Although medical marijuana legalization appears to be spreading across the United States like a wildfire, there are still many states that prohibit its use. For patients in these states who desire medical marijuana therapy, there exist pharmaceutical drugs made of synthetic cannabinoids that are legally available across the nation. These drugs are especially helpful for patients undergoing chemotherapy, and while synthetic cannabinoids may not be as effective as natural ones, the National Cancer Institute says clincal trials have shown they, "...worked as well as or better than some of the weaker FDA-approved drugs to relieve nausea and vomiting."
FDA-approved pharmaceutical drugs made of synthetic THC include Marinol (also called Dronabinol), which treats chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in cancer patients as well as appetite loss in HIV/AIDS patients, and Cesamet (also called Nabilone) which is only approved for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. While these drugs offer patients legal access to similar therapeutic benefits as provided by THC, they isolate the effects of this cannabinoid, thereby eliminating the benefits of other cannabinoids and terpenes in cannabis and preventing the entourage effect. Many patients say synthetic THC does not work as well as the natural herb, and sometimes it causes greater intoxication. The onset of relief for the swallowed medications is also delayed in comparison to inhaled cannabis.
This information has been approved by Health MJ and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.