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Marinol is a drug that can help stimulate the appetite in people with AIDS; it can also relieve nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy treatment. This medicine comes in capsule form, and is taken anywhere from two to six times a day, depending on the condition being treated. It is believed to work by binding to certain receptors in the central nervous system.

What Is Marinol?

Marinol® (dronabinol) is a prescription medication licensed to treat loss of appetite associated with weight loss in people with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). It is also approved to treat nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy when other medications have not worked.
(Click Marinol Uses for more information on this topic, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes This Medication?

Marinol is made by Banner Pharmacaps, Inc., for Solvay Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Generic versions are made by Watson Pharmaceuticals and Par Pharmaceuticals.

How Does Marinol Work?

Marinol is a synthetic version of delta-9-THC, a naturally occurring cannabinoid. Delta-9-THC is the main psychoactive component in Cannabis sativa L. (marijuana). Cannabinoid receptors are found in the central nervous system. While it is unknown exactly how Marinol works, the drug is believed to produce its effects by binding to these cannabinoid receptors.

Clinical Effects

In clinical studies, Marinol was shown to improve appetite and decrease nausea in people with AIDS who experienced lack of appetite and weight loss. Clinical studies have also shown that Marinol, taken by itself or in combination with other medications, reduces nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy in people who did not respond to standard treatment for their nausea and vomiting.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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