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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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 drugs make you act different with others

-Caden@gentryjr, Texas

Absolutely, drugs can make you act different with others. Depending on the drug and the person, drugs can make people become more social, less social / very quiet, or very agressive.. Some may become more pleasant, some become dangerous to others. It is not worth it to try to see the effect it may have on you. Remember that using drugs can put you at risk for addiction and put you at risk for engaging in high risk behavior with other people.

-Cora Lee Wetherington

Can drugs make you age faster?

-adang, Texas

Hello Adang,

This is a very perceptive question. We don't know exactly the answer, but there is certainly some evidence that drugs, especially ampetamines, may have some effects on the body that can cause or mimic rapid aging. There are so many negative effects that drugs can have on your brain and body that rapid aging is one of very many reasons not to try them. There is more information here: https://easyread.drugabuse.gov/

-Roger Little

can drugs make you age faster?

-dbrown, Texas

Hi dbrown--
Just go online and seach for pictures of people's faces who have smoked for many years. The wrinkes are very obvious and especially around the mouth. But, the more important thing that can happen is that smoking can put your health at risk, as you get older, for heart disease and lung disease, both of which can cut years or decades off your life.

-Cora Lee Wetherington

Can drugs make you age faster?

-Landon S., Pennsylvania

Hi Landon - some substance use can alter your body in ways that make you appear older than you are. Long term tobacco smoking is a good example.

-Michele Rankin

can drugs make you become sterile?

-pnj, Other

Great question! Drug use can result in any number of health problems depending on the drug, dose taken, how frequently, and how taken. Some drugs, like anabolic steroids, can affect reproductive organs in both males and females. Check out the NIDA website at drugabuse.gov to learn more about the health consequences of drug use!

Thanks!!!

-Michele Rankin

Can drugs make you feel depressed forever even after you stop using them?

-Jimena@GJS, Texas

It depends in part on your genetics and how long have u been taking them. Most people can recover when stopping drugs but some who have a vulnearibility to depression might have a hard time even when they stop using them.

-Nora Volkow

Can drugs make you more impulsive?

-bluecloud75, New York
Hi bluecloud75! Drug and alcohol use are related to impulsivity. Alcohol and drug use can decrease the function of the frontal cortex of your brain. The frontal cortex allows us to exert control over our actions and emotions. So -- decreased function can result in riskier and more impulsive behaviors.

Here are some resources to explore:

Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction: www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/preface
The Teen Brain: Still Under Construction: www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/the-teen-brain-still-under-construction/index.shtml

Thanks for participating in Chat Day!

-Belinda Sims

Can drugs make you suicidal

-Osorio@gentryjs, Texas

There aren't really any drugs that would make someone who had no intention of committing suicide become suicidal. However, there is certainly a relationship between drugs and suicide. Many drugs affect your decision-making abilities, so someone who might have had suicidal thoughts in the past but didn't act on them when sober might make a worse decision when they are high. For more about suicide prevention, check out https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/suicide-prevention/index.shtml and https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/nimh-answers-questions-abou...

-Susan Borja

can drugs make your blood thin

-sshelander, Texas

Some drugs can. Thin blood is what scientists call "Thrombocytopenia" or low platelet count. Boith cocaine and alcohol can cause this condition.

-Ruben Baler

Can drugs make your blood thin if so how

-tyree mcghee, Georgia

Not to my knowledge

-Susan Weiss

Can drugs temp you to say things you regret?

-hannah@gentryjs, Texas

Hi hannah,
Yes, it's very common -- when people are drunk or high, they easily can say and do things they later wish they hadn't. It's a good way to lose friends!

-Eric Wargo

can drugs turn you into a crimenal

-brian, Texas

Hi brian. Drug use can be related to crime through the effects they have on the behavior of users and through violence and other illegal activity related to drug-tracking. It is important to know that alcohol and drug use and drug related activities are illegal for youth.

-Jacqueline Lloyd

Can hallucinogens really make your skin burn up?

-Juliagelston, Maine

Hi Windham Middle School! Not literally, but figuratively -- yes. It can can produce hallucinations that can recur even months after you stop taking it. A hallucinogen like LSD produces its effects by acting on specific proteins in the central nervous system. These proteins are on brain cells (neurons) that make serotonin. Some LSD users experience severe, terrifying thoughts and feelings of despair, fear of losing control, or fear of insanity and death while using LSD. More here: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/hallucinogens. Thanks for the interesting question Juliagelston.

-Bethany Deeds

Can hand sanitizer get you high?

-jlesure, Illinois

Yes, it has a high content of alcohol which is why it can make you high.

-Nora Volkow

Can heroin get you addicted the first time?

-aharrell, Illinois

hey aharrell, you wouldn't be considered addicted after the first time but heroin is a highly addictive drug and some people say that their first time was so powerful that they were compelled to use it again - the first step towards addiction.

-Maureen Boyle

can heroin help you in sports

-PGM, Other

No, heroin is not known to enhance performance in sports. People on heroin often and typically just pass out.

-Dave Thomas

Can heroin lead to other addictions?

-LaurenB, Pennsylvania

When a heroin addict cannot get heroin, they may turn to other drugs and become addicted to them.

-Nora Volkow

can i get addicted to meth and i´m 12

-BD, Illinois

Yes, meth is a very addictive drug and teenagers are at the highest risk for addiciotn to any drug including meth

-Nora Volkow

Can drugs and alcohol increase your chance of suicidal thoughts and/or depression?

-kphung, Texas

Hi kphung - Yes. People who use drugs, especially those with addiction, are at increased risk for suicide. This is one of the worst parts of drug use.Please see these helpful publications on depression: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/teen-depression/index.shtml and what to do if yoru teen has problem with drugs: https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/treatment/what-to-do-if-your-teen-or-young-adult-has-problem-drugs.

-Wilson Compton

Can drugs be used as medicine

-Andrew sims, Alabama

Absolutely, medicines are drugs. But some medicines can be abused. Here's some more info on that: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/misuse-prescript....

-Dave Thomas

Can drugs be used for good purposes?

-jbofill, Texas

hey jbofill, yes, many drugs are used as medicines. When a drug is effective for treating medical conditions it is approved by the FDA. If it is also addictive these medicines are regulated by the DEA to try to prevent their misuse.

-Maureen Boyle

Can drugs be used for suicide???

-Jmurray, Texas

Hi Jmurray--yes, but if you or someone you know have any thoughts of suicide, the first thing to do is talk to someone you trust--a parent, friend, teacher, counselor, for example--or call the national suicide prevention lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (or chat: http://chat.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/GetHelp/LifelineChat.aspx)! There is always a way to get help so that someone can feel better.

-Charlotte Armstrong