Ask the Docs: About Marijuana

Have you ever wanted to sit down and ask a doctor anything you want to know about drugs? The National Institute on Drug Abuse gave students from across the country that chance with their annual “Chat Day” – a live online chat between teens and NIH scientists. Find out what other teens had to ask doctors about marijuana.


Question: Anime_M, Cyrus Pierce Middle School, Massachusetts asked:

Since marijuana has been legal in Massachusetts, more teenagers and kids have been smoking it. What can I do help my friends not to smoke it?teen boys sharing marijuana

Answer: Dr. Aria Crump says:

One thing you could do is learn what you can about marijuana and be an example for your friends. "Natural" doesn't mean it's safe. There are drugs that are highly addictive and have major health effects that come from plants…Also, marijuana is harmful for the developing brain - and the brain is still developing until you are in your 20s.


Question: jada fvsu 4h, Fort Valley State University 4-H Healthy Living, Georgia asked:

Why isn't smoked marijuana a safe medicine?

Answer: Dr. Susan Weiss says:

Lots of reasons — it hasn't been tested for most conditions for which it is being used. Also, we don't prescribe medicines without knowing what the proper dosage is, what is in it … and certainly we would not want a medicine that is smoked. That said, we think there is lots of potential for developing medications based on some of marijuana's components; and scientists are actively working on this.


Question: Pineapple, Fontbonne Hall Academy, New York asked:

Which is worse? Smoking pot or drinking? I would like to know.marijuana and alcohol

Answer: Dr. Susan Weiss says:

Different risks for each. But both can be dangerous. Both affect driving ability--alcohol is worse, but the combination is worse than either one alone. Both affect your ability to make good decisions--putting you at risk of doing things you will regret. Marijuana affects learning and memory and its effects can last beyond [when you are high], especially in regular users, and marijuana is usually smoked which is bad for the lungs.


Question: Jwoods, Fontbonne Hall Academy, New York asked:

Can you get high from someone else smoking pot in the room?

Answer: Dr. Susan Weiss says:

Yes--although the levels of THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) that have been detected in people exposed to secondhand marijuana smoke are very low--so you'd really have to work at it, and you would also be exposing yourself to all the toxic chemicals in the smoke itself.


Question:, Ardsley High School, New York asked:

Can you overdose on marijuana?

Answer: Dr. Maureen Boyle says:

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.


Question: Tyrese FVSU 4_H, Fort Valley State University 4-H Healthly Living, Georgia asked:

Is marijuana addictive?

Answer: Dr. Susan Weiss says:

Yes--especially when you start young (about 1/6 teens who use marijuana will become addicted).


Question: Arjan, Solon High School, Ohio asked:

How do edibles make you high?? I'm so confused. Don't you have to smoke it???marijuana edible

Answer: Dr. Eric Wargo says:

No, edible marijuana products can get you just as high as smoking marijuana. In fact, because it takes longer to feel the effects when a person eats it, they might take more than they want to -- because the effects don't start immediately, they might think they didn't eat enough. Lots of marijuana overdoses occur like this.


Question: T.Mathis, Kingswood Regional Middle School, New Hampshire asked:

What would happen if u started using weed at young age and continued for a long time?

Answer: Dr. Steve Gust says:

Long-term use of marijuana, especially when you start at a young age, can be very damaging. Here's a link to more information:


Question: Ladida, Panther boys and girls club, Texas asked:

Hi. Does marijuana help me study?

Answer: Dr. Susan Weiss says:

No--it interferes with your ability to learn and remember new information.


Question: Ewitt, Garcia Middle School, Texas asked:

Is marijuana illegal in every state in the United States?

Answer: Dr. Emily Einstein says:

Many states have legalized marijuana for medical use, or for adult consumption.


Question: some person, Blanco Middle School, Texas asked:

What is the difference between synthetic marijuana and regular marijuana?

Answer: Dr. Eric Wargo says:

Great question. So-called "synthetic marijuana" (also called "K2/spice" or "fake weed" or "herbal incense") refers to a bunch of different manmade chemicals [similar to marijuana’s THC]. But they can often affect a person very differently than marijuana, including by being much stronger.


Question: *trumpnation*, Blanco Middle School, Texas asked:

marijuana concentrate

What is dab, the drug? I have been told it's a type of pipe. If this dab drug is real, what does it do?

Answer: Dr. Eric Wargo says:

Hi trumpnation,"Dab" or "dabbing" refers to smoking a powerful extract of marijuana sometimes called hash oil. It's not a type of pipe.


Question: Foreveralone331, Fontbonne Hall Academy, New York asked:

If you only smoke weed on the weekends does it affect you?

Answer: Dr. Susan Weiss says:

It depends on how much you smoke--some of the effects can last for a few days after you use it, especially if you are a regular user. 


Check out the full "Chat Day" transcript on NIDA's website.