The content provided on this blog is intended for educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. We strongly advise readers to seek guidance from a qualified healthcare professional regarding any medical concerns.

To reflect its medicinal nature rather than recreational use, we prefer the term ‘medical cannabis’ over terms such as ‘marijuana’, “grass”. or ‘dope’ which may carry negative connotations.

The opinions expressed in the blog belong to the respective authors, who are not medical professionals, and may not necessarily align with those of Lyphe Clinic. Lyphe Clinic does not endorse any specific products or services mentioned, except those provided through Lyphe Clinic.

Readers should be aware that the legality of medical cannabis varies by location, and this disclaimer may be subject to periodic updates.

Man taking a pill and drinking a glass of water.

Embarking on a quest for innovative pain management solutions has spotlighted an intriguing alternative: medical marijuana pills. These capsules present a compelling, smokeless avenue for alleviating discomfort, marking a notable shift in the landscape of therapeutic options. 

In this blog, we will delve into the mechanics, advantages, and legal standing of medical marijuana pills, distinguishing them as a legitimate and safer alternative to traditional pharmaceuticals and illicit substances. 

Medical Prescription Marijuana vs. Black Market Cannabis

The distinction between regulated pharmaceuticals and those procured from unauthorised sources is critical across all healthcare domains, including the realm of cannabinoid-based therapies. 

More specifically, regulated cannabinoid medications, such as medical marijuana pills, undergo quality control measures and rigorous testing to ensure their safety, consistency, and therapeutic value. 

Essentially, these products are:

  • Approved by health authorities: This ensures they meet strict standards for medical use.
  • Prescribed by healthcare professionals: These experts consider the patient’s medical history, current condition, and potential drug interactions.
  • Intended for specific therapeutic purposes: These include pain management, nausea control, and appetite stimulation, with dosages tailored to individual needs.

Contrastingly, products sourced from the black market carry numerous risks and uncertainties, such as:

  • Lack of quality control: Illicit products may contain contaminants, pesticides, or harmful additives.
  • Inconsistent potency: The psychoactive and therapeutic compound levels can vary widely, leading to unpredictable effects.
  • Legal and health risks: Possession and use of unregulated marijuana can lead to legal consequences and adverse outcomes.

Dronabinol and Nabilone: The Emergence of Medical Cannabis Pills

A person's hands holding an orange prescription bottle with a cannabis leaf symbol, spilling out clear, amber-coloured gel capsules into their palm, suggesting medical marijuana pills for therapeutic use.

In the world of medicine that uses cannabis, two important pill forms are dronabinol and nabilone. These synthetic medicines act like natural cannabinoids but are taken as capsules, avoiding the health risks of smoking.

Characteristic Dronabinol Nabilone
Composition Synthetic form of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) Synthetic cannabinoid, structurally similar to THC
Primary Indications Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, AIDS-related anorexia [1] Severe nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy [2]
Role in Pain Management While not primarily indicated for pain, it has been used off-label for chronic pain and neuropathic pain conditions [3] Prescribed off-label for managing severe chronic pain, particularly when conventional analgesics are ineffective [4]
Mechanism of Action Mimics the effects of THC by interacting with CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors in the body’s central nervous system, which can alter pain perception Acts on cannabinoid receptors to modulate pain signalling pathways, similarly altering pain perception
Side Effects Dizziness, euphoria, confusion, abdominal pain, nausea Drowsiness, dizziness, dry mouth, euphoria, headache

Regulatory Framework in the UK

In the UK, the regulatory framework for cannabinoid-based products for medicinal use (CBPMs) distinguishes between substances like dronabinol and nabilone, particularly in terms of licensing and prescription guidelines. [5]

  • Nabilone: Holds a marketing authorisation in the UK. This status allows it to be prescribed by any doctor for its indicated use, subject to the healthcare professional’s judgement and patient need.
  • Dronabinol: Does not have a marketing authorisation in the UK. However, it can be prescribed on a named patient basis under specific circumstances, such as when other treatments have not been effective or are not suitable. This process involves more stringent controls and oversight by healthcare authorities.

Medical Marijuana Pills vs. Smoking: Scientific Analysis 

Medical cannabis capsules provide a new, easier option for people looking for symptom relief without the challenges and variability of smoking.

Pills Provide Better Pain Reduction

One 2013 study published in Neuropsychopharmacology explored the effectiveness of marijuana pills versus smoking for pain relief. The study involved 30 regular smokers and compared the effects of smoked weed, the pill form dronabinol (a synthetic THC), and a placebo. [6]

Findings revealed that both smoking and the pill reduced pain, but dronabinol offered longer-lasting relief without the strong “high” associated with smoking. This suggests that dronabinol could be a safer, more manageable option for long-term pain management.

Furthermore, through a “cold pressor test” to assess tolerance, the researchers proved that both smoked marijuana and dronabinol effectively decreased sensitivity and increased tolerance. However, dronabinol’s effects again lasted longer, highlighting its potential as an effective management solution with lower risks of misuse.

Pills Allow Precise Dosing

Another key advantage of oral cannabis medication over smoked marijuana is precise dosing. A 2023 survey published in Cancer Research found that patients using medical cannabis pills could more accurately track and manage their dosages compared to those relying on smoking. [7]

This precision is crucial for medical treatments, as it ensures patients receive the exact amount needed to alleviate symptoms without unnecessary exposure to psychoactive effects. To this end, the study highlights how capsules offer a consistent, controlled delivery method, eliminating the variability and guesswork associated with smoking, where factors such as inhalation depth, duration, and the plant’s THC content can significantly alter dosing.

Advantages of Marijuana Pills for Pain

Senior woman takes a pill with a glass of water in hand.

Cannabis capsules present a viable and often preferable alternative for pain relief, focusing on delivering the active compounds in a controlled manner.

Advantages Description
Discreet Usage Pills provide a discreet way to consume marijuana without the noticeable smell associated with smoking or vaping.
No Respiratory Risk Ingesting pills eliminates the inhalation of smoke, thereby reducing the risk of respiratory issues linked to smoking.
Convenient to Carry It’s easy to take capsules with you wherever you go, ensuring you can manage your pain at any time.
Long-lasting Effects They can offer sustained relief over a longer period as they are absorbed slowly through the digestive system.
Precise Dosage Each pill contains a measured amount of marijuana, which aids in precise dosing and consistent effects.
Non-Psychoactive Options They can be formulated to minimise or exclude THC, reducing psychoactive effects for patients who want relief without the high.
Ease of Use Pills are easy and convenient to consume, especially for those who have difficulty with other methods of marijuana consumption.
No stigma Taking medication as a pill looks just like any other medicine, so there’s no stigma attached to it like there might be with smoking or vaping.
Non-Intrusive Since there’s no need for any special setting or equipment to take a pill, it won’t interrupt your daily activities.


In short, pill treatments are designed to fit seamlessly into daily life. They offer a way to manage symptoms consistently without drawing attention or causing inconvenience, showing the commitment of modern treatment methods to improve not just health but overall quality of life.

Future of Pain Management

The trajectory of pain management is undergoing a transformative shift, with an increasing focus on cannabis medications. This shift is driven by changing legal frameworks. More specifically, as laws evolve, access to cannabinoid-based prescriptions is expanding, allowing more patients to benefit from these alternatives. 

Moreover, research into marijuana for alternative pain relief is at the forefront of scientific exploration, offering new insights and possibilities. For instance, studies are exploring novel cannabinoid formulations that promise enhanced efficacy and targeted relief. To this end, ongoing clinical trials are crucial in uncovering the mechanisms through which these medications exert their effects, optimising dosages, and broadening the scope of conditions they can effectively treat.

Choose Lyphe for Your Medical Cannabis Prescription

The logo of Lyphe Clinic.

When faced with chronic and debilitating pain, finding a trusted provider is vital. At Lyphe, we’re dedicated to guiding you through the complexities of managing your health with medical marijuana in a legal, safe manner. 

Here’s why we stand out:

  • We’re pioneers: We were among the first to integrate medical cannabis into patient care in the UK, showcasing our deep expertise.
  • Convenience at your fingertips: Our services are fully online, meaning you can connect with expert physicians, secure prescriptions, and receive medication delivery without leaving your home.
  • Committed patient support: Our patient advisors are more than just a voice on the phone. We make sure patients receive follow-up care and repeat prescriptions.

Interested? Begin your journey with us by booking your online appointment today and embrace a holistic approach to health.

Final Takeaway

The rise of medical marijuana pills offers a promising smoke-free option for managing chronic discomfort. They stand as a testament to the evolving landscape of health management, bridging the gap between natural remedies and modern medical conventions. The potential these pills hold to relieve pain without the complications related to inhalation methods is a significant advancement for patients and practitioners alike. 


Does marijuana come in a pill?

Yes, marijuana can be formulated into a pill form, often referred to as cannabinoid or cannabis capsules. These pills encapsulate extracted active ingredients like THC and CBD for oral administration.

Are THC pills dangerous?

THC pills, like any medication, can have potential side effects and risks, especially if taken improperly or in excessive amounts. Hence, it is essential to use them under the guidance of a healthcare provider to minimise risks.

Is marijuana safe and effective as medicine?

Marijuana has been shown in numerous studies to be effective in treating certain medical conditions, but it’s important to remember that it also has potential side effects. Therefore, it should be used under the guidance of a healthcare provider to ensure patient safety and effectiveness.

Does Dronabinol help with pain?

Yes, dronabinol, a synthetic form of THC, can help manage pain, particularly in conditions like cancer and AIDS, where traditional strategies may be insufficient.

Are cannabinoids good for pain?

Yes, cannabinoids have been proven in various studies to be effective in managing chronic conditions. However, they should be used under medical supervision due to potential adverse reactions and individual differences in response.


  1. Lewandowska, J., Kapała, J., & Puchała, Ł. (2021). Therapeutic potential of dronabinol: A systematic review of human trials. Farmacja Polska, 77(8), 477–490. https://doi.org/10.32383/farmpol/142693
  2. Harrison, N. J., & Simpson, H. (2021). Nabilone (Cesamet). Cannabinoids and Pain, 109–112. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-69186-8_15
  3. Ueberall, M. A., Essner, U., Vila Silván, C., & Mueller-Schwefe, G. H. (2022). Comparison of the effectiveness and tolerability of Nabiximols (THC:CBD) Oromucosal spray versus oral dronabinol (THC) as add-on treatment for severe neuropathic pain in real-world clinical practice: Retrospective analysis of the German pain e-registry. Journal of Pain Research, Volume 15, 267–286. https://doi.org/10.2147/jpr.s340968
  4. Tsang, C. C., & Giudice, M. G. (2016). Nabilone for the Management of Pain. Pharmacotherapy, 36(3), 273–286. https://doi.org/10.1002/phar.1709
  5. NHS. (2023, August 10). Cannabis-based products for medicinal use (CBPMs). NHS choices. https://www.england.nhs.uk/long-read/cannabis-based-products-for-medicinal-use-cbpms/
  6. Cooper, Z. D., Comer, S. D., & Haney, M. (2013). Comparison of the Analgesic Effects of Dronabinol and Smoked Marijuana in Daily Marijuana Smokers. Neuropsychopharmacology, 38(10), 1984-1992. https://doi.org/10.1038/npp.2013.97
  7. Goulette, M., Schlienz, N. J., Case, A., Hansen, E., Ashare, R. L., Goniewicz, M., Bansal-Travers, M., Hyland, A., & Smith, D. M. (2023). Abstract 6472: Self-reported knowledge of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) potency in cannabis products among cancer patients and survivors: Results from a survey of cannabis consumers at an NCI-designated cancer center. Cancer Research, 83(7_Supplement), 6472–6472. https://doi.org/10.1158/1538-7445.am2023-6472 


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