Marinol, an FDA-approved, synthetic form of marijuana, may help mesothelioma patients with the harsh side effects of chemotherapy. Recent studies suggest it may also help with promoting a better appetite and increasing nutritional intake.
What is Marinol?
According to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the American Cancer Society (ACS), Marinol was created in 1985 to help cancer patients with nausea and vomiting, two major side effects of chemotherapy treatment. It’s generally taken a few hours before a chemotherapy session begins and then again two to four hours after treatment.
Shortly after, Marinol was also approved to help patients with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). People with AIDS generally have a suppressed appetite, coupled with nausea and vomiting, similar to those who are undergoing chemotherapy treatment.
Marinol belongs to a class of drugs known as cannabinoids. It’s produced in a pharmaceutical laboratory and closely resembles natural Cannabis sativa L. (marijuana).
Marinol can help mesothelioma patients undergoing chemotherapy gain calories and nutritional intake by promoting a better appetite. Feeling full after only eating a small amount of food (satiety) and/or having a poor appetite is a common side effect of chemotherapy. Dronabinol, a natural ingredient in Marinol, is responsible for helping patients increase their appetite. In fact, according to the University of Mexico Cancer Center (UNM), the results of recent study indicate that 139 chemotherapy patients who were given Marinol exhibited a significant appetite increase within a month.
In addition, by binding the CB1 receptors (receptor in the brain that has been said to cause nausea in chemotherapy patients), nausea and vomiting can be diminished after taking Marinol. As mentioned earlier, both nausea and vomiting are some of the most common side effects of chemotherapy.
ACS states that patients should always be aware of the adverse side effects of any medications. As with most prescription drugs, there are a few potential disadvantages of Marinol to be aware of, including:
- Confusion (uncommon)
- Seizures (uncommon)
- Vision problems (uncommon)
- Irregular heartbeat (uncommon)
Marijuana and Marinol Differences
Although marijuana and the synthetic Marinol both contain THC, there are several differences between the two. Per UNM, marijuana in its natural, botanical form contains carcinogens that are removed from Marinol. UNM states that least 400 substances contained in marijuana are not in Marinol.
In addition, Marinol is taken via oral gel caps in various dosages, ranging from 2.5mg to 10mg. A physician usually determines the dosage amount based on the patient’s body size, weight, and medical history. Furthermore, Marinol is not intended to, nor will it produce a “high” that’s associated with marijuana, but experts state that you should never operate a vehicle or machinery until you see how the medication affects you. Marinol is also FDA-approved while marijuana is not.
However, many people who’ve tried both forms have reported that marijuana in its natural form is more effective at helping ease pain. Regardless, it’s illegal in some states to purchase and use marijuana. Currently, 23 states in the nation allow marijuana for medical use.
Marinol is not available on a federal level, but as aforementioned, the 23 states that allow medical marijuana use may allow patients to access the medication with a prescription. For those who do not have access to Marinol, speak with your physician about alternative hermal remedies.
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or any other asbestos-related illness, medical expenses alone can be overwhelming. On a good note, however, you may be entitled to considerable compensation. There is more than $30 billion currently available in trust funds, set up by businesses who negligently exposed people to asbestos. Contact our top mesothelioma attorneys for a free, no-obligation case consultation.