Two Marinol pills. (US Drug Enforcement Administration)

A synthetic form of THC used to help treat nausea and vomiting that are a result of chemotherapy treatment, as well as a loss of appetite and weight loss in patients with HIV. The active ingredient in Marinol is dronabinol. 

“The doctor prescribed Marinol to counter the effects of chemo.”

“Marinol was synthesized to mimic the effects of THC.” 

What’s the difference between Marinol and cannabis?

Marinol is a synthetic compound created as a way for patients to obtain the medical benefits of cannabis without having to break the law. Marinol is approved by the FDA while cannabis remains a Schedule 1 narcotic. 

Marinol was designed to mimic one compound in the cannabis plant: THC. However, cannabis has hundreds of compounds that work together synergistically to produce effects greater than the sum of its individual compounds—this is known as the entourage effect. 

THC, especially in high doses, can produce feelings of anxiety and other negative effects associated with cannabis consumption. Full-spectrum cannabis, which has all compounds of the cannabis plant and not just THC alone, remain the standard for having a quality experience. The entourage effect also prolongs the experience of cannabis, whereas THC isolates and Marinol offer more intense and short-lived experiences. 

How do I get Marinol?

Marinol can be prescribed from a doctor and picked up at a pharmacy. There are also generic options that contain the same active ingredient, dronabinol. 

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