Last updated on: 5/30/2008 | Author:

What Is Marinol?

General Reference (not clearly pro or con)

Unimed Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Solvay Pharmaceuticals and Marinol’s manufacturer, stated on its website (accessed Apr. 13, 2006):

“MARINOL® is a unique prescription medicine that relieves multiple symptoms. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved MARINOL® to treat nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy in patients who have failed to respond adequately to conventional treatments.

The FDA also approved MARINOL® to treat appetite loss associated with weight loss in people with AIDS. Health care professionals may prescribe MARINOL® to help stimulate an HIV/AIDS patient’s appetite so he or she will want to eat again.

MARINOL® is a synthetic version of a naturally occurring compound known as delta-9-THC. Delta-9-THC stimulates appetite and reduces nausea and vomiting by binding to special receptors found in the nervous system.

MARINOL® is contraindicated in any patient who has a history of hypersensitivity to any cannabinoid or sesame oil.

Patients should be warned not to drive, operate machinery, or engage in hazardous activity until they establish they can tolerate MARINOL® and perform such tasks safely.

A cannabinoid dose-related ‘high’ (easy laughing, elation and heightened awareness) has been reported by patients receiving MARINOL® in both the antiemetic (24%) and the lower dose appetite stimulant clinical trials (8%). Other frequently reported adverse events in MARINOL® clinical trials included abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, euphoria, paranoid reaction, somnolence, and thinking abnormal.”

Apr. 13, 2006 - Unimed Pharmaceuticals

The Institute of Medicine published in its Mar. 1999 report titled “Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base”:

“Marinol (dronabinol) is the only cannabinoid with approval for marketing in the United States….

Marinol is manufactured as a capsule containing THC in sesame oil; it is taken orally. It was approved by the FDA in 1985 for the treatment of nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy. In 1992, the FDA approved marketing of dronabinol for the treatment of anorexia associated with weight loss in patients with AIDS. The preclinical and clinical research on THC that culminated in the FDA’s 1985 approval was supported primarily from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), whose research support goes back to the 1970s….

Marinol is synthesized in the laboratory rather than extracted from the plant. Its manufacture is complex and expensive because of the numerous steps needed for purification. The poor solubility of Marinol in aqueous solutions and its high first-pass metabolism in the liver account for its poor bioavailability; only 10-20% of an oral dose reaches the systemic circulation.

The onset of action is slow; peak plasma concentrations are not attained until two to four hours after dosing. In contrast, inhaled marijuana is rapidly absorbed…

Marinol’s most common adverse events are associated with the central nervous system (CNS); anxiety, confusion, depersonalization, dizziness, euphoria, dysphoria, somnolence, and thinking abnormality.”

1999 - Institute of Medicine "Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base"

The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) stated in its online article “‘Medical’ Marijuana – The Facts”, on its website (accessed Apr. 13, 2006):

A pharmaceutical product, Marinol, is widely available through prescription. It comes in the form of a pill and is also being studied by researchers for suitability via other delivery methods, such as an inhaler or patch. The active ingredient of Marinol is synthetic THC, which has been found to relieve the nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy for cancer patients and to assist with loss of appetite with AIDS patients.”

Apr. 13, 2006 - US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)