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How the ‘Godfather of cannabis’ has something else up his sleeve

Raphael Mechoulam first discovered THC – but now he’s onto something which he believes could have even more medical potential, writes Jessica Brown.



The professor of medicinal chemistry’s latest discovery is cannabidiolic acid methyl ester, a patented synthetic compound derived from a cannabis acid.

There are many cannabidoil acids in the cannabis plant, but they’re relatively unknown because they’re unstable substances, which makes them very difficult to research.

Mechoulam, of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, developed a method of modifying these acids so they become stable.

This means that synthetic acids yet to be tested could be used in pharmaceutical experiments and become part of new drugs to treat health issues.

So far, Mechoulam has shown that cannabidiolic acid methyl ester, which is the stable precursor to CBD, could suppress symptoms of anxiety and chemotherapy-induced nausea, and alleviate symptoms of with IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) and psoriasis better than drugs currently given to patients for these conditions. It could also improve symptoms of depression.

There are no known side effects of cannabidiolic acid methyl ester, and Mechoulam hopes that it could replace steroids and opioids.

Do not be surprised when cannabidiolic methyl ester starts to replace cannabidiol slowly as the natural cannabidiol of importance,” he told Medical Cannabis Network.

However, Mechoulam started looking at cannabinoids in the 1960s, and the fruits of this work have only recently made real change, with the US and UK approving Epidiolex, a drug containing cannabidiol as a treatment for epileptic seizures only within the last year.

Some experts are cautious, and says there’s not enough evidence suggesting these stabilised acids to convince pharmaceutical companies of its claims.

But Mechoulam is confident his method of stabilising acids in the cannabis plant could go on to help millions of people; it might just be another waiting game.


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