Israel aims to cement its legacy as a medical marijuana research hub with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s launch of the Multidisciplinary Center on Cannabinoid Research.
The newfound center plans to be a worldwide hub for cannabis research in the study of cannabinoids, endocannabinoids, and medical marijuana. The program will center its studies around ailments like “cancer, pain, inflammation and stress management” along with cannabis’ relationship to “immunity, metabolism, drug delivery, pharmaceutical chemistry, neuroscience and plant science and genetics.”
The program is helmed by its director Joseph Tam, who told The Jerusalem Post that “We feel incredibly fortunate to team up with a vast number of scientists working together on this expanding field of medicine with the significant potential to discover new therapies based on cannabinoids.”
In an email response to Marijuana.com, Tam added that:
The establishment of the Center that coordinates the research activities of multiple research laboratories at the Hebrew University into interdisciplinary networks, and fosters collaborations between its participating laboratories and well-established groups conducting research on cannabinoids, endocannabinoids and medical cannabis around the globe, will definitely cement Israel as a leader in Cannabis Research and Development.
According to Tam, all research materials (cannabis) for the program would be provided by the nation’s legal medical marijuana facilities, monitored by Israel’s Ministry of Health. Amongst the program’s efforts, Dr. Eshed Williams and Professor Ostersetzer-Biran will “conduct research on the genetic analysis of Cannabis.”
Israel has long been regarded as a global leader in medical cannabis research. In the 1960s, Israeli scientist Dr. Raphael Mechoulam became the first person to isolate and synthesize both CBD and THC.
Mechoulam, who was named the program’s professor emeritus of medical chemistry, sees this research as pivotal to advancing therapies related to cannabis. Mechoulam told The Jerusalem Post that “it has been shown that modulating endocannabinoid activity has therapeutic potential in a large number of human diseases; hence research on cannabinoids may lead to very significant advances, not only in basic science but also in therapeutics.”