By Medically reviewed by hellodoktor

Generic Name: Marinol Brand Name(s): Generics only. No brands available.


What is Marinol® (dronabinol) used for?

Marinol® is a man-made form of cannabis (also known as marijuana).

Marinol® is used to treat loss of appetite that causes weight loss in people with AIDS. It is also used to treat severe nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy.

Marinol® is for use only when other medications have been unable to control the nausea and vomiting.

How should I take Marinol® (dronabinol)?

Take Marinol® exactly as it was prescribed for you. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

To stimulate appetite, Marinol® is usually taken before lunch and dinner.

To prevent nausea and vomiting, Marinol® is usually given 1 to 3 hours before your chemotherapy treatment, and then every 2 to 4 hours (up to 6 doses total). Follow your doctor’s instructions.

Do not crush, chew, break, or open a capsule. Swallow it whole.

Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve, or if they get worse while using Marinol®.

Do not stop using Marinol® suddenly after long-term use, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Ask your doctor how to avoid withdrawal symptoms when you stop using Marinol®.

How do I store Marinol® (dronabinol)?

Marinol® is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store Marinol® in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of Marinol® that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush Marinol® down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Precautions & warnings

What should I know before using Marinol® (dronabinol)?

Before using this drug, tell your doctor if:

  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding. This is because, while you are expecting or feeding a baby, you should only take medicines on the recommendation of a doctor.
  • You are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • You have allergy with any of active or inactive ingredients of Marinol® or other medications.
  • You have any other illnesses, disorders, or medical conditions.

You should not use Marinol® if you have ever had an allergic reaction to natural or man-made marijuana such as nabilone (Cesamet).

To make sure Marinol® is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • Epilepsy or other seizure disorder
  • High or low blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Liver or kidney disease
  • History of alcoholism or drug addiction
  • Past or present mental illness (depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, psychosis)
  • If you are also using other medicines that can affect your central nervous system, such as a tranquilizer, sleep medicine, or anti-psychotic medications.

Older adults may be more sensitive to the effects of this medication.

Marinol® may be habit-forming. Never share Marinol® with another person, especially someone with a history of drug abuse or addiction. Keep the medication in a place where others cannot get to it.

Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using Marinol® during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking Marinol®. Marinol® is pregnancy risk category C, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:

  • A=No risk
  • B=No risk in some studies
  • C=There may be some risk
  • D=Positive evidence of risk
  • X=Contraindicated
  • N=Unknown

Side effects

What side effects can occur from Marinol® (dronabinol)?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to Marinol®: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using Marinol® and call your doctor at once if you have:

  • Mood changes, anxiety, panic, paranoia, extreme fear
  • Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not real), nightmares
  • Confusion, unusual thoughts or behavior
  • Problems with speech, ringing in your ears
  • Pounding heartbeats or fluttering in your chest
  • A light-headed feeling, like you might pass out

Common side effects may include:

  • Feeling “high”
  • Nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea
  • Weakness
  • Depressed mood
  • Muscle pain
  • Eye redness, vision problems
  • Flushing (warmth, redness, or tingly feeling)

Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.


What drugs may interact with Marinol® (dronabinol)?

Marinol® may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.

Does food or alcohol interact with Marinol® (dronabinol)?

Marinol® may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

What health conditions may interact with Marinol® (dronabinol)?

Marinol® may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.


The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using Marinol® (dronabinol).

What is the dose of Marinol® (dronabinol) for an adult?

Usual Adult Dose for Nausea/Vomiting — Chemotherapy Induced:

Initial: 5 mg/m2, 1 to 3 hours prior to chemotherapy treatment, then every 2 to 4 hours after chemotherapy for a total of 4 to 6 doses per day.

Usual Adult Dose for Anorexia:

Initial: 2.5 mg orally twice daily, before lunch and supper.

Maximum: 20 mg daily, given in 4 divided doses.

What is the dose of Marinol® (dronabinol) for a child?

Usual Pediatric Dose for Nausea/Vomiting — Chemotherapy Induced:

Initial: 5 mg/m2, 1 to 3 hours prior to chemotherapy treatment, then every 2 to 4 hours after chemotherapy for a total of 4 to 6 doses per day.

How is Marinol® (dronabinol) available?

Marinol® is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

  • Capsule: dronabinol 2.5mg

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of Marinol®, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: August 28, 2017 | Last Modified: September 13, 2019

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