a person tries to quit, he or she may have withdrawal symptoms, including:irritability, problems paying attention, trouble sleeping, increased appetite, and powerful cravings for tobacco. To learn more about tobacco, nicotine and e-cigs, see

-Shwe Gyaw

Does people under 18 years old shouldn't drink because of health issues or because of responsibility and immatureness


The teenage years are a time to learn how to have fun and cope with life in healthy ways. It is also a time of intense brain development. It's best to avoid alcohol until the legal age of 21 to allow the brain to reach its full potential. The chances of developing problems with alcohol are much lower when people wait until the legal age to drink. NIAAA's Underage Drinking fact sheet has more info:

-Emily Einstein

does redbull and cocaine fix your problems

-MG, Montana

Hi mg
hardly. for starters, redbull is legal and if you drink it responsible it's unlikely to fix your problems (although I don't know what your probelms are) or create serious ones. ON the other hand, cocaine is illegal and it can definitely get you into a whole lot of trouble.

-Shwe Gyaw

does second-hand smoking have the same effects as smoking?

-kelly, Arizona

Hi kelly,

There are real risks linked to exposure to secondhand smoke. Every year tens of thousands of Americans die from exposure to secondhand smoke. And those exposed risk some of the other diseases that smokers can suffer from.

The good news is that we are seeing the lowest record rates of smoking in teens and adults. The bad news is that each year almost 500,000 Americans die prematurely from tobacco use...and almost all of that is from firsthand and secondhand exposure to cigarette smoke.

-Mitch Zeller

does smoking affects concentration?


Smoking what? Marijuana certainly affects concentration and makes it difficult to learn new things and remember them. Tobacco--less so, but it has other health risks as I'm sure you are very aware.

-Aaron White

Does smoking marijuana cause cancer?

-Wiley Wildcat, Illinois

Hey Wiley- It's actually still not known whether smoking marijuana leads to lung cancer. However, there does appear to be a link between marijuana use in adolescence and increased risk for an aggressive form of testicular cancer. 

-Emily Einstein

does smoking marijuana have any positive effect on you?

-her508310, Illinois

Hello Her508310,

Marijuana, like tobacco, is a plant that contains many hundreds of chemicals, including potentially pesticides (which kill insects). One of these chemicals, cannabidiol, may be effective for preventing seizures in some children, but researchers are still studying this. Most of the chemicals in marijuana are harmful both physically (they have negative effects on a person's brain) and because they can affect a person's judgment and their ability to drive safely, for example. For more information, check this out:


-Roger Little

does taking drugs make you suicidal?

-YG, Illinois

Illicit drugs raise the risk of suicide. More than half of people who die by suicide have alcohol or drugs in their blood at the time of death! If you are already depressed or having suicidal thoughts, get help and don't use drugs or alcohol. If you have suicidal thoughts while taking a drug, stop taking the drug, and get help right away from a friend or trusted adult. People having suicidal thoughts can also get help by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) anytime, 24/7 (you'll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area).

-Joshua Gordon

Does the alcohol is dopping?


Hi dadio,
I am not sure what you are asking about...
If you mean "is alcohol use dropping?" the answer is Yes. Recent surveys do show that alcohol drinking, particularly in teenagers and young adults is decreasing.
On the other hand, if you mean "is alcohol used in doping?", i suppose the answer could be yes. Alcohol can slow down our reflexes and performance and if used before sports or other activities, it can casue impairment.
Hope this helps!!
- Vijay

-Vijay Ramchandani

Does the current scientific literature reflect the assertion that habitual marijuana use is correlated with a reduced IQ?

-Pajamadunes, California

Wow--excellent question. Yes and no. The original study that showed this indicated that many years of chronic use (and cannabis dependence) was associated with a reduced IQ (and numerous other factors were ruled out as causal). Some more recent studies have failed to replicate the finding and suggest instead that some other environmental factor is associated with reduced IQ and cannabis is not critical for the decline. Its always difficult to know conclusively what the answer is because you can't do the definitive experiment which would require you to randomize people to heavy use or not, holding all other factors equal. But the recent non-replications covered much shorter time frames, so it still may be the case that long term (30 years) persistent cannnabis use, begun in adolescence, does cause a reduced IQ. We hope to answer that question more definitively with an ongoing study: ABCD

-Dave Thomas

Does the usage of marijuana cause cancer??

-Ye'07, Illinois

Still not sure--it has been associated with a fairy rare form of testicular cancer, and the jury is still out on lung and other airway cancers.

-Susan Weiss

does the way you take the drug effect how bad it is

-peyton, Maryland

Hello Peyton,

Drugs are dangerous because if you start taking them and develop an addiction, then you feel like you have to keep using them, even if they're damaging your health. For instance, some people who develop an addiction to opioid pain medicine would never have dreamed they'd ever inject heroin, but that's what happens for some people, and they can't help themselves. So taking a drug one way is no guarantee it won't escalate to something more dangerous like injection -- which can result in the spread of diseases like HIV, hepatitis, and other infections. For more information, see this:


-Roger Little

does using marijuana while bodybuilding actually help?

-Hat, Illinois

hi hat
of course not.

-Heather Kimmel

does vaping affect your brain ?

-jamyia, Illinois

Hi there Jamyia! Thanks for your question. We don't know all the effects of vaping because these devices haven't been around for long. However, we do know that most vaping devices contain nicotine. Like other drugs, nicotine increases levels of a neurotransmitter called dopamine. One thing we worry about with vaping is that they may lead to nicotine addiction and this might cause some people to start using regular cigarettes, which can cause cancer. Check out this blog post for more information:

-Mary Kautz

Does vaping cause Erectile Disfunction?

-E, Illinois

Hi E -,
What an interesting question. Unfortunately there is not evidence currently if vaping causes erectile dysfunction. However, smoking cigarettes can damage DNA in men's sperm. There are currently no e-liquids approved to treat erectile dysfunction. For more information about e-liquids and vaping visit

-Suzanne Lim

Does vaping get you a better chance to start smoking or doing any other drugs?

-Patrick Star, Illinois

Hi PS - There are scientific studies showing that teens who vape are more open to trying cigarettes. We are still studying whether vapers are more likely to become smokers, but even the increased openness to smoking is concerning. Smoking by teens has been falling every year for the past decade, and that is an important trend that needs to continue. Check out the infographic about vaping from the 2018 teen drug use survey of 8th, 10th and 12th graders:

-Kevin Walton