Monday, December 31, 2012

Raphael Mechoulam: The Father of Medical Marijuana Research

Israeli pharmacologist  Raphael Mechoulam was a part of the research team responsible for identifying and synthesizing THC over 50 years ago. He continues to explore the chemistry and pharmacology of cannabinoids.
Raphael Mechoulam
“I believe that the cannabinoids represent a medicinal treasure trove which waits to be discovered,” says Mechoulam.

Dr. Mechoulam officially retired 15 years ago but continues to write grants and works from his lab at the Department for Medicinal Chemistry and Natural Products at the Hadassah- Hebrew University medical school in Israel.

Early in his research, he had difficulty obtaining high potency cannabis for his studies. Indeed, this remains a significant problem for researchers today. He contacted the army buddy of a colleague, who was the head of the investigative branch of the national police. Unaware of official protocol, the officer provided the young faculty member with five kilograms of seized Lebanese hashish. He credits some of his success to working in a small country where such connections were possible.

Mechoulam and his research partners revealed the structure of cannabidiol (CBD), an ingredient in cannabis with anti-inflammatory properties.
Mechoulam and his research partners isolated THC, the main psychoactive compound in marijuana, for the first time, established its structure and synthesized it.

Some of Mechoulam's latest research is focusing on the chemical basis of personality. "We have started looking at something nobody has yet really looked at thoroughly: The chemical basis for why eight billion people in the world have different personalities. The same compounds are found in all our brains; however, they all go up and down constantly.”

Thanks to Dr. Mechoulam for his contributions to science and we wish him the best on his future research endeavors.

-------- (C) 2012 Stoner Living


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