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The Godfather of Cannabis Research to Speak at ICBC Berlin

Raphael Mechoulam

The International Cannabis Business Conference has featured movers and shakers across the cannabis community since the events first began just over four years. ago. Former U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders has been on the main stage along with members of Congress, prominent party leaders, industry moguls, renowned activists, and leading medical researchers. The upcoming ICBC in Berlin, Germany, being held from March 31st to April 2nd, 2019, will feature one of the most influential people in the cannabis space-Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, the Godfather of Cannabis Research.

By discovering Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), one of at least 113 known cannabinoids contained in the cannabis plant, Dr. Mechoulam started the medical revolution that has transformed the debate around cannabis and the lives of so many people. There are great researchers doing tremendous work today unlocking the benefits of cannabis, and they all stand on the shoulders of Mechoulam.

Newsweek caught up with the good doctor last year, detailing how he got his start researching cannabis, which kick-started his scientific journey:

Raphael Mechoulam started his first marijuana project by walking into a police station and asking for some confiscated weed—for research purposes.

“I went there, drank coffee with the policemen and got 5 kilos of cannabis, hashish,” he said.

Decades later, the 87-year-old Israeli chemist is known widely as the “father of marijuana research,” after he used those 5 kilos to discover THC (marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient) in the 1960s, and then later discovered the structure of CBD (its non-psychoactive ingredient, often used for medicinal purposes). Over the years, the U.S.’s National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has funded much of his extensive research, including examining the effects of marijuana on epilepsy, nausea, anxiety and schizophrenia.

Israel21c’s feature on Dr. Mechoulam details how Israeli’s political climate allowed his research to move forward and how his work has directly benefitted Israeli patients.

Working in a small country certainly has its positive aspects,” Mechoulam says. “It couldn’t have happened in the United States, because the laws were too strict. In Israel there’s a lot of shouting, but in the end you can make it.”


Based on the discoveries he led, the Israel Ministry of Health set up a program to provide approvals for certain patients to have access to medical cannabis

“I give THC to Hadassah free of charge, and a few physicians use it, for example for bone marrow transplant patients,” Mechoulam says.

Deservedly, Dr. Mechoulam has received awards across decades for his monumental work, including the Somach Sachs Prize for “best research by a scientist under age 35 at the Weizmann Institute” in 1964, the David R. Bloom Prize in 1998 for “excellence in pharmaceutical research” from the Hebrew University, the Israel Prize in Exact Sciences in 2000, Hebrew University, Medical Faculty Prize for excellence in research in 2010, and the Rothschild Prize awarded to outstanding researchers in 2012. You can learn more about Dr. Mechoulam, including his documentary, The Scientist” on his website.

It is an honor for the ICBC to have Dr. Mechoulam keynote our Berlin event. Please join us in learning from one of the important figures in the cannabis field and thanking him for helping so many lives.

The International Cannabis Business Conference first heads to San Francisco this February 7-8 before heading onto Barcelona, Berlin, Zurich, and Vancouver. Early-bird tickets are on sale for all of our 2019 events.

Featured photo courtesy of The Scientist, Dr. Mechoulam’s documentary about his work.


Godfather of Cannabis Research, Hebrew University, Israel21c, Joycelyn Elders, Raphael Mechoulam