Last updated on: 10/13/2011 | Author:

Raphael Mechoulam, PhD Biography

Lionel Jacobson Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and Natural Products at Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Pro to the question "Should Marijuana Be a Medical Option?"

“My answer is ‘yes’, but as with any other potent drug, its use should be regulated.

1. The psychoactive component in it, namely tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which we isolated, elucidated the structure and synthesized decades ago, should be within certain limits, between 5-15%. The major non psychoactive component, cannabidiol (CBD), should be present at about 5% at least. CBD lowers the anxiety (or even psychotic experiences) caused by THC in some patients and has a positive impact on acute memory effects caused by THC. It has positive effects of its own, in particular anti-inflammatory effects.

2. Marijuana is not a cure-all drug. It should be prescribed for well defined medical conditions.

3. Further clinical research on marijuana – and its components or mixtures of its components – should be encouraged to determine the medical conditions for which it can be used or not used.”

E-mail to, Oct. 13, 2011

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Head, Natural Sciences Division, Israel Academy of Sciences, 2007-present
  • Honorary Member, Israel Society of Physiology and Pharmacology, 2002-present
  • Elected Member, Israel Academy of Sciences, 1994-present
  • Lionel Jacobson Professor, Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Natural Products, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1966-present
  • Doctor Honoris Causa, Complutense University (Spain), 2006
  • President, International Cannabinoid Research Society, 2001
  • Doctor Honoris Causa, Ohio State University, 2001
  • Visiting Professor, Department of Pharmacology, Medical College of Richmond, 1993-1994
  • Pro-Rector, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1983-1985
  • Distinguished Visiting Professor, Ohio State University, 1982-1983
  • Rector, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1979-1982
  • Dr. Mechoulam discovered, isolated, and elucidated the structure of THC, the main psychoactive component of marijuana, in 1967
  • Junior and later Senior Scientist, Weizmann Institute of Science, 1960-1965
  • Post-doctoral Researcher, Rockefeller University, 1959-1960
  • PhD, Synthetic Chemistry, Weizmann Institute of Science (Israel), 1956-1958
  • MS, Chemistry, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, date unknown
  • Recipient of the NIDA Discovery Award, Sep. 2011
  • Recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Eicosanoid Research Society, 2011
  • Recipient of the Award for Lifetime Achievements in Research from Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 2010
  • Recipient of the Israel Chemical Society Prize for Excellence in Research, Feb. 2009
  • Recipient of a Lifetime Acheivement Award from the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology, 2006
  • Recipient of the Henrietta Szold Prize from the Tel-Aviv Municipality for acheivements in medical research, June 2005
  • Recipient of the Heinrich Wieland Prize to promote research on “lipids and related substances in the fields of chemistry, biochemistry, physiology, and clinical medicine,” 2004
  • Recipient of the Ariens Award from the Dutch Pharmacological Society, 2000
  • Recipient of the Israel Prize in Exact Sciences – Chemistry, 2000
  • The International Cannabinoid Research Society established an annual award named “The R. Mechoulam Annual Award in Cannabinoid Research,” 1999
  • Recipient of the David R. Bloom Prize from Hebrew University for “excellence in pharmaceutical research,” 1998
  • Recipient of the Hanus Medal from the Czech Chemical Society in recognition of contribution to cannabinoid chemistry, 1998
  • Recipient of the Hanf Prize from the German government for “the discovery of THC and lasting research on Cannabis – anandamides,” 1997
  • Recipient of the Kolthof Prize in Chemistry from The Technion (Israel), 1994
  • Recipient of the Somach Sach Prize for “best research by a scientist below 35 at the Weizmann Institute,” 1964
Quoted in:
  1. Should Cannabidiol (CBD) Be a Medical Option?