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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Why is weed considered a dangerous drug if you can not die from it

-Anelson22, Oregon

Hi Anfelson22 -- There are many dangerous drugs that have a low or minimal risk for overdose. As for marijuana, it's often said that no one has OD'ed on it, but that isn't completely true. Many people have ended up in the hospital with side effects after using marijuana with high THC levels. Marijuana does not cause respiratory depression, which is what kills people using heroin, but it does cause increases in heart rate and blood pressure, and there are some reports of deaths in marijuana users from these effects, although it is hard to know if marijuana was a direct cause. Also a person can OD on marijuana and not die, but have serious psychological effects such as paranoia. You can learn more about marijuana here: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/marijuana

-Jinhee Lee

why not ban juuls

-k, Illinois

Hi k.

FDA can't ban tobacco products.

But we can regulate them.

And when it comes to JUUL we have concerns because of how incredibly popular the product is with teens.

We're trying to educate at-risk teens about the dangers of vaping. Check out our website: https://therealcost.betobaccofree.hhs.gov/gm/hacked-ends.html

And we're working hard to enforce the law that makes it illegal to sell JUUL, or any vape product, to teens.

-Mitch Zeller

why not ban tobacco

-health, Illinois

Hi Health, this is a VERY good question! While the government has not banned the use of tobacco products, they are being heavily regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). That means that certain types of usage in the future may be banned, but it also means that use will be more tightly controlled (for example, kids can't buy cigarettes). Keep the questions coming!!!

-Marsha Lopez

Why should you not use drugs or alcohol as a teenager?

-DW, Washington

Hi! Thanks for participating in Chat Day! Research shows that brain development continues into a person's twenties. Alcohol and drugs can affect this development and contribute to a range of problems later in life. Also, there is a lot we still don't know about who becomes addicted and why, and after how much drug exposure. We do know that each person is different, so it's a little like playing “Russian Roulette” if you choose to use drugs. But, if you do, the earlier you stop, the more likely you will be to avoid addiction and the harmful brain changes that lead to it. Also, check out how drugs and alcohol impact the teenage brain: Publication: The Teen Brain: 6 Things to Know https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/the-teen-brain-6-things-to-know/index.shtml
-Kristen

-Susan Weiss

Would you please explain what popcorn lung really is?

-lths123, Illinois

XHi lths123, this is a great question. Popcorn lung is a disease that makes a person's lungs work poorly, making it difficult to breath. It is caused by inhaling a chemical, which can be found in some e-cigs. Unfortunately, the contents found in e-cigs are not regulated, so it is impossible for a vaper to know what exactly is in the aerosol, or vapor, that is inhaled. Also, most e-cigs contain nicotine, which is very addictive. 

-Kevin Walton

Wouldn't it be beneficial to grow cannabis for the use of hemp which can be used for fiber, for environmental and economic uses?

-lightskin721, Illinois

Hi -- Yes, absolutely. And a recent law passed by Congress will allow a huge expansion in growing hemp for industrial purposes. A big issue has been how to assure that the hemp that's grown does not contain large amounts of THC (the chemical in marijuana that produces the high) or other chemicals that cause intoxication.

-Ruben Baler

wut is an Rx Drug? and what can it do to effect you?

-EP, New Hampshire

A prescription drug is a chemical that has been researched and tested for both safety and effectiveness (for treating the condition it was designed to treat) by the Federal Food and Drug Administration. The research determines what the correct dose is and how long a person can safely use the drug to receive a health benefit. The research also determines what the possible side effects are when using it. This way, a doctor can weigh the benefits and risks before prescribing the drug for each person. Not using prescription medications as they are intended can be just as harmful as using illicit substances.

-Michele Rankin

You guys are answering questions 8some of them), but have you ever consumed drugs? Are you answering from your own experiences? If you are, why did you consume them?

-Grègorz Ormanes,

Hi Gregorz
How curious! Makes sense to ask this sort of question. So, here at NIDA, our responses are typically based on the research/science and not anecdotal personal experiences. The primary reason being that well conducted research involves high quality experiments with a large number of individuals so that the results can be applied to a general population and importantly that the results are valid and reliable.
Hope this helps you and thanks for asking!

-Geetha Subramaniam

You know red wine, what is in it that helps your heart?

-Kylie-FVSU4h, Georgia

There's a hypothesis that a compound called reversatrol may be protective.

-George Koob

You know that gum that helps you stop smoking, well what is it made out of?

-Kylie-FVSU4h, Georgia

Only a very specific type of gum can help you stop smoking. Gum that contains nicotine (e.g., nicorette), when used as directed, can deliver small doses of nicotine (2mg/piece of gum) to you so that you don't feel the same urge to smoke. Learn more at http://teen.smokefree.gov/.

-Kurt Rasmussen

¿How can i quit smoking?

-AADPDT3,

Hi AADPDT3 - Thanks for your question! Drugs are chemicals and when someone places them in their body, either by smoking, injecting, inhaling, or eating them, they tap into the brain's communication system and tamper with the way nerve cells normally send, receive, and process information. Different drugs—because of their chemical structures—work differently and this is what makes them hard to quit.. Here is a link with additional information: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/brain-and-addiction
BTW, Getting off drugs and quitting varies, depending on the person and the drug. If you want to ask about getting substance abuse treatment, call 1-800-662-HELP, 24/7. Or you can go to http://www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov/ to find information about treatment centers in your area.

-Bethany Deeds