Ibuprofen Can Kill Pot Buzz, Research Reveals

It can be a bummer or a benefit, depending on your perspective.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com/Shoot Out Loud

Ibuprofen is great for squashing a headache. Turns out, the pain medication can also block a marijuana high, which can be either a bummer or a benefit depending on your perspective.

According to a new study performed on mice by researchers at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center and published in the Cell journal, chemicals in the over-the-counter painkiller allow the plant's therapeutic benefits to kick in with no buzz, no memory loss and no loss of motivation. The findings could help provide a way for patients who use marijuana to combat pain but who don't like to get stoned, find relief. And they could expand other legal treatment options for people suffering from chronic disease.

"Our studies have solved the longtime mystery of how marijuana causes neuronal and memory impairments," one of the study's authors said in a statement. "The results suggest that the use of medical marijuana could be broadened if patients concurrently take a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug such as ibuprofen."

The ability to harness pot's medicinal affects while avoiding the high could also potentially lead to more widespread acceptance of the THC-based pharmaceutical Marinol. Marinol is approved by the FDA but its marketing is strictly limited to cancer and HIV/AIDS patients. The drug is criticized in pro-marijuana legalization circles for actually being less effective than the plant itself, while retaining the same side effects.

Marijuana has “a not-so-widely known effect: it calms inflammation in the brain — a hallmark of several neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's dementia, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease,” according to the Los Angeles Times. The Times also notes that the drug's high “can be suppressed by inhibiting the induction of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), a complex neurochemical process usually set off by inflammation”— and ibuprofen does the trick.

Aaron Kase is a freelance writer from Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter at @Aaron_Kase.

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