Raphael Mechoulam is no stranger to cannabis research and last week he announced his latest discovery. The Israeli organic chemist and professor of medicinal chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem is responsible for groundbreaking discoveries about the structure of CBD and THC in 1963 and 1964 respectively. Mechoulam and his team also conducted clinical tests with CBD that were published in 1980. Unfortunately it took nearly 30 years before his research into the use of CBD to treat epilepsy became widely accepted. It was this very research that was used by Greenwich Biosciences to develop the first cannabis-derived drug Epidiolex for the treatment of seizures. Thanks to these contributions, Mechoulam earned himself the nickname the ‘Father of Cannabis Research’.
The building blocks of cannabis research
Mechoulam’s research laid the foundation for our current understanding of how cannabis interacts with the human body. Without him, the modern cannabis industry likely wouldn’t be where it is today. Even with all this research, there’s still a great deal left for us to learn about cannabis. One such topic that has eluded cannabis researchers is cannabis acids. Cannabis acids are compounds that the cannabis plant produces while it’s alive. Some believe they may be more even potent than their derivatives CBD and THC. Researchers have been trying to better understand cannabis acids for years and haven’t been successful. That is, until now.
A promising discovery
Last Monday Mechoulam and a group of researchers made an exciting announcement at a medical cannabis conference in Pasadena, California–they’ve developed a process for creating synthetic, stable acids found in the cannabis plant. These synthetic acids, including acid versions of CBD and THC, are now available to license to companies for drug development. What does this mean exactly? Drug companies now have the ability to potentially develop new drugs based on the acids. These drugs could be beneficial for a variety of health conditions such as arthritis, anxiety, inflammatory bowel disease and psoriasis.
This discovery is huge for the medical cannabis industry and for numerous patients. By choosing to license their Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient to drug companies, EPM is opening the door for the development of treatment for specific medical conditions. It’s no surprise that Raphael Mechoulam once again finds himself at the center of a major research discovery for the modern cannabis industry. The ‘Father of Cannabis Research’ has no doubt already left a legacy that cannabis researchers and patients everywhere will be thankful for for years to come.
Interested in learning more about how Mechoulam and the team at EPM made this discovery and what they hope to achieve with it? Read the full article on NBC News.