Hebrew University and its affiliated Hadassah Medical Centre announced the launch of the Multidisciplinary Centre on Cannabinoid Research recently. Israel has been at the forefront of cannabis research for decades with Raphael Mechoulam discovering tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, in 1964.
Cannabis has come a very long way since then, and Jewish News reports on the medical center dedicated to conducting research into the biological effects and possible commercial applications of cannabis. This is a dream come true for 27 of the best cannabis researchers in the world.
The global leader in cannabis research
The University in Jerusalem has its sights set on becoming the leading institute of knowledge in the rapidly growing and flourishing field of cannabis as a medicine.
Dr. Joseph Tam, director of the center, said he believes the multidisciplinary center will most definitely take the lead in global research, and provide much-needed answers to many pressing questions. No other center is taking such a broad view to researching cannabis. The center will include agriculture, biochemistry, and chemistry, drug delivery, chemical development and pharmacology.
It is about pioneering and collaboration
The center will also gain knowledge from other specialists on campus. These academics will come from fields such as pain and brain science and nanotechnology. Collaboration will be encouraged with scientists and biotech companies across the world. For instance, a memorandum of understanding was signed with the Lambert Initiative from the University of Sydney in Australia.
Professor Raphael Mechoulam, 86, part of the team at Hebrew University, identified not only the cannabinoids but also the endocannabinoid system of receptors found throughout the body, which interacts with the cannabinoids in cannabis.
Multidisciplinary combining skills
Mechoulam said that modulating endocannabinoid activity has great therapeutic potential in a wide range of human diseases. It is therefore believed that research into the cannabinoids could lead to highly significant advantages, not only for science in general but for therapeutics. He said the Multidisciplinary Centre addresses a wide spectrum of research directions. Cannabis is a promising solution to cancer, can treat head injuries, helps with bone formation, obesity, addiction, and more.
Israel can keep its leading position in cannabis research because of the great change in the political environment and a general shift in mindset. Health Minister Yaakov Litzman relaxed the requirements for obtaining samples, while the Agriculture and Health ministries have allocated $2 million in funds to research into growing cannabis, its biochemistry, and use as medicine.
Finally, the world is catching up
Most recently, ministers backed legislation to decriminalize recreational use. This center will help to clear the great confusion that surrounds medical marijuana. It has the potential to put the science in place to back anecdotal and preclinical evidence. It is high time that patients should know exactly what can be cured with cannabis and what cannot. Many charlatans are using the confusion to extort money from the desperate, and this should end.
It is wonderful to think the world is finally catching up with Professor Mechoulam. After more than five decades, he will finally see his work come to fruition.