A large cannabis cola inside of a licensed grow facility.

Rory Savatgy

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem has launched the Multidisciplinary Center of Cannabinoid Research which will conduct and coordinate research on cannabis and its biological effects in an effort to determine its commercial applications, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports. Raphael Mechoulam, the chemistry professor who is credited with discovering THC in 1964 and later identified the endocannabinoid system, will continue his research with the center.

Dr. Joseph Tam, the director of the center, said the 27 researchers at Hebrew University will work with specialists at the Hadassah Medical Center to study agriculture, chemistry, pharmacology, chemical development, and drug delivery while incorporating fields of nanotechnology, and pain and brain science.

“There is so much interest in cannabis at the moment, but a lot remains unknown about its mechanism of action,” Tam said in the report, noting that the center also plans on collaborating with scientists and biotech companies. “My belief is that our multidisciplinary center will lead global research and answer these questions.”

Last month, prior to its official opening, the center signed a memorandum of understanding with The Lambert Institute, an Australian medical cannabis research center at the University of Sydney. It had also funded research projects on the use of cannabinoids on traumatic brain injury, the effects of a cannabis extract on pain and painkillers, and the cancer-fighting potential of a cannabinoid receptor.

Mechoulam indicated that the center will study cannabinoids as a potential therapy for cancer, head injury, bone formation, obesity, and addiction.

“It has been shown that modulating endocannabinoid activity has therapeutic potential in a large number of human diseases, hence research on cannabinoids may lead to very significant advances, not only in basic science but also in therapeutics,” he said.

Tam said that the cannabis research being conducted in Israel is made possible, in part, by an increasingly lenient political environment.

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