Raphael Mechoulam Death – Raphael Mechoulam, an Israeli scientist whose work advanced knowledge of cannabis and the chemical elements responsible for the drug’s characteristic high, has passed away. According to American Friends of the Hebrew University, Mechoulam, 92, passed away in Jerusalem at the beginning of this month. The initial isolation of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive component of the cannabis plant, was one of Mechoulam’s contributions to the field of marijuana studies. He was given the moniker “father of cannabis research.” for his contributions. Asher Cohen, the president of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where Mechoulam had long held an academic position, described him as a “sharp-minded and charismatic pioneer,”
“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,” said Cohen. “This is a sad day for the academic community and for the university.” In Bulgaria, Mechoulam was born in 1930. He moved to Israel in 1949 and started studying chemistry right away. Mechoulam stated in a lecture at the university in 2018 that morphine and cocaine had been segregated from opium and coca, the plants in which the chemicals naturally occur, for a very long time when he first started his research career in the 1960s. Yet, marijuana and hashish could not be studied academically in chemical or pharmacology labs due to legal restrictions.
Therefore, in 1962, Mechoulam and his research team, who were then at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, began to concentrate on the drug just as it was about to experience an unprecedented rise in popularity. He claimed that initially, his crew got the marijuana they needed from the neighborhood cops. Although arguments regarding the drug’s safety persisted during his tenure, marijuana gained both appeal and notoriety. Marijuana was classified as a “controlled substance.” in the US in 1970. Nonetheless, Mechoulam maintained his studies for several years after relocating to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1972. He attempted to demonstrate the medication’s potential for use in medicine, particularly the treatment of autoimmune disorders and epilepsy, and to extract and synthesize other chemicals in the drug.
And his studies contributed to demonstrating that, despite the debate surrounding its usage in the latter half of the 20th century, people have been using cannabis for thousands of years. He and his group conducted research on the ashes of a young woman who had passed after giving delivery in a 4th-century Roman grave, and they then published their findings in the journal Nature in 1993. In an interview with NPR that year, he stated, “They obviously gave her something to ease the pain or to do something with the hemorrhage she was apparently undergoing. We thought that it might be cannabis,” An analysis showed his hunch was correct, providing the first ever physical evidence of the drug’s use in the ancient Middle East. “We have no doubts about it,” he said.
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