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The world’s foremost researcher on medical cannabis is coming to Colorado


October 28, 2016

The “Father of Cannabis Research” is coming to Colorado.

Raphael Mechoulam will present a lecture at the inaugural Institute of Cannabis Research Conference this coming April in Pueblo, officials for Colorado State University-Pueblo announced Tuesday.

Mechoulam, an organic chemist and professor at Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel, is a prolific researcher who discovered the endocannabinoid system and has spent decades studying cannabis. He is scheduled to speak as part of CSU-Pueblo’s first conference, April 28-30, 2017, for its newly formed Institute of Cannabis Research (ICR).

“I could not be prouder of how our hard work and willingness to move forward with the Institute already is paying dividends by attracting the attention of such a renowned researcher in Dr. Mechoulam,” CSU-Pueblo president Lesley Di Mare said in a statement. “His appearance in association with our inaugural conference will bring global visibility and provide the impetus for the Institute’s future success.”

 

CSU-Pueblo officials on Tuesday noted Mechoulam’s achievements:

His main contributions are in the field of the constituents of cannabis and the endogenous cannabinoids found in the brain and in peripheral organs, such as kidneys, lungs, etc. He has published extensively on their pharmacological activities, and his research has been cited more than 40,000 times. His research interests are in the field of the chemistry and biological activity of natural products and medicinal agents.

Mechoulam received his master’s degree in biochemistry from the Hebrew University in 1952 and his Ph.D. from the Weizmann Institute. He completed his postdoctoral research at the Rockefeller Institute. Mechoulam has received many honors, including honorary doctorates in Spain and the United States, the Israel Prize in 2000, and the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. In 2012, he received the Rothschild Prize for attaining new horizons in understanding the chemistry of natural substances that influence human behavior. He has led the study of the chemical basis of the activity of cannabis, and in more recent years, in the elucidation of its physiological effects and potential for the development of new drugs.

In 1963, Mechoulam elucidated the structure of cannabidiol (CBD), one of the most medically relevant compounds found in cannabis. Shortly thereafter, he isolated and elucidated the structure of the active component of cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in 1964. Nearly three decades later, in 1992 and 1995, he isolated and identified the endogenous cannabinoids, anandamide and 2-AG, which together with specific receptors form the endocannabinoid system – a major endogenous biochemical system found in the brain and peripheral organs that is involved in a wide range of physiological functions.

Mechoulam will present the eponymous Mechoulam Lecture at the conference, officials said. Separately, the institute put out a request for 250-word abstracts for presentations, panel discussions or papers on aspects such as public-health impacts, ethics, regulation, scientific studies, industrial studies and social impacts.

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