Israel has emerged as a global hub for marijuana research, thanks in large part to Professor Raphael Mechoulam, often referred to as the grandfather of marijuana research. Back in the 1960s, when the chemistry of cannabis was largely unknown, Mechoulam, a chemist, became intrigued by its potential.

Despite marijuana being illegal in Israel at the time, Mechoulam embarked on his research journey by obtaining five kilos of hashish from the police. Transporting it via public transport, he conducted groundbreaking experiments, isolating THC and CBD, two key compounds in marijuana believed to have significant medicinal properties.

Today, Israel leads the way in medical marijuana research and application. The plant is used to alleviate pain, aid cancer patients, treat sleep disorders, epilepsy, and digestive issues. Ongoing studies explore its potential in addressing conditions like Parkinson’s and Tourette’s syndrome.

While research in the United States faces regulatory hurdles due to marijuana’s classification as a Schedule 1 drug, Mechoulam’s work demonstrates that progress is possible. Over four decades, he has received support from institutions like the National Institute of Health. Additionally, Israel’s Ministry of Health has licensed thousands of patients to use medical marijuana and approved numerous studies to explore its efficacy in treating various illnesses, including PTSD, chronic pain, Crohn’s disease, and cancer.

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