The Food and Drug Administration recently approved the first synthetic liquid form of THC. Synthetic THC is called dronabinol, which is the generic name of the more familiar brand name Marinol. The Marinol pill was first approved way back in 1985, but is way less popular than real medical cannabis.
The liquid dronabinol will have the brand name Syndros, and will probably fall under Schedule III of the federal government’s Controlled Substances Act. Schedule III drugs indicate accepted medical use and have a low to moderate potential for abuse. Real cannabis still remains as a Schedule I controlled substance, which are said to have the least amount of accepted medical use and a high potential for addiction.
The pharmaceutical company Insys Therapeutics already manufactures Marinol and now they will get to legally produce Syndros. Marinol and Syndros have been approved to stimulate appetite and treat nausea suffered by patients with cancer and AIDS. According to their press release, Insys hopes to convert many of the 9,500 dronabinol prescriptions into Syndros.
Officials with the FDA seem to think that synthetic THC drugs like Syndros will offer a focused method of treating patients with medical cannabis as opposed to the real plant or its extracts. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to understand the holistic nature of cannabis medicine as many patients do.
There are currently 111 known cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. We know for sure that two of them, THC and CBD, have medical use. Anyone who has medicated with cannabis would concur that there’s a chance that some of those other cannabinoids have therapeutic properties as well. If only there were more proper tests being done on medical cannabis, we could start to find these things out.
Many medical patients, especially the parents of children suffering from diseases, don’t want to experience the psychoactive effects of THC – opting instead for CBD. Strains like Harlequin and Charlotte’s Web were developed for this very reason. Syndros could help ease the suffering of some patients that otherwise wouldn’t have access to such a treatment. At this point though, the FDA would probably best serve the taxpaying citizens who are in need of medical cannabis by allowing breeders to do what they do best, which is work with the plant medicine that nature gives us – not try to recreate its active ingredients in a laboratory.
What do you think? Is the FDA’s approval of liquid synthetic THC a good thing for patients and the cannabis industry as a whole, or will it have harmful effects in the long run?