by Avraham Hermon
Israeli cannabis researcher Professor Raphael Mechoulam, passed away last week at the age of 92. He was known for his cannabinoid research, including isolating and determining the structure of one of the most important active compounds in cannabis, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly known as THC.
His research paved the way for many companies active in the cannabis field today.
Aside from publishing many papers on his research, he was listed as an inventor on over 50 patent families. The front page of one of his earlier US patents is shown below.
I spoke with him at a conference dedicated to medical cannabis in Tel Aviv a few years ago, and it impressed me to see that he was active in public speaking and innovating in the cannabis field well into his late 80s. The first time that I met him was in the early 2000s, while working for a company which was developing some of his technology. At the time, the medical cannabis industry in Israel was in its infancy, and his laboratory synthesized and provided “medical cannabis extract” to patients who needed it and couldn’t smoke cannabis.
I asked him how he formulated the extract for administration, and he smiled, looked at me, and said, “We use olive oil. We are in the Land of Israel, after all!” This was a reference to the Bible, Deuteronomy 8:8, which lists 7 fruits associated with the Land of Israel.
His discoveries have helped countless people worldwide. May his memory be a blessing.