In a sense, Marinol is the original medical marijuana . . . sort of. Marinol is the trademarked name (dronabinol is the “generic” name) for a synthetic version of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabiol, one of the (psychoactive) chemical compounds in cannabis. Approved in 1985, it’s the only synthetic cannabinoid to be approved by the federal government (though its natural counterpart is considered as dangerous as heroin—file that under “Makes Absolutely No Sense). It typically takes the form of a gelatin capsule and can be prescribed to patients suffering from the symptoms of AIDS/HIV as well as side effects of chemotherapy, such as nausea and appetite loss. It remains available here (and is perfectly legal) in the U.S. as well as other countries, such as Germany. So, the million-dollar question is: Why aren’t patients using Marinol instead of smoking/vaporizing flowers or consuming edibles, etc.? Here are a few reasons:
Marinol is synthetic THC, hence it doesn’t contain any of the other dozens of cannabinoids found naturally occurring in the cannabis plant. These other cannabinoids (CBD, CBN, et. al.) are just as important—if not more so—than THC.
Some patients, according to NORML, say Marinol’s psychoactive effects are far more powerful or overwhelming than ingesting marijuana.
Marinol is very expensive. Some patients report paying hundreds of dollars or up to $1,000 a month for a Marinol prescription.