The Fascinating Story of How THC Was Discovered
How THC Was Discovered
In 1963, Israeli researcher Raphael Mechoulam isolated a compound that would famously become known worldwide as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), but how THC was discovered is a fascinating and largely forgotten story.
Mechoulam began studying the Cannabis plant as there was very little scientific research being done on how using Cannabis affects the human body and mind. The organic chemist found a niche in Cannabinoid research, and he began examining the Cannabis plant on his limited budget.
“A scientist should try to find a topic of importance,” Mechulam explains in the documentary The Scientist.
The story Mechulam tells about how he became a pioneer in Cannabinoids is a truly a unique one.
Where did Raphael Mechoulam acquire the Cannabis to begin his investigation in 1963? From the local police department.
Mechulam recalls the director of the institute he worked at requesting a study sample by phone from the local police department. Incredibly, no government paperwork or oversight was used for Raphael Mechoulam to pick up five kilograms of Lebanese hashish for his research purposes.
Even more incredibly than walking into the police station to pick up five kilograms of hashish – Mechoulam proceeded to take it back to the lab on the local bus because he didn’t drive.
This was in 1963 when few people knew anything about Cannabis, but Mechoulam acknowledges even back then it was probably illegal for him to walk out of a police station with that much hashish; even if it was for research purposes.
When requesting additional hashish, the procedure evolved into simply filling out a ministry form, having it signed by the minister over coffee, taking the signed form to the police, having another coffee, and then picking up the hashish.
The tale to acquire the research hashish ends with Mechoulam casually admitting the hashish was kept in an unlocked lab cupboard.
“We didn’t have a safe.”
Once THC was discovered, Mechoulam had a social gathering where some of his friends were given 10mg THC in the form of a cake baked by his wife. Other friends were not given the THC cake and thus began the experiment. Mechoulam noted during the party, “People were differently affected.”
After many years of research and study, the Grandfather of Cannabis Research remains a firm believer in the idea of the Cannabis entourage effect; Cannabinoids working together to create a complete therapeutic effect.
The Scientist is available for viewing on YouTube, uploaded by producers Fudacion Canna, and is a excellent documentary not only on the person who has dedicated their life to Cannabis research, but also for people who want to learn more about Cannabis, Cannabinoids and endocannabinoids.
Watch The Scientist.
Peace Naturals non irradiated medical Cannabis variety Raphael is named in Mechoulam’s honour.
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