Today is a sad day for the international scientific community and for those of us who dedicate our lives to the cannabis plant. International media announced the death of scientist and father of cannabinoid science, Raphael Mechoulam who died at the age of 92 in Israel.
Mechoulam is recognized with the title of the father THC because it was the first to isolate and discover the chemical form of tetrahydrocannabinol in 1963. This is a funny story of curiosity, in the 60’s once graduated the new scientist of the university chose as a topic to develop to study the effect of hashish on us.
That’s how he got the permits for the police to provide him with 5 kilos of hashish without them knowing that this moment would change the history of the whole world.
From then on, scientists in his lab at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem had the basis to start identifying other cannabinoids, including cannabidiol (CBD) and later, the endocannabinoid system.
The latter was known as one of the most important scientific events of the last 50 years, since this system intervenes in the production of serotonin in the body and influences the general health of humans and mammals.
Life and his work have been immortalized in the documentary “The Scientist”, where he also tells the story of how he discovers the precursor of serotonin called anandamide, named after the Sanskrit word “supreme happiness”.
His team is responsible for the discovery of most scientific research on this topic and has impacted global medical research.
“This is a very sad day for me, for the scientific community and for the cannabis community,” said David Meiri, an associate professor at the Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology.
Mechoulam was born in Bulgaria in 1930 and immigrated in 1949 with his family to Israel, where he later studied chemistry. He received his PhD at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, writing a thesis on the chemistry of steroids. After postdoctoral studies at the Rockefeller Institute in New York, he joined the scientific staff of the Weizmann Institute.
Some of his distinctions were:
1999-2000: President of the International Society for Cannabinoid Research (ICRS).
2001: Doctor Honoris Causa by The Ohio State University.
2003-2005: President of the Board of Directors of the International Association of Cannabinoid Medicines (IACM).
2006: Doctor Honoris Causa by the Complutense University.
2011: NIDA Discovery Award.
2012: EMET Award in Exact Sciences – Chemistry.
2016: Lifetime Achievement Award – CannMed