Father of Cannabinoid Medicine

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December 13, 2018
Science Behind Cannabis
January 23, 2019

Dr. Raphael Mechoulam has been proclaimed the father of cannabinoid medicine. Having discovered THC, Mechoulam has paved the way for the medicinal study of cannabis.

In 1964 Professor Raphael Mechoulam was traveling on a public bus carrying 5 kilograms of premium Lebanese cannabis in a plastic bag to his laboratory at the Weitzmann Institute located in Rehovot. That evident aromatic bus ride resulted to be a fateful one, as Mechoulam used his tow to unveil the psychoactive component in Cannabis, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It was a finding that had eluded researcgers for decades. Fast forward twenty years, Mechoulam established that THC interacts with the biggest receptor system in the human body, the endocannabinoid system (ECS). He then determined that the human brain produces its very own cannabis-a chemical that they named anandamide after the Sanskrit word ananda, “bliss.”

Although still relatively unknown to most scientists and medical professionals because of the global prohibition of cannabis, the significance of the endocannabinoid system is increasing daily. It has been denoted the “supercomputer that regulates homeostasis in the human body.” Due to the receptors that are found in the brain and in every major organ, this paradigm is thought to be involved in most disease state. This is one reason that cannabis alleviates various ailments. Mechoulam has been investigating this compound longer and more thoroughly than any other researcher. He has discovered cannabis’s role in alleviating seizure disorders, schizophrenia, and PTSD, in addition to other functions that regulate human health, such as infant-maternal bonding. Mechoulam has been awarded numerous scientific prizes and is universally acknowledged as the “father of cannabinoid medicine.” Despite these accolades, Mechoulam’s name isn’t well known outside of a small group of scientists.
 “The Scientist is a documentary that traces the story of Mechoulam from his early days as a child of the Holocaust in Bulgaria, through his immigration to Israel, and his career as the chief investigator into the chemistry and biology of the world’s most misunderstood plant.
 “When Darwin finished his ideas on evolution he put them in a drawer for 20 years because he feared what the Church would say,” says Zach Klein, the writer, producer, editor of The Scientist. “Mechoulam was never vilified because he is such a great scientist, but the world has been slow to understand his findings because of the demonization that cannabis suffered since the beginning of the war on drugs.”