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Father of Cannabis Research Creates More Potent, Synthetic Versions of Cannabinoids 

Raphael Mechoulam at EPM lab
Father of Cannabis Raphael Mechoulam at EPM's lab in Israel. Photo by Daniel Fine/EPM

Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, an Israel bio-chemist and trailblazing cannabis researcher, announced last month a process to produce synthetic cannabinoid acids – chemical compounds that may be more stable than their plant-based counterparts.

“This is exciting and unprecedented research,” said Dr. Mechoulam said in a press release. “We have taken the unstable molecules of the cannabis plant and synthesized them to provide a stable, consistent basis for researching new therapies across a wide range of medical needs – from CNS disorders to inflammation, and many more.”

Dr. Mechaloum has been at the forefront of cannabis research for sixty years.

From 1963-65, Mechoulam successfully isolated and synthesized cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In 1992, Mechoulam identified the endocannabinoids anandamide and 2-AG, which led to the discovery of the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

Looking to the Future of Cannabis

Now, Dr. Mechoulam and his team have created HU-380, an acid methyl ester that mimics the effects of cannabidiolic acid, or CBDA. CBDA is potent, but unstable. Slight temperature changes or exposure to ultraviolet light are enough to break down the acid. HU-380 is more resilient. 

This particular compound…enhances serotonin activation,” explained Mechoulam in a keynote address at CannaMed, a cannabis research conference. “Serotonin and dopamine, these are the two major neurotransmitters and they are of utmost importance in a large number of diseases.”

Professor Raphael Mechoulam is also known as The Father of Cannabis

Professor Raphael Mechoulam is also known as The Father of Cannabis for his research in the 60’s.

Dr. Mechoulam presented his findings on behalf of EPM, an intellectual property firm that tapped Mechoulam to lead its research term. EPM plans to license the synthetic compounds to pharmaceutical companies for use in drug development and clinical research. 

Critics of the pharmaceutical industry may take the news as proof that big movers in government and business are determined to dominate the cannabis space. 

But at CannaMed, Dr. Mechoulam suggested that pharmaceuticals and natural remedies will co-exist in the future.

“Within the next ten, fifteen years,” said Mechoulam. “Both cannabis plant materials and derivatives like the methyl esters [will be on the market], which is not a bad situation because patients will be able to choose whatever they believe is best for them.” 

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