Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Are We Missing Something?

"The Scientist" 

This weekend will be the Inaugural Institute of Cannabis Research (ICR) at Colorado State University-Pueblo, this international, multidisciplinary cannabis research conference set for April 28-30th 2017, on the Colorado State University-Pueblo campus.  The keynote address on Saturday will be presented by none other than, “The Scientist”, Raphael Mechoulam, Ph.D., who is considered “the father of cannabis research.”

The ICR conference will celebrate a myriad of research and intellectual pursuits from internationally renowned speakers and pioneering cannabis scholars. The preliminary program provides information on more than 70 scheduled presentations from 100+ state, national, and international cannabis researchers from private research organizations, prominent universities, state and national government agencies, and industry representatives.

Dr. Mechoulam is a pioneer in the field of cannabis research and a discoverer of the endocannabinoid system. Dr. Mechoulam’s keynote address at the ICR conference is titled: The Endocannabinioid System: A Look Back and Ahead. Raphael Mechoulam, Ph.D., who is considered “the father of cannabis research,” will present the inaugural Mechoulam Lecture, which will commemorate the groundbreaking discoveries that have made contemporary cannabis science possible. Dr. Mechoulam is professor in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry at the Institute of Drug Research at Hebrew University in Israel.
Dr. Mechoulam is an Israeli organic chemist and professor of Medicinal Chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel. He was among the first to complete the total synthesis of the major plant cannabinoids Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabidiol, cannabigerol, and others. Dr. Mechoulam also played a key role in the isolation of the first described endocannabinoid anandamide.
Prof. Mechoulam received his Masters Degree in Biochemistry from the Hebrew University in 1952 and his Ph.D. from the Weizmann Institute in 1958 where he studied under Professor F. Sondheimer. He completed his postdoctoral research at the Rockefeller Institute. Dr. Mechoulam is currently with the Institute for Drug Research at the Faculty of Medicine at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He is former Rector of the University and is a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences.
Dr. Mechoulam has received many honours, including honorary doctorates from Spain and USA, the Israel Prize in 2000 and the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. In 2012, he received the Rothschild Prize. His research interests are in the field of the chemistry and biological activity of natural products and medicinal agents. His main contributions are in the field of the constituents of cannabis and the endogenous cannabinoids found in the brain and the periphery. He has published extensively on their pharmacological activities.

About The Documentary, “The Scientist”, His Life And Work
In 1964 Professor Raphael Mechoulam was on a public bus carrying 5 kilos of premium Lebanese hashish in a plastic bag to his laboratory at the Weitzmann Institute in Rehovot. That noticeably fragrant bus ride turned out to be a fateful one, as Mechoulam used his haul to discover the psychoactive component in Cannabis, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It was a discovery that had eluded scientists for decades. Twenty years later, Mechoulam ascertained that THC interacts with the largest receptor system in the human body, the endocannabinoid system (ECS). He then found that the human brain produces its very own cannabis—a chemical that they named anandamide after the Sanskrit word ananda, “bliss.”

Though still unknown to most researchers and medical professionals because of the worldwide prohibition of marijuana, the importance of the endocannabinoid system is growing daily. It has been called the “supercomputer that regulates homeostasis in the human body.” Because receptors are found throughout the brain and in every major organ, this system is thought to be involved in most disease state. This is one reason that cannabis treats so many different illnesses. Mechoulam has been investigating this compound longer and more thoughtfully than any other scientist. He has unearthed cannabis’s role in treating seizure disorders, schizophrenia and PTSD, as well as on other functions that govern human health like infant-maternal bonding. He has been awarded numerous scientific prizes and is universally acknowledged as the “father of cannabinoid medicine.” Despite these accolades, Mechoulam’s name isn’t known outside of a small group of researchers.
“The Scientist is a documentary that traces the story of Mechoulam from his early days as a child of the Holocaust in Bulgaria, through his immigration to Israel, and his career as the chief investigator into the chemistry and biology of the world’s most misunderstood plant.
“When Darwin finished his ideas on evolution he put them in a drawer for 20 years because he feared what the Church would say,” says Zach Klein, the writer, producer, editor of The Scientist. “Mechoulam was never vilified because he is such a great scientist, but the world has been slow to understand his findings because of the demonization that cannabis suffered since the beginning of the war on drugs.”
Klein first met Professor Mechoulam when researching the ways Cannabis reduces the symptoms of chemotherapy that his mother was experiencing while being treated for breast cancer. That led to his first documentary, Prescribed Grass, which aired on Israeli television in 2009 and prompted health officials in that country to launch what is today the world’s largest state-sponsored medical marijuana program. (Per EurpoaWire on July 31, 2015)

The Facebook Event Page, is hosted by Pueblo Cannabis Society, The Pueblo Cannabis Society is a new, Pueblo-based discussion group that will monitor the social impacts of legal cannabis on Pueblo (CO) and its citizens.
Find Event Tickets Here.
Some of the World–Renowned International Prizes Awarded to Dr. Raphael Mechoulam:

- Somach Sachs Prize for “best research by a scientist below 35 at the Weizmann Institute”, 1964.
- Distinguished Visiting Professorship, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, 1982-1983.
- “Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior” Nov. 1991 issue dedicated to R.Mechoulam. for achievements in the cannabinoid field.
- Elected, Member Israel Academy of Sciences, 1994.
- David R. Bloom Prize, 1998, for “excellence in pharmaceutical research”, Hebrew University.
- The International Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS) establishes an annual award to be named The R. Mechoulam Annual Award in Cannabinoid Research, 1999.
- Israel Prize in Exact Sciences – chemistry, 2000.
- Ariens Award and Lecture. 2000. Dutch Pharmacological Society sponsored by Solvay Pharmaceuticals. Amsterdam.
- Doctor Honoris Causa, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, 2001.
- Elected, Honorary Member, Israel Society of Physiology and Pharmacology, 2002.
- Heinrich Wieland Prize, to promote research on “lipids and related substances in the fields of Chemistry, Biochemistry, Physiology, and Clinical Medicine”, Munich, Germany, 2004.
- Henrietta Szold Prize for achievements in medical research, Tel-Aviv Municipality, June 2005.
- Doctor Honoris Causa, Complutense University, Madrid, 2006. ECNP (European College of Neuropsychopharmaclogy), Lifetime Achievement Award, Paris, 2006.
- ICRS (International Cannabinoid Research Society) Special Award For lifetime achievements in the cannabinoid field, Cologne, Germany, 2007.
- Israel Chemical Society Prize for excellence in research, Feb. 2009.
- Hebrew University, Medical Faculty Prize for excellence in research, June 2010.
- Eicosanoid Research Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award, Seattle, Washington, September, 2011.
- NIDA Discovery Award, NIH, Bethesda, September 2011.
- Rothschild Prize by Keren Hanadiv (The Rothschild Family Foundation), Jerusalem (in the Knesset) 2012.
- EMET Prize – to be presented by the Prime Minister in November, 2012.