Dr. Raphael Mechoulam — the Israeli cannabis researcher credited with the first synthesis of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), as well as the discovery of the endocannabinoid system — may have made cannabis history again. Last week, at the annual cannabis research conference CannMed in Pasadena, California, the 88-year-old organic chemist and his research team unveiled their latest discovery: the ability to synthesize stable cannabinoid acids for medicinal research and drug production.
The discovery was, according to an NBC report, a combined effort by Dr. Mechoulam and his team; cannabis startup EPM; six universities throughout Israel, Canada, and the United States; a topical cream manufacturer; and a testing lab.
“This is exciting and unprecedented research. We have taken the unstable molecules of the cannabis plant and synthesized them to provide a stable, consistent basis for researching new therapies across a wide range of medical needs – from CNS disorders to inflammation and many more. In addition, we have provided several delivery mechanisms including tablets, topical applications and others to facilitate several approaches. Our work is a catalyst for the development of potential new therapies from a source long thought to have huge potential.” — Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, head of research for EPM, in a press release
The development is critical because cannabinoid acids are significantly more potent than typical cannabinoids (CBDA is about a thousand times more potent than CBD, for example), but the plant’s naturally occurring acids are very unstable and had so far eluded chemical synthesis.
“For the first time ever, pharmaceutical companies will have access to a wide variety of patent protected, stable cannabinoid molecules synthesized to provide stability and consistency for use in developing new medicines, with numerous potential therapeutic applications,” Reshef Swisa, the chief executive officer for EPM, said in a press release.