Article by Nanette Porter, Medical Jane
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is aware that cannabis and cannabis-derived products are being used for a number of medical conditions, such as AIDS wasting syndrome, epilepsy, neuropathic pain, treatment of spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis, and cancer and chemotherapy-induced nausea.
Despite this fact, the FDA has not yet approved a marketing application for a drug product containing or derived from the whole cannabis plant. It has, however, approved three cannabinoid-based medicines derived from isolated synthetics: Marinol, Syndros, and Cesamet.
Marinol and Syndros include the active ingredient dronabinol, a synthetic delta-9- tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Cesamet includes the active ingredient nabilone, which is synthetically derived and has a chemical structure similar to THC. While these synthetic drugs are afforded cultural and medical legitimacy, as well as tax breaks and open market privileges, cannabis users and manufacturers of cannabis-based products still risk incarceration and social marginalization.
We have been fooled time and time again. Medicines touting the claim of “FDA Approved” or “FDA Registered” can lull us into into a false sense of security and safety. FDA certification of a product is never a guarantee of safety or effectiveness of anything.
Many people are curious what products the FDA supports and why. Below you will find the three different [synthetic] cannabinoid-based products that are currently FDA approved:
Marinol is the brand name for an oral form of dronabinol (dro-NAB-in-all). It is indicated for 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.
Marinol capsules contain 2.5, 5, or 10 mg of dronabinol. Marinol does not contain any actual plant cannabinoids. Created to mimic natural delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), dronabinol is a synthetically-derived cannabinoid designated chemically as (6aR-trans)-6a,7,8,10a-tetrahydro-6,6,9-trimethyl-3-pentyl-6H-dibenzo[b,d]pyran-1-ol.