1. Marinol has medicinal effects because of the active ingredient in marijuana.
Marinol is in a class of medications called cannabinoids. Marinol Capsules contain man-made dronabinol (THC). THC is also a naturally occuring component of Cannabis sativa L. (marijuana). THC is the primary psychoactive compound (i.e. cannabinoid) in marijuana.
The commercial Marinol website only says it is used for loss of appetite associated with weight loss in patients with AIDS. This is not surprising, considering that a classic symptom of smoking marijuana is increased appetite (AKA “the munchies”). The research report from Abbott Laboratories says “Marinol Capsules can be used for the treatment of anorexia associated with weight loss in patients with AIDS and nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy in patients who have failed to respond adequately to conventional antiemetic treatments.” This suggests more expansive use for Marinol than just cancer patients. Several studies have been done to test it’s effects on patients with Multiple Sclerosis, Tourette’s Syndrome, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The Marinol website warns of several “adverse effects” a person may experience including feeling high, dizziness, confusion, or sleepiness. However, sleepiness can also be a good side effect – especially for nauseas patients who have trouble settling their minds and stomachs long enough to fall asleep, or to actually stay asleep for a decent amount of time. This is why people like it for anxeity and PTSD as well
** Some legal/production information about Marinol:
Marinol is the brand name available in the market, manufactured at Abbott Laboratories in Illinois. It is licensed (not patented) by AbbVie, Inc. – a pharmaceutical giant with products for sale in more than 170 countries. The corporation’s 2011 revenue was approximately $17.4 billion.
AbbVie got approval for Marinol back in May of 1985. AbbVie’s Marinol is the “Reference Listed Drug” for its particular formula, meaning that any generic versions are compared against it as the standard. There are two other companies approved to sell generic versions of the pill in the United States: INSYS Therapeutics, Inc. and SVC Pharma LP.
2. Medical marijuana changes people’s lives.
The Huffington Post published this editorial by Dan Duffy, a filmmaker and co-founder of the Half Fund, which finances cancer awarenesss campaigns with mass media potential. In the piece, he writes about the empathy he felt for a mother who gave her young daughter medical marijuana because it seemed to be the only thing that made her feel better during cancer treatment – something he’s been through himself.
He admits to being skeptical and a bit naïve about taking Marinol at first. “My wife explained to me that they (Marinol pills) take the edge off, without giving you the high that comes from regular marijuana… But holy crapjack did it work! It actually brought my nausea back to Round 1 levels, which in relative terms, was a remarkable achievement. It was just enough to get me through my last week of purgatory, and I’m forever grateful for it.”
After remembering the agony of his own personal experience with battling the nausea associated with cancer, Duffy had these closing words of encouragement for the mother being condemned on national television: “And if Marinol or marijuana oil is the only thing on God’s green earth that keeps you from wanting to physically crawl up and die, then you by all means take it. For the mom of this little girl, I applaud you for doing what you can to make your daughter’s life tolerable. I hope we would all have the courage to do the same.”
3. Marinol has more potential for harm than natural marijuana.
A comprehensive analysis comparing deaths from marijuana versus 17 other FDA-approved drugs revealed the incredibly pertinent fact that marijuana has never been a legimate primary cause of death. The statistics come directly from the FDA, made public by a Freedom of Information Act request from ProCon.org. According to the reports they turned over, the 17 FDA approved drugs caused a total of 10,008 deaths between 1997 and 2005. Marijuana was the primary suspect of death in zero cases, but a secondary suspect in 279. However, this only speaks to the danger of combining marijuana with other drugs – not any danger posed by the plant alone.
Now consider this statement on the official Marinol website: “Do not smoke marijuana while using Marinol. This can cause an overdose.” This seems to suggest that whatever scientists did to Marinol that makes it different than natural THC is turning a harmless plant into a potentially dangerous medicine. This is why it is important to be extremely wary of the pharmaceutical industry’s interest in keeping marijuana illegal.
4. There is such a thing as marijuana tolerance.
The research report by Abbott Laboratories explicitly reveals that “volunteers developed tolerance to the cardiovascular and subjective adverse CNS effects of dronabinol within 12 days of treatment initiation.” This suggests a growing tolerance to the disorienting effects of THC/marijuana.
“Dronabinol also demonstrates reversible effects on appetite, mood, cognition, memory, and perception. These phenomena appear to be dose-related, increasing in frequency with higher dosages, and subject to great interpatient variability.” Essentially, they are saying that the more Marinol a person ingests the more intense the effects are – but this also depends on the individual – i.e. tolerance to THC likely exists in some of the volunteers for this study (who may very well be marijuana users).
“Tachyphylaxis and tolerance do not, however, appear to develop to the appetite stimulant effect of MARINOL Capsules.” Basically, tolerance did develop for some effects of Marinol, but patients always felt hungry after ingesting it.
5. The FDA approved statements claiming that a person may be able to drive under the influence of Marinol.
This is important to note in relation to #4, the idea of tolerance in individuals. It’s no secret that many marijuana smokers think they can drive under the influence, but are they just overconfident in their abilities?
The Marinol website has these two (FDA-approved) statements regarding driving under the influence of Marinol:
- You should not drive, operate machinery, or engage in any hazardous activity until you know how this medication affects you and until you are sure you can perform such tasks safely.
- Do not drive or attempt other activities requiring full alertness while taking MARINOL Capsules. Your doctor will advise when you may resume these activities.
So is it safe to drive high? The FDA says maybe.