What is dronabinol?

Drug Policy Question of the Week – 3-12-11

As answered by Mary Jane Borden, Editor of Drug War Facts for the Drug Truth Network on 3-12-11. http://www.drugtruth.net/cms/node/3302

Question of the Week: What is dronabinol?

A November 2010 Federal Register posting by the Drug Enforcement Administration defined dronabinol as,

“the United States Adopted Name (USAN) for [Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or THC], which is believed to be the major psychoactive component of the cannabis plant [aka] (marijuana).”

Bantam Medical Dictionary defines, a “United States Adopted Name” as the

“US generic name for any compound to be used as a drug.”

Dronabinol is generic for tetrahydrocannabinol or THC.

Abbott Laboratories markets the pharmaceutical drug Marinol®, containing, using the DEA’s definition,

“dronabinol in sesame oil and encapsulated in both hard gelatin or soft gelatin capsules.”

Because Abbott lists dronabinol as the only active ingredient of Marinol®, sesame oil is inactive. Abbott states that dronabinol

“is also a naturally occurring component of Cannabis sativa L. (Marijuana)”

and that Marinol is

“controlled [Schedule III] under the Controlled Substances Act,”

The naturally occurring Cannabis sativa L, is a tightly restricted and highly illegal plant under Schedule I.

The Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis argued in its 2002 Petition to Reschedule Cannabis,”

Cannabis is a natural source of dronabinol (THC), the ingredient of Marinol, a Schedule III drug. There are no grounds to schedule cannabis in a more restrictive schedule than Marinol”.

Minus the inactive sesame oil, the DEA seemed to agree with the petition by stating in the Federal Register that,

“dronabinol products, both naturally-derived or synthetically produced, … meet the criteria for placement in schedule III.”

If they do, then shouldn’t the source of “naturally-derived” dronabinol (THC) – the tightly restricted and highly illegal Cannabis sativa L plant – be a legal Schedule III as well?

These facts and others like them can be found in the Medical Marijuana Chapter of Drug War Facts at http://www.drugwarfacts.org.