Marinol (dronabinol)
Why and Why Not

Marinol is a synthetic THC manufactured by Banner Pharmacaps, Inc.. THC is the active ingredient in marijuana. Dronabinol is the generic name. It is the end result of a search for synthetic marijuana.

It is approved by the FDA for the treatment of nausea and vomiting associated with cancer treatment drugs. It is also approved as an appetite stimulant for people with HIV.






Marinol has not FDA approved as a pain medication.

Dronabinol Should Not be Used if: 

You have an allergy to marijuana or sesame seed oil.

 You are pregnant, nursing, or planning on becoming pregnant.

You should not use dronabinol while driving, operating machinery, or engaging in any hazardous activities that require a alertness.

While using dronabinol you should not drink alcohol, smoke marijuana, or use medications that affect the central nervous system.

Be sure to discuss with your doctor if: 

 You have a history of seizures

 You have heart problems or difficulty controlling your blood pressure

 You have ever abused drugs or alcohol

 You have any mental health disorders such as depression or schizophrenia

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Side effects include dizziness, confusion, and a "high" feeling. These most often occur when people first start the drug and resolve after a day or two.

More information on side effects and risks associated with Marinol can be found at

Synthetic THC vs Organic THC

Your body's reaction to dronabinol is very different than your body's reaction to marijuana, even though they both contain THC. Dronabinol contains only THC while marijuana contains over 80 different cannabinoids including THC.

Studies have shown that these many different cannabinoids interact with each other modifying the effects of all that are involved.

One of the most well studied cannabinoids is Cannabidiol. This is naturally occurring cannabinoid is found in marijuana and it has an impressive list of therapeutic qualities including anti-inflammatory and anti-convulsant activity.

Another cannabinoid that is found in marijuana is cannabichromine which has demonstrated anti-inflammatory and anti-depressant effects useful for controlling pain.

Cannabigerol it is a another cannabinoid that has shown clinical effectiveness as an analgesic. 

Marijuana also contains oils called terpenoids with anti-inflammatory properties and flavonoids with the anti-oxidant activity.


Your body also produces cannabinoids, called endocannabinoids, that have their effects by attaching to cannabinoid receptors found in many different areas of your body. Exactly how all of these different cannabinoids interact and affect different areas is not well understood.

Effectiveness Greater than the Sum of Their Parts

Many studies have demonstrated some of the interactions between the different substances that are found in marijuana, but there are many more complicated interactions that are not well understood.

It does seem clear that all of these components working together have more beneficial effects than any one element used alone.

Marinol for Pain

A study published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology showed that oral dronabinol was just as effective for relieving pain as smoking marijuana and the effects of the Dronabinol lasted longer. 

It seems that as medical marijuana becomes more accepted and available there may be less demand for a pill form of marijuana.  

Unfortunately, people who have a problem using marijuana cannot use Marinol either.

It is recommended that people not use dronabinol if they have an allergy or any other type of reaction to marijuana.

At this point dronabinol has not been approved by the FDA for the treatment pain. However, further studies are being done and evidence is accumulating so it may soon be under consideration.



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