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Professor Raphael Mechoulam

Raphael Mechoulam Headshot photo
Raphael Mechoulam Headshot photo

In the 1960's a researcher in Israel applied for a grant from the American National Institute of health to study Cannabis. His application was rejected and he was told "Marijuana is not an American problem" come back with "something relevant". It was this exact indifference that inspired Raphael Mechoulam to begin researching the active components of Cannabis in the first place. Why had we isolated compounds from other plants for their medicinal properties, yet the Cannabis stone was left un-turned?

Mechoulam was a researcher in the field of chemistry and biological activity of natural products and medicinal agents in a region of the world known for it's hashish. Within the year he had isolated the THC molecule.

Mechoulam and his team went on to isolate CBD and delta9 THC but perhaps the most crucial contribution his look into the plant has given us recently is a look inside ourselves. "“a receptor in the body does not exist because there is a plant out there… we decided that the body has to have compounds that activate this receptor.” And indeed they discovered a compound in the body that activates the cannabinoid receptors.  They named it Anandamide, which means supreme joy in Sanskrit. “We felt it has to do with joy…with what we feel; and we were quite happy to discover the compound.” Mechoulam jests that they did not use a Hebrew name “because in Hebrew there are not so many words for happiness… Jews don’t like being happy.”"

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