Marinol vs. Marijuana - What You Need to Know
Marinol is a government and FDA approved prescription medication whose active ingredient is dronabinol, a synthetic form of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), one of the naturally occurring psychoactive constituents in cannabis. Marinol was first approved in capsule form in May of 1985 by the FDA to treat nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy for cancer patients. Approval was then extended to those diagnosed with AIDS to help with anorexia and weight loss.
Marinol is a prescribed medicine taken orally that comes as a gelatin capsule in 2.5, 5, or 10 mg dosages. Marinol is currently classified by the FDA as a Schedule III controlled substance, meaning it is considered to have less potential for drug abuse or dependency than Schedule I or II drugs.
Despite Marinol being a legal and FDA approved cannabinoid-based drug, it has several major drawbacks. Besides being expensive, making it unaffordable for some of those that need it most, many patients find that it provides only limited relief while causing unwanted side effects in comparison to marijuana itself. The advantages of marijuana versus Marinol are many:
Marijuana (cannabis) has many additional cannabinoids with clinically demonstrated therapeutic properties that go far beyond Marinol, which only has one active ingredient, THC. Marijuana, in contrast to Marinol, also has the following:
- Cannabidol (CBD), acts as an anticonvulsant, antispasmodic, antipsychotic, anxiolytic, anti-tumoral, and anti-inflammatory
- Cannabinol, acts as an anticonvulsant and anti-inflammatory
- Cannabichromine, acts as an anti-inflammatory and anti-depressant
- Cannabigerol, acts as an anti-tumoral and analgesic
- Terpenoids & flavonoids, oils and phenols that act as anti-inflammatories and anti-oxidants
Note: Clinical trials have demonstrated that the synergistic interaction of the combination of compounds listed above found in cannabis make it a far superior therapeutic option than the administration of Marinol alone.
- Marijuana is fast acting and dosage can be more easily controlled by the user. Unlike Marinol, which is ingested and can take up to an hour to have any effect and when it does kick in, can be too strong and long-lasting, marijuana dosages can be more easily controlled no matter what method of ingestion: inhalation, consumption, tincture, vaporizations, creams and oils.
- Marijuana has less negative psychoactive side effects than Marinol. Clinical theory is that Marinol has stronger and more negative psychoactive effects because of the method of consumption and also because it lacks the other cannabinoids that marijuana has, which modify or diminish THC’s psychoactivity.
For those experiencing nausea, vomiting, seizures or muscle spasms, cannabis vaporization, tinctures or inhalation offer a superior method of delivery since the drug does not have to be swallowed and effect can be immediate.
Note: Clinical trials are underway to develop new formulation of Marinol that would be delivered with a pressurized metered dose inhaler (pulmonary Marinol). This method has shown immediate and rapid systemic absorption, however FDA approval remains years away. In the meantime, Sativex, an oral cannabis spray consisting of natural cannabinoid extracts already approved for use in Canada, New Zealand and 8 other European countries, hopes to gain FDA approval for use by US patients by 2013.
The evidence among scientists, doctors and patients overwhelming proves that natural cannabis is highly effective and superior in treating symptoms of many diseases where traditional drugs offer little to no symptomatic relief. Proponents for the use of raw marijuana as medical treatment lobby for federal and state governments to amend laws so that those patients unresponsive to Marinol are able to have legal access to a treatment that offers relief without fearing arrest or prosecution.
Marinol is Manufactured by:
Banner Pharmacaps, Inc.
High Point, NC 27265
North Chicago, IL 60064, U.S.A.
500012 1E Rev Mar 2010
© 2010 Abbott Laboratories