Synthetic THC is known as dronabinol. It is available as a prescription drug (under Marinol) in several countries including the United States and Germany. In the United States, Marinol is a Schedule III drug, available by prescription, considered to be non-narcotic and to have a low risk of physical or mental dependence. Efforts to get cannabis rescheduled as analogous to Marinol have not succeeded thus far, though a 2002 petition has been accepted by the DEA. As a result of the rescheduling of Marinol from Schedule II to Schedule III, refills are now permitted for this substance. Marinol has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the treatment of anorexia in AIDS patients, as well as for refractory nausea and vomiting of patients undergoing chemotherapy, which has raised much controversy as to why natural THC is still a schedule I drug.
An analog of dronabinol, nabilone, is available commercially in Canada under the trade name Cesamet, manufactured by Valeant. Cesamet has also received FDA approval and began marketing in the U.S. in 2006; it is a Schedule II drug.
In April 2005, Canadian authorities approved the marketing of Sativex, a mouth spray for multiple sclerosis patients, who can use it to alleviate neuropathic pain and spasticity. Sativex contains tetrahydrocannabinol together with cannabidiol. It is marketed in Canada by GW Pharmaceuticals, being the first cannabis-based prescription drug in the world (in modern times).
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