Synthetic Cannabis? No Thanks!

Big Pharma continues to create synthetic versions of cannabis. Is this a better method since it’s FDA approved?  Ask yourself this, would you ever try eating a synthetic salad?

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, cancer, and nausea. However, they have not approved a marketing application for any product that is derived from the marijuana plant. What they HAVE done is approved Big Pharma to distribute a synthetic version of THC, called Dronabinol. This active ingredient is an oil that is derived from sesame oil. Researchers have found that only 10-20% of a pill that contains Dronabinal reaches its target in the body. This is because the liver sees Dronabinol as a contaminant and gets rid of it immediately. 

What side effects do patients who take synthetic cannabinoid medications experience?

•       Weakness

•       Sudden feeling of warmth

•       Stomach pain

•       Nausea or vomiting

•       Memory loss

•       Anxiety

•       Confusion

•       Dizziness

Wait….what? Vomiting and nausea?

Marinol is a prescription drug that contains the active ingredient, Dronabinol. Patients with AIDS, cancer, or neurological conditions were initially prescribed this drug to help cope with their nausea and vomiting. Not only did it contradict its intended use, but Marinol also worsened mood symptoms and often caused depression or anxiety. How infuriating to think a drug that was initially prescribed for nausea and vomiting, causes the same side effects and even more! At most U.S pharmacies, a supply of 60 capsules (2 month supply) costs around $700. On top of that, patients who are using these drugs are usually experiencing major health issues and have other medications to pay for as well. And don’t forget about doctor visits! Although insurance helps some individuals, many are left with hugely expensive bills to pay off.

Since the marijuana plant naturally produces THC, its form is more therapeutic and can be home grown for self-medication. Marinol is manufactured in labs and creates life threatening side effects. So why is one approved and not the other?

Dronabinol has been studied for neuropathic pain and was not found to very effective. For chronic non-cancer pain, it was shown to be slightly better than the placebo. Since many studies are government regulated, there hasn’t been much research done on the marijuana plant. In all the research that has been done, marijuana was found to be better than the placebo at relieving pain. While there might not be a lot of research taking place here in the United States, The Marijuana Business Daily reported that we can finally welcome the launch of a new research center in the Czech Republic. The International Cannabis and Cannabinoid Institute (ICCI) could provide an immense amount of information on how cannabis can help increase our quality of life. With more research being done, society is questioning the stereotypes and stigma that have plagued marijuana for years. Medical marijuana hasn’t just become a big industry in the United States, it’s becoming an international movement!