What Is Dronabinol?


Dronabinol is an oral medication containing a man-made form of THC, a substance found in cannabis. It belongs to a class of medications known as cannabinoids. Dronabinol is often used when other medications to treat nausea and vomiting fail to work. It directly acts on the vomiting and appetite control centers of the brain.


Dronabinol is available in capsule or liquid form. After oral administration, the onset of action is approximately 30 minutes to two hours, with the peak effects occurring between two and four hours thereafter. Mental and physical effects of dronabinol typically last four to six hours; however, the effects on appetite can last up to 24 hours.

Dronabinol may be used to manage the following:

  • Loss of appetite and weight loss associated with HIV/AIDS
  • Nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy as cancer treatment

Side effects

Seek emergency medical help if an allergic reaction occurs: hives, rash, mouth sores, tingling, trouble breathing, or swelling of face, lips, tongue or throat. Potential adverse side effects include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Feeling “high”
  • Restlessness, nervousness or irritability
  • Slurred speech or drowsiness
  • A fast or slow heart rate (tachycardia or bradycardia)
  • High blood pressure, low blood pressure, or syncope
  • Memory loss, cognitive effects, or changes in behavior
  • New or worsening psychiatric symptoms of mania, hallucinations, depression or schizophrenia
  • Dizziness or feeling faint
  • Confusion, sleeping difficulty, or concentration issues
  • Severe headache or blurred vision
  • Nausea, vomiting, or abdominal pain
  • Seizures


Dronabinol may be habit-forming; therefore, it should be taken only as prescribed by a health care professional. Misuse can lead to overdose, addiction or death. Dronabinol should not be stopped suddenly as withdrawal can occur.

Dronabinol can increase or decrease blood pressure, especially in older adults or those with heart issues. Use caution when taking dronabinol if a mental illness or depression is present. It can cause new or worsening psychosis. It is not recommended for 14 days after or seven days before taking disulfiram or metronidazole. Immediately contact a health care professional for new or worsening mood symptoms, behavior changes, vision issues, rapid heartbeat, headache, or severe dizziness.

Do not take if an allergy to sesame oil or alcohol exists. Dronabinol should not be combined with marijuana. Avoid consuming alcohol while taking dronabinol. Restrain from driving or operating machinery until knowing the exact effects of dronabinol, since dizziness or drowsiness can occur. Over-the-counter medications, herbs, or supplements may interact with dronabinol, and should be discussed with a medical professional.

Did you find this helpful?
You may also like