A scientist known as the ‘father of medical cannabis research’ has unveiled a process to synthesize stable cannabinoid acids for medicinal research and drug production.
Israeli professor Raphael Mechoulam discovered the human endo-cannabinoid system in the 1960s and has spent the last six decades unlocking the secrets of medical cannabis.
Now the 88-year-old has revealed a family of synthetic, stable cannabinoid acid molecules with a higher potency than existing cannabinoids.
Professor Mechoulam, EPM head of research, told attendees at CannMed 2019 in Pasadena, California, that cannabidiolic acid methyl ester (HU-580) could be more effective at treating conditions such as depression than CBD – with no side effects. His team’s research also showed it has potent nausea-reducing effects, reports Health Europa.
He said: “There are many things that are still not known in the field of cannabis. The plant produces a group of compounds called cannabinoid acids. The acids were not investigated until recently, not very thoroughly at least, because they are not stable; they break down.
“The medical industry, the major medical industry, wants to have pure compounds that have been investigated and thoroughly tested. So, a few years ago we decided to go ahead and try to stabilise these acids, and we were able, chemically, to stabilise them. Now it is possible to investigate them.
“The company that I work with, EPM, works on the acids of the cannabinoids. We are looking into the activities of these acids and they seem to be important and very important particularly in a variety of fields.
“Chances are that we have something of considerable medical importance, and I am sure that there will be ways to introduce these compounds as medical agents.”
Raphael Mechoulam was born in Bulgaria in 1930 and immigrated with his family to Israel in 1949 where he later studied chemistry.
Mechoulam and his research group have succeeded in the total synthesis of the major plant cannabinoids THC, CBD, cannabigerol, and others.
He is professor of Medicinal Chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel, a hub for medical cannabis research.