Prof. Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, born 1930 and up till now living in Israel, started reading on cannabis and doing some limited amount of work on it in 1962. Since then his work and achievements are limitless. He has published more than 350 scientific articles.

He was the discoverer of the entourage effectThe entourage effect results when the many components within the cannabis plant interact with the human body to produce a stronger influence than any one of those components alone – it’s a synergistic effect.

Mechoulam compared cannabinoids with a variety of active substances with cannabinoids in which these substances were isolated and purified. He concluded that the various components in cannabinoids interacted positively and gave this effect the name entourage effect.

Please read more about this topic under “Entourage effect”.

Professor Mechoulam was also the discoverer of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the early sixties. Although there is evidence that cannabinoids have been used for their medicinal properties since the Stone Age, it was in the 21st century that Professor Mechoulam isolated and identified the psychoactive cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Previously he and his team had identified the chemical structure of cannabidiol (CBD).

The endocannabinoid system is a body-specific system that consists of a group of endogene cannabinoid receptors in the brain and in the entire central and peripheral nervous system of the body. The ECS has a very important function in our body.

Please read more about this topic under “Endocannabinoid system (ECS)”.

Mechoulam was the first to isolate Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, known as THC. THC is the most common cannabinoid and is responsible for emitting psychoactive effects.

Mechoulam has also successfully illustrated and isolated the second most common (non-psychoactive) cannabinoid: cannabidiol, known as CBD. The apparent medical efficacy of CBD as an antipsychotic and potential ingredient in the treatment of chronic pain and epileptic seizures surprised Mechoulam.

Another research project initiated by Mechoulam led to the isolation of the first described endocannabinoid anandamide which was isolated and characterized by two of his postdoctoral researchers, Hanus and Devane.

Anandamide is our natural cannabis in our body that affects our cannabis receptors CB1 and CB2. In addition, it influences the vanilloid receptor, an important receptor for pain perception. Receptors are literally recipients of messages, signals.

Next to anandamide, 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) was the second endocannabinoid discovered by Mechoulam and his student Shimon Ben-Shabat. 2-AG is present at relatively high levels in the central nervous system. Although 2-AG was a known chemical compound, its occurrence in mammals and its affinity for the cannabinoid receptors were first described in 1994.

Professor Mechoulam is still doing pioneering research in Israel to this day. In Israel it is quite normal to restore both the physical and mental balance in the body through cannabinoids.