Marinol or synthetic THC?
This drug was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1985. At that time, its only approved use was to treat nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy. Over the years, it has continued to be approved as a treatment for people with weight loss as a result of anorexia or advanced HIV. But how is marinol different from natural cannabinoids? and why does anyone need artificial THC pills when a plant is already making this wonderful molecule?
The active ingredient in marinol and the dronabinol , a synthetic form of THC. This means that the cannabis plant is not involved in the manufacturing. Therefore, most pharmaceutical companies can manufacture, distribute or sell it freely. While the THC found in cannabis is still considered banned at the same level as heroin, in some states dronabinol is included in the schedule which includes the drugs codeine and ketamine.
To understand why synthetic cannabis is inferior to its natural counterpart, let's start by looking at the drug at the center of the dispute: the marinol.
Instead of extracting the cannabinoids from the plant, chemists instead create THC from scratch, which they say is more stable than natural cannabinoids. Cannabinoid production Synthetics show no signs of slowing down either.
The drawbacks associated with Marinol essentially boil down to two factors.
The first concerns the price. Although medical cannabis patients are currently not able to use insurance to pay for their cannabis, they do not save much by using products from the pharmacy. Without insurance, a month's worth of Marinol can cost over $ 600. Compare that to the cost of the flower and it becomes increasingly difficult to understand the appeal of this more expensive and less effective alternative to cannabis.
The other important factor is what consumers lose in terms of complementary cannabinoids. In a study Frontiers of Neurology published in 2018 , researchers gave patients with epilepsy full spectrum (whole plant) CBD extracts or purified (or isolated) CBD extracts. Although two-thirds of the patients studied reported an overall reduction in seizures, 71% of patients taking whole plant extracts reported improvements. Compared to the 36% using isolated CBD extracts, the researchers concluded that "extracts rich in CBD appear to have a better therapeutic profile than purified CBD."
It is now believed that the medicinal properties of cannabis are most effective when cannabinoids are consumed collectively. That's what we call "entourage effect "Or" the overall effect ". Essentially, the thousands of compounds (including cannabinoids, the terpenoids, the flavonoids etc.) of cannabis work better together than when consumed in isolation.
Since Marinol is based on a synthetic form of THC, this means that the drug does not contain any other cannabinoids. We thus call the form of THC which appears in Marinol an “isolated” cannabinoid because it does not exist in concert with the other compounds which it would have naturally around it. As we continue to learn more about the validity of the entourage effect, it is likely that Marinol will become obsolete.
Are synthetic cannabinoids more effective than natural cannabinoids?
It depends who you ask. If you are in government, have a prohibitionist mindset, or are in the pharmaceutical industry, you might think so. But, if you have ever witnessed the miraculous benefits of natural cannabis grown on earth, you know that nothing compares to the healing power of the plant in its natural state.
What about synthetic CBD?
A 2018 announcement from Zynerba Pharmaceuticals officially put synthetic CBD on the radar. Zygel, a medicine that is based on a chemically identical CBD substitute called H2CBD (or 8,9-dihydrocannabidiol).
In 2014, the FDA approved the drug Epidiolex , which became the first cannabinoid drug to receive an "accelerated" designation. Doctors are currently authorized to prescribe the drug to patients over two years of age to treat seizures associated with two rare forms of epilepsy: Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. Epidiolex, however, is not a synthetic product. Instead, it's derived from actual cannabis plants.
Instead, there are several valid reasons to question the effectiveness of drugs like Marinol, which relies on a synthetic form of THC. This is especially true when compared to the more favorable results that come with using the real cannabis plant. Regardless of this disparity, the federal cannabis ban has forced many doctors to rely instead on prescribing synthetic, legal (and less effective) alternatives.
Cannabis is a natural plant that grows both in the wild and is cultivated for its medicinal properties and for recreational purposes. Although synthetic cannabinoids are chemical parents of substances found in cannabis, they are not actually found in plant-derived cannabis. The chemical and pharmacological properties of synthetic cannabinoids are largely unknown outside of the laboratory.
A market for synthetic cannabinoids developed in the early 2000s due to the current ban and technological advancements that made access to drug research and chemical production easier. The products are packaged and marked to suggest a similarity to the effects of cannabis, but because the materials used are mixtures of inert plants doused with synthetic cannabinoids, they look, taste and smell different.
With a little common sense, it is obvious that the development of synthetic forms of the plant is not necessarily the victory that one might suppose ...