Marinol is a synthetic cannabinoid. While it does offer positive effects, the full benefits of cannabis are not present in the simplified, synthetic form.
There are a growing number of people suffering from cannabis tunnel vision. Dabbers, self-proclaimed connoisseurs, and ambitious fledgling stoners are all hyped up about the cannabinoid percentages written on the label of their bud, cartridge, edible, or whatever other packaging their favorite product comes in. Some idealists have even gone so far as to intentionally breed out terpenes entirely in the quest to maximize potency. For these enthusiasts, who just want to get a super heavy head change, we encourage you to read further.
The Legality of Synthetics?
Isolating the most famous cannabinoid, delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, and building a pill out of it isn't a good time. Just ask any patient using Marinol, a synthetic version that received FDA approval back in the 1980s. This fabricated drug has the exact same molecular structure as naturally occurring cannabinoids, so the pharmaceutical is utilized for treating similar symptoms to those alleviated by cannabis. These include complications related to pain, nausea, vomiting, and seizures, etc. Therefore, it's a common prescription for people diagnosed with movement disorders like MS and dystonia. Unfortunately for patients relying on Marinol as their medicine, the counterfeit chemical often results in discomfort, confusion, and dysphoria (dissatisfaction/unhappiness). Even experienced cannabis users report similar, unfavorable experiences when exposed to Marinol.
Why Does Cannabis Outperform Marinol?
Cannabinoids, delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol in particular, have lab-tested potential to positively influence a wide variety of human elements. But, except with the case of Marinol, these substances have always been consumed in conjunction with other cannabinoids (like CBD) and terpenes -- both playing a pivotal role in influencing how the THC interacts with the human body. Terpenes and other cannabinoids counteract the unfavorable side effects of high doses of THC, and, depending on which terpenes are present, increase the impact of the high. In addition to tasting delicious, terpenes also affect how someone feels. Here are three examples where the inclusion of terpenes could benefit those using Marinol.
- Mood: The dissatisfaction, anxiety, paranoia, etc., potentially experienced by a patient can be countered by the mood-boosting, cortisol-breaking properties of limonene.
- Confusion: Brain fog is offset by pinene, which increases the amount of acetylcholine (the short-term memory molecule) in the brain by slowing its natural breakdown.
- Movement: Myrcene acts as a potent, whole-body sedative. This is hugely beneficial regarding uncontrollable muscle contraction, pain related to movement, seizure, and much more.
The FDA and Cannabis
So, while the government has been aware of THC’s medicinal potential for decades, cannabis’ illegality has hamstrung its pharmaceutical inclusion. As more research is conducted on the abilities of terpenes and cannabinoids, physicians and doctors are increasingly better able to assist and treat specific patient disorders. From an academic standpoint, the relationship between cannabinoids and terpenes is continually evolving.
This is due to the fact that interactions between the two change based on the amount of a given terpene, the presence and quantity of other terpenes, and the concentration of other cannabinoids. But even with such progress, the FDA is unlikely to ever approve of smokable cannabis. There’s just too much data on tobacco damage. The well-demonstrated complications of cigarette and cigar users overwhelm the lack of any data regarding lung harm from cannabis itself. Ultimately, burning anything and inhaling it is a hard sell to doctors, even if certain terpenes have been approved for aromatics, perfumes, and other breathables for years.
The FDA may be more likely to greenlight cannabis medication if it appears in the form of edibles, tinctures, and pills. This gets rid of the protocols for standardizing the natural variation within growing cannabis. It also removes the rapid peak-and-fall of smoked or vaped cannabis, enabling a more consistent dosage distribution throughout the day. This way, the amounts, effects, and relationships between cannabinoids, terpenes, and the human body would be perfectly controlled by doctors and manufacturers. So, full customization relative to a patient’s needs could be achieved. After the appropriate research is conducted, terpene-inclusive solutions like these may just replace the well-intentioned, but flawed premises of drugs like Marinol.
Cannabis has this wonderful ability to change the way humans think, act, and feel. But, some people fail to see the forest for the trees. While cannabis is a spotlight psychoactive, there’s just so much more going on that deserves attention and recognition. Other cannabinoids and terpenes are huge pieces of the overall puzzle. All these substances work together toward a result beyond any of their individual capacities. They’re a team; a unified, symbiotic, and far greater as a whole than the sum of individual parts.