Unimed Pharmaceuticals, Marinol's manufacturer and distributor, notes on its website (4/9/02):
“MARINOL® is a medicine containing the active ingredient dronabinol. Dronabinol is synthetic delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or delta-9-THC (as it is commonly known). Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol is also a naturally occurring component of Cannabis sativa L. (marijuana). MARINOL®, a standardized product marketed by Unimed Pharmaceuticals, Inc., is dronabinol solution in sesame oil in soft gelatin capsules. Unlike MARINOL®, however, marijuana (the plant material) does not provide standardized THC content and often contains impurities (including leaves, mold spores, and bacteria).
Pharmaceutical-quality MARINOL® provides standardized THC concentrations and has not been shown to provide the rapid-onset high that marijuana often does when it is smoked. Orally ingested drugs generally have slower onset of action due to the time required by digestion and absorption.”
“Based on extensive research, the United States Food and Drug Administration has approved MARINOL® for two purposes:
1. The treatment of anorexia (loss of appetite) associated with weight loss in patients with AIDS
2. The treatment of nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy in patients who have failed to respond adequately to conventional antiemetic treatments"
Marinol was originally classified as Schedule II by the DEA when it was first released in 1985, but was re-classified to Schedule III in 1999.