A professor of Hebrew University in Jerusalem was interested in the scientific properties of cannabis since the 1960s and started his own reserach. His discovery led to the understanding of what endocannabinoid system is.
The discovery of THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive component of cannabis, was a real revolution because scientists revealed the endocannabinoid system in the human organism and the existence of cannabinoid receptors- CB1 and CB2.
Endocannabinoid system was extremely important discovery as it turned out to be involved in the regulation of mood, the perception of pain, and memory.
So what is endocannabinoid system?
Scanning revealed that it is a system of endocannabinoid receptors which are located all over the body, not in the brain as it was presumed earlier. This system was created for natural endocannabinoids (anandamide and 2-AG) which human body produces regularly.
This is the map of endocannabinoid receptors in human organism. CB1 and CB2 are marked yellow.
It means that our bodies produce cannabinoids almost identical to those in marijuana and that our body is hard-wired for cannabis in some sense.
So even THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis, CBD, and other cannabinoids fit like a key to the lock in our body.
CBD or cannabidiol was another important discovery of Mechoulam because of its zero psychoactive effect and impressive therapeutic properties.
The funny thing is that professor Mechoulam had never tried marijuana. His first sample for research was given to him by a police officer
And Mechoulam acknowledges the fact that it was illegal and he was breaking the law. But a professor can do a lot for the progress of the science. Fortunately, his next sample he received from the Ministry of Health of Israel directly.
He claims that neither he nor his students were interested in trying cannabis. The professor knew that if someone had discovered that his research team was smoking weed, the research would have stopped.
National Institute of Health and First Smuggling of THC to America
When the professor made the discovery of THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis, smoking weed was illegal in the USA so nobody wanted to give a grant to the person for studying medical marijuana. Then the hippies changed everything making marijuana one of the most common American drugs.
National Institute of Health was forced to go to Israel to consult professor Mechoulam as he knew almost everything about cannabis at that time. The professor gave the first samples of pure THC to American scientists. Ironically, first THC must have been smuggled.
Of course, now the situation is completely different when weed is legal in the majority of American states. Israel still remains the pioneer of cannabis research with Britain following in footsteps. Thus, Oxford University is ready to spend £10 million on marijuana research. Britain also has a marijuana-licensed program of treatment for spasms reduction for MS.
Now the professor can study marijuana freely despite the fact that he is retired. He works as a consultant to the Israeli Ministry of Health. In Israel, more than 27.000 patients receive medical marijuana treatment currently.