Israel has been a global leader in medical cannabis research and development for decades and has made some of the groundbreaking discoveries. In cannabis innovation, Israel is up to 10 years ahead of other countries. All these thanks to Prof. Raphael Mechoulam who was the first to identify and isolate the active medicinal compound THC in the cannabis plant which changed the status and legal ground of this drug.
As a young post-doctoral student Raphael Mechoulam was reading the literature on cannabis. He was surprised to find that while the active compound in morphine had been isolated from opium 100 years before and cocaine had been separated from cocoa leaves at the same time, the active component of marijuana was unknown.
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It was this mystery that motivated him to inquire into the chemistry of cannabis in the early 60s. Ever since the Jerusalemite scientist at the Hebrew University, Professor Raphael Mechoulam, has been nominated for over 25 academic awards.
Legal cannabis sales worldwide totaled $150 billion in 2016, and sales in the United States alone are expected to reach $21.8 billion by 2020.
Israel is at the center of this huge growth. The country ecosystem of cannabis support researchers, farmers, pharma, entrepreneurs, and government policies.
The Hebrew University has a multidisciplinary center on cannabinoid research, Ariel University has opened a course on the use of medical cannabis, the Volcani Agricultural Research Institute is building a national center for medical cannabis research. Earlier this year the government committee approved cannabis exports. It also announced plans to decriminalize personal marijuana use.
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