Marinol is federally approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is legal in all 50 states for patients with a prescription. Marinol is the trademark name given to the drug dronabinol, which is a synthetic form of delta-9-tetrahydracannabinol (delta-9-THC).
Delta-9-THC is one of a number of types of THC that are found in the Cannabis sativa or marijuana plant. While marijuana is illegal, Marinol has been fully approved by the FDA since 1985 and is available in pharmacies. Marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, while Marinol is a Schedule III drug. Still, this means that it is illegal to possess Marinol without a prescription.
Marinol is approved to treat symptoms of nausea and vomiting in AIDS, cancer and chemotherapy patients, although THC and the other cannabinoids also have these same effects for medical marijuana patients. Still, Marinol does have a few benefits over smoking marijuana, including lasting up to twice as long and coming in a convenient pill form. On the other hand, proponents of medical marijuana claim that many benefits lie in the other cannabinoids, not just delta-9-THC. There are also many who feel that marijuana is superior, claiming that it is natural, unlike the synthetic Marinol.