The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (YT screen capture)

Prof. Raphael Mechoulam, ‘Father of Cannabis Research,’ Dead at 92

Professor Raphael Mechoulam, the “Father of Cannabis Research” who discovered THC in the 1960s, passed away on Friday at the age of 92.

Full story after the jump.

Professor Raphael Mechoulam, the “Father of Cannabis Research,” passed away on Friday at the age of 92, the American Friends of the Hebrew University announced in a statement. His groundbreaking discoveries in the 1960s — including the first-ever discovery and isolation of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC — lay the framework for modern cannabinoid research.

Prof. Mechoulam was born on November 5, 1930, in Sofia, Bulgaria. He emigrated to Israel with his family in 1949 where he began to study chemistry. He received his Ph.D. at the Weizmann Institute in 1958, conducted postdoctoral studies at the Rockefeller Institute in New York from 1959 to 1960, then joined the Weizman Institute’s scientific staff from 1960 to 1965, which led to his groundbreaking discovery.

He ultimately moved to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and became a full professor there in 1972.

“Most of the human and scientific knowledge about cannabis was accumulated thanks to Prof. Mechoulam. He paved the way for groundbreaking studies and initiated scientific cooperation between researchers around the world. Mechoulam was a sharp-minded and charismatic pioneer. This is a sad day for the academic community and for the university. I send my sincere condolences to his family.” — Asher Cohen, Hebrew University President, in a statement

Prof. Mechoulam’s work also revealed the endocannabinoid system, a vast chemical network in each of our bodies that reacts with both endogenous cannabinoids, which occur naturally in our bodies, and other cannabinoids such as THC or CBD.


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