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Marinol vs. Medical Marijuana

Question: What is the difference between Marinol and medical marijuana?

Response & Analysis:

Marinol (Dronabinol) is a Schedule III synthetic form of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) that is FDA-approved whereas medical marijuana remains an unlawful Schedule I substance under federal law with no recognized medical use by the FDA.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Marinol as a prescription medicine to help manage loss of appetite associated with weight loss in patients with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) as well as for nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy. Marinol is typically manufactured as a capsule containing THC in sesame oil and is taken orally.

Alternatively, the term “medical marijuana” refers to using the whole unprocessed marijuana plant or its basic extracts to treat a disease or symptom. The FDA has not recognized or approved the marijuana plant as medicine. Medical marijuana is plant-based marijuana containing THC that is used either in smoked, vaporized (heated to release active ingredients, but no smoke is formed), edible (usually in the form of cookies or candy) or a liquid extract form.

Although medical marijuana has been legalized in some states, it remains a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law, making its use illegal in all circumstances. Since both Marinol and medical marijuana contain THC, they can both cause a drug test to be positive for marijuana. If a donor tests positive for marijuana but provides a valid prescription for Marinol, it will be treated as any other valid prescription to explain the test result, and the result will be reported as a negative.

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This document and/or presentation is provided as a service to our customers. Its contents are designed solely for informational purposes, and should not be inferred or understood as legal advice or binding case law, nor shared with any third parties. Persons in need of legal assistance should seek the advice of competent legal counsel. Although care has been taken in preparation of these materials, we cannot guarantee the accuracy, currency or completeness of the information contained within it. Anyone using this information does so at his or her own risk.

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