Casual Marijuana Use Linked To Brain Changes

MASSACHUSETTS: Using marijuana a few times a week is enough to physically alter critical brain structures, according to a new study published Tuesday in The Journal of Neuroscience.

“Just casual use appears to create changes in the brain in areas you don’t want to change,” said Hans Breiter, a psychiatrist and mathematician at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, who led the new study.

There is actually very little research on the potential benefits and downsides of casual marijuana smoking — fewer than four times a week on average.

In his study, done in collaboration with researchers at Harvard University, scientists looked at the brains of 20 relatively light marijuana users and 20 people who did not use it at all. All 40 were college students in the Boston area.

Marijuana With A Side Of Ibuprofen: Buzz-Killing Rx For Alzheimer's?

As a drug, marijuana has certain effects and, depending on why you’re taking it, some side effects. And 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 tetrahydrocannibinol (or THC).

study published Thursday in the journal Cell both demonstrates and explains why common anti-inflammatory drugs, including ibuprofen and the 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 package of effect-and-side-effect appears to be inseparable.