Ibuprofen may limit unwanted buzz of marijuana

  • Updated: November 23, 2013 - 4:54 PM
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BUZZ KILL: Mixing medical marijuana and ibuprofen may calm brain inflammation without impairing memory, a study in Cell showed.

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Ibuprofen limits marijuana unwanted buzz

As a drug, marijuana has certain effects. But not everyone wants the whole package. New research finds that for patients who consider weed’s buzz an unwanted side effect, the answer might be as simple as taking an ibuprofen with their tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.

A study in the journal Cell demonstrates why common anti-inflammatory drugs, including ibuprofen and prescription analgesics indomethacin and celecoxib (marketed as Celebrex), appear to kill marijuana’s buzz and suppress its negative effects on cognition. In so doing, the research may clear the way for marijuana to play a growing role in treating Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative conditions.

If you want to get high, weed’s ability to mellow you out is the desired effect. But with regular use, marijuana stunts the growth of the tendrils that lash brain cells together and impairs memory and cognitive processing speed. That combination appears to be inseparable. But marijuana also calms inflammation in the brain — a hallmark of several neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s dementia, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s. The problem is that for patients who might benefit from marijuana’s inflammation-dampening effect, both the high and its downstream impact on brain cells and memory are unhelpful.

That package of effect-and-side-effect can be separated, and the unwanted side effect can be suppressed by inhibiting the induction of cyclooxygenase-2, or COX-2, a complex neurochemical process usually set off by inflammation.

Add a COX-2 inhibitor to the mix — or even a nonselective COX inhibitor such as ibuprofen — and the anti-inflammatory effects of THC remain. The “buzz,” the lethargy and negative cognitive effects of long-term use, however, are extinguished.

rickets makes ‘appalling’ comeback in Britain

Rickets, the childhood disease that once caused an epidemic of bowed legs and curved spines during the Victorian era, is making a shocking comeback in 21st-century Britain.

Rickets results from a severe deficiency of vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium. Rickets was historically considered to be a disease of poverty among children who toiled in factories during the Industrial Revolution.

Britain’s chief medical officer, Dr. Sally Davies, described the return of rickets as “appalling.” She proposed the country give free vitamins to children younger than 5.

Most people get vitamin D from the sun, oily fish, eggs or dairy products. Rickets largely disappeared from Britain in the 1950s, when the country embarked on mass programs to give children cod liver oil. But in the past 15 years, the number of reported cases of rickets in hospitalized children has increased fourfold — from 183 cases in 1995 to 762 cases in 2011. Experts said the actual number is probably higher. “Children come in with bendy legs, swollen wrists and sometimes swollen ribs. … It’s completely preventable,” said Dr. Mitch Blair of the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health.

Blair cited a number of reasons for the jump in rickets, including children spending more time playing indoors, the stringent use of sunscreen, and religious beliefs that mean skin is covered. Unlike in other countries like Canada, the U.S. and Australia, Britain does not fortify foods like milk or flour with vitamin D.

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  • FILE - In this June 3, 1943 file photo, physical therapist Estrid Dane carefully supports two-year-old Anthony Bull, seen here walking up a corrugated ladder during exercises which are designed to strengthen his legs in East London. Rickets, the childhood disease that once caused an epidemic of bowed legs and curved spines during the Victorian era, is making a shocking comeback in 21st-century Britain. Derived from the Old English word ìwrickkenî meaning to twist, rickets is the result of a severe deficiency of vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium. Rickets was historically considered to be a disease of...

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