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Dronabinol

thcDronabinol is Schedule I and III in the United States.

Addictive Potential: Low

Emergency Room Visits Yearly: Unknown

Mandatory Minimum Sentence: Unknown

Mechanism of Action: Cannabinoid receptor agonist

Overview:

Dronabinol (Marinol, Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, delta-9-THC) is synthetic THC. It is used to treat nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy in people who have already taken other medications to treat this type of nausea and vomiting without good results. Dronabinol is also used to treat loss of appetite and weight loss in people who have acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Dronabinol is in a class of medications called cannabinoids. It works by affecting the area of the brain that controls nausea, vomiting, and appetite.

Dronabinol comes as a capsule to take by mouth. When dronabinol is used to treat nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, it is usually taken 1 to 3 hours before chemotherapy and then every 2 to 4 hours after chemotherapy, for a total of 4 to 6 doses a day. When dronabinol is used to increase appetite, it is usually taken 2 times a day, before lunch and supper, or once a day in the evening or at bedtime. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take dronabinol exactly as directed. Swallow the capsules whole; do not split, chew, or crush them.

Your doctor will probably start you on a low dose of dronabinol and may gradually increase your dose. Your doctor may also decrease your dose if you experience side effects that do not go away after 1 to 3 days. Be sure to tell your doctor how you are feeling during your treatment with dronabinol.

Dronabinol may be habit forming. Do not take a larger dose, take it more often, or take it for a longer period of time than prescribed by your doctor. Call your doctor if you find that you want to take extra medication.

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 Side Effects and Adverse Reactions:

Dronabinol may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • weakness
  • sudden warm feeling
  • stomach pain
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • memory loss
  • anxiety
  • confusion
  • dizziness
  • unsteady walking
  • feeling like you are outside of your body
  • ”high” or elevated mood
  • hallucinations (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist)
  • sleepiness
  • strange or unusual thoughts
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately:

  • seizures
  • fast or pounding heartbeat

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