November 23, 2013
COX2 Inhibitor Pain Pills Prevent Marijuana Memory Loss

Okay stoners, try to remember this: Ibuprofen and other COX-2 inhibitors will probably improve your memory formation ability if you get stoned a lot.

The main active ingredient in marijuana is Δ 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), and drugs based on this compound have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat nausea and vomiting in chemotherapy patients. But these drugs have not been approved for a wider range of conditions, in part because of Δ9-THC-induced side effects. Moreover, there are no effective FDA-approved treatments for these side effects because, until now, little was known about the molecular pathways underlying these impairments.

In the new study, Chen and his team discovered that Δ9-THC treatment caused an increase in levels of an enzyme called cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) in the mouse hippocampus, a brain region involved in learning and memory. Drugs or genetic techniques that reduced COX-2 levels in mice prevented memory problems and neuronal abnormalities caused by repeated Δ9-THC exposure. Because COX-2 is inhibited by over-the-counter painkillers such as ibuprofen, the findings suggest an easy strategy to prevent the side effects of marijuana.

Be warned: Selective COX-2 inhibitors up your risk of a heart attack. Non-selective OTC COX inhibitors also probably boost your risk of a heart attack. Feed a heart and starve a memory? Or feed a memory and starve a heart?

Of course, if you've got pain from cancer the risk of heart attack seems like a minor concern and you might also already be taking ibuprofen anyway.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2013 November 23 08:04 PM 


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