Marinol is the synthetic form of THC prescription medication (a single constituent in herbal cannabis). Marinol is the brand name. The International Nonproprietary Name of Marinol is Dronabinol, and also known as Syndros, is a trade name for a specific form of tetrahydrocannabinol. Marinol is sold as an appetite stimulant, antiemetic, and sleep apnea reliever. Marinol is available in the U.S. in generic form, in 2.5-, 5-, and 10-miligram dosages.
Marinol is chemically identical to the THC produced in cannabis, but is synthesized in a laboratory rather than being extracted from the plant. The synthetic THC found in Marinol is dissolved in sesame oil within a gel capsule. Since Marinol only contains THC, at higher doses it can cause adverse effects such as rapid heart beat, memory problems, anxiety, and panick attacks.
Marinol takes the “single drug/single target” approach to drug design which is developed for the Food and drug Administration (FDA) drug approval process. Combination multi-drug therapies are a thing of the past. Combination multi-drug therapies ended in the 1980’s and moved to the single drug approach.
The single drug/single target approach doesn’t require figuring out the complex mixtures and interactions of whole plant medicines such as cannabis. Multiple active ingredients exist within the cannabis plant, which interact with numerous targets within the body.
However, more research has called for studies of multi-target drugs involving cancer and metabolic disease therapies due to the network of processes that determine these diseases.
Terpenes found in herbal cannabis are able to reduce some of THC’s side effects. CBD is a perfect example of one of these terpenes that reduces some of the side effects of THC. Some medicinal cannabis contains significant amounts of THC and CBD. Another great thing CBD does is to help minimize the buildup of THC tolerance.
Studies working with both cannabis and Marinol show that herbal cannabis produces fewer side effects in user’s than with Marinol. When herbal cannabis is vaporized, the dose can be easier to achieve than when using orally administered Marinol which is more difficult to self-adjust the dose due to its extended and delay in onset.