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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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would it be unsafe to smoke marijuana once or twice?

-thekingofcats, California

Dear LMHS,
Yes, it could be unsafe to smoke marijuana once or twice. Marijuana can be laced with other drugs and chemicals that are harmful. Any exposure to addictive substances is not good for the developing teen brain and can lead to consequences like addiction. 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. More information on the teen brain and exposure to marijuana can be found at:

-Redonna Chandler

would medical marijuana or thc show up on a drug test?

-big chungus, Illinois

Medical marijuana would most likely cause a positive drug test for cannabinoids. Drug tests are measuring the presence of THC and other cannabinoids, and medical marijuana contains them.

-Tisha Wiley

Would smoking meth cause me to be able to focus better in school?

-milk, Illinois

Hi Milk
only if you want to focus on dying.
B smart and stay healthy

-Ruben Baler

Would someone who has never dank alcohol be affected more or less than someone who is an alcoholic?

-All Might, Illinois

Interesting question. One of the things that happens when someone drinks a lot of alcohol is that they develop something called "tolerance". Tolerance means that the alcohol doesn't affect them as much as it did when they first started drinking. Because of tolerance, someone with alcoholism probably would be less affected in general than someone who has never had alcohol.

-Ruben Baler

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

-Kurt Rasmussen

¿How can i quit smoking?


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:
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 to find information about treatment centers in your area.

-Bethany Deeds