What Is Marinol?

By: Kannabia Seed Company Culture

Marinol (dronabinol) is a synthetic form of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. In states where marijuana is legal, patients can now choose whether Marinol or marijuana is the best solution to treat their medical problems. While there is no clear consensus on which is “better” or “worse,” there are a number of advantages and disadvantages to both substances that can help inform your decision.

Although the US federal government considers cannabis a Schedule I substance, a classification of illicit substances that are considered highly addictive and without medicinal utility, it is clear that it is a plant with a multitude of viable therapeutic applications. Otherwise, it would be pointless for scientists to be working to understand its uses and create drugs that can replicate marijuana’s beneficial effects. And Marinol is one of those drugs.

Marinol is a prescription medication in pill form that contains the active ingredient dronabinol, a synthetic form of THC. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration approved Marinol with dronabinol for medical use in 1985 to replace the drug Cesamet, which contains nabilone, a synthetic cannabinoid with a chemical structure similar but not identical to that of THC.

While Marinol was initially labeled a Schedule II drug, it was reclassified as Schedule III (controlled and subject to abuse) several years after being approved by the FDA. Thus, it is legal in all 50 states, unlike cannabis, a controlled substance that is illegal under federal law.

What is Marinol used for?

Marinol is prescribed to cancer patients to help alleviate the side effects of treatment, such as loss of appetite, nausea, and chronic pain. It is also sometimes prescribed to combat the side effects of HIV, especially for weight loss. Marinol’s use in clinical trials, however, includes the treatment of medical conditions such as:

  • Fibromyalgia pain
  • Eye pressure related to glaucoma
  • Menstrual migraines
  • Nausea and post-operative vomiting
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis
  • Chronic neuropathic pain
  • Epilepsy

Because Marinol contains the psychoactive ingredient THC, albeit synthetically, it can also have side effects, including drowsiness, rapid heart rate (tachycardia), and dry mouth, even at the prescribed dose. Others may experience dizziness, confusion, “highs,” an exaggerated sense of well-being, nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain as the body adjusts to the medication.

This is something that can also happen with marijuana, especially if it features a high concentration of THC. Marinol, however, has other major disadvantages that distance it from cannabis, even though pharmaceutical companies market it as a “safe alternative” to medical marijuana.

What is the difference between Marinol and cannabis?

Some differences between marijuana and Marinol are fairly simple:

  • THC is found naturally in cannabis, while Marinol is a synthetic compound created by humans in laboratories.
  • Marijuana can be consumed in various forms (smoking, eating, applied topically or sublingually) while Marinol is only available in pill form, or in an oral solution called Syndros.

There are a few other key differences that are important to note, and not so obvious:

  1. Cannabis, especially if inhaled, reaches the brain faster and produces short-term effects with a very fast onset time (it has a faster absorption rate). In contrast, Marinol, when ingested, will usually stay in the blood longer than marijuana, and may take up to an hour before its effects are felt.
  2.  Marinol and generic dronabinol contain higher concentrations of THC. Therefore, their adverse side effects are considered more intense and common than those of cannabis use.
  3.  Marinol only has one cannabinoid: THC. Cannabis, in its purest form, is composed of hundreds of chemical compounds, cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, which act synergistically to enhance their properties, making their effects greater than those of the same isolated component; this is what is known as the “entourage effect” and one of the bases of its incredible therapeutic properties.
  4.  Marinol can be much more expensive than marijuana, especially if your health insurance doesn’t cover it.

Apart from this, there are other advantages of marijuana over Marinol, such as:

  1.  Smoked marijuana “doses” are easier to measure and manage than oral medications like Marinol. Users can gauge the magnitude of effects felt in real time. As a result of this, they are less likely to overconsume.
  2. There are a wide variety of cannabis genetics to choose from, some of which have fewer psychoactive effects and may be more effective at stimulating appetite, fighting fatigue, or curbing depression or anxiety.
  3. Marijuana is easy and inexpensive to grow, especially if you use stable genetics of proven quality like the ones we have in our Kannabia seed catalogue.
What Is Marinol?
When choosing between cannabis and Marinol, the decision is clear

How long does Marinol stay in your system?

Unlike when smoking cannabis, Marinol is processed through the digestive tract, so it takes much longer to be absorbed into the bloodstream and reach the brain. Once this occurs, however, its effects last longer.

The oral ingestion of cannabis produces a significant first-pass effect, as cannabinoid compounds circulate to the liver, where they are metabolized or broken down into compounds called metabolites.

The main metabolite that THC produces is called 11-OH-THC, both of which are psychoactive substances, but 11-OH-THC is estimated to be about four times more potent than THC. The effect also lasts much longer, and can be more sedative for many people.

How long Marinol stays in a person’s system depends on several factors, including individual metabolism, dose, frequency of use, and kidney and liver function. Generally speaking, dronabinol has an elimination half-life of approximately 25 to 36 hours, but this can vary.

Dronabinol’s metabolites may remain detectable in the body for a longer period. In cases of occasional use, metabolites are usually detectable in urine for several days after ingestion. For frequent or chronic users, metabolites may remain detectable for weeks. In addition, the length of time dronabinol remains in the system does not necessarily correlate with the duration of its therapeutic or psychoactive effects.

How to get prescribed Marinol?

While some doctors prescribe Marinol for pain and other symptoms of cancer treatment, it is not a simple substitute for marijuana. People living in states where medical marijuana is legal and where they are eligible for Marinol prescriptions should see a medical expert and ask them: “Is Marinol effective for pain?” or “Is medical marijuana a better option?”

Thus, the choice between Marinol and marijuana largely depends on the laws of the state where you live. In fact, in some states Marinol may be the only option.

So, if you want to explore the use of medical marijuana, start by checking your state’s laws. Then you should talk to your healthcare provider about the benefits and consequences of each medication, whether synthetic or natural, as they apply to your condition and overall health. Then, choose accordingly, always with the most accurate information in front of you.

Kannabia Seeds Company sells to its customers a product collection, a souvenir. We cannot and we shall not give growing advice since our product is not intended for this purpose.

Kannabia accept no responsibility for any illegal use made by third parties of information published. The cultivation of cannabis for personal consumption is an activity subject to legal restrictions that vary from state to state. We recommend consultation of the legislation in force in your country of residence to avoid participation in any illegal activity.

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