Posts Tagged ‘effects of marijuana’

How To: Make Medicated Marijuana Tea

1 Teaspoon of butter


Like other herbs, marijuana may be made into a tea. Boil the water first and pour it over the marijuana. Let it steep for longer than you would for common black tea; approximately an hour and a half.

Add 1 tsp. of marijuana or regular butter. The effects are similar to eating it. It is easy to make marijuana tea and can be combined with mint or any other herbal tea flavors to enhance it’s taste.

THC is only very slightly soluble in boiling water. Adding either some alcohol, oil, or butter to the mix will help the THC dissolve. An ounce of whole milk or a half ounce of hard liquor to a cup of boiling water increases the tea’s potency quite a bit. A chai-type drink, made with marijuana leaves, spices, butter and milk would dissolve even more of the THC.

Making tea by just boiling the leaves will not release as much psychoactive THC. Since marijuana’s pigments and terpenoids the components responsible for its flavor are water soluble, this tea looks and smells more promising than its effect will be. However, these non-cannabinoids may also have medicinal properties, as could other water-solubles.

Marijuana Is the Cure for Cancer… But Why Has the Government Hid This Since the 70′s?

cancer, Cannabis Science, Inc, Lynnice Wedewer, Iowa, cure, biotech,

Image Via Link

Biotech company Cannabis Science Inc. (stock tip—>CBIS) which works in the field of developing pharmaceutical cannabis products, has just announced that it has been contacted by Lynnice Wedewer, Ph.D. This might not mean much to you until you understand who this 34 year multiple cancer patient survivor is and how she has been cured of 7 of her 8 cancers due to the major medicinal benefits of medical cannabis. If you ever wondered if the government actually does things in secret then read on for your answer.

In 1979, Iowa passed a medical marijuana law which impacted five children suffering from cancer and who were placed into a cancer treatment program using medical cannabis under the supervision of the University of Iowa. Dr. Wedewer was one of those children and only 1 1/2 years ago did the law in Iowa finally change to allow these patients to finally speak out about their treatment and success stories in battling cancer with medical cannabis.

Again, I predict that more and more people will begin to come forward with research, documentation and other valid proof that marijuana is a beneficial plant and should be regulated. Mind you, the legal availability of marijuana WILL come to the United States but it will come with a price (doesn’t it already though?) decided by those in control of it’s availability and the science behind it’s use, like potential profits to be made by corporations like Cannabis Science, Inc. (a publicly traded company).

The possibility of earnings will easily get more players on the table pushing for the legalization of marijuana but if there is a chance to cure cancers and other diseases then what are we waiting for? Marijuana helps cure cancer and people are dying. That’s a no-brainer if  I’ve ever heard one.

Can Marijuana Help Fight Global Warming?

earth marijuana
Cannabis vs. “Global Broiling”: An Inconvenient Priority

by Paul J. von Hartmann

Human disregard for ancient operating systems of the Natural Order has imposed fundamental imbalances on Earth’s environment over a relatively short span of evolutionary time. In just half a century, critical insults imposed on our atmosphere are resulting in increasing levels of midrange ultraviolet solar radiation (UV-B) “broiling” the surface of the planet. I trust this brief introduction to the problem and an ecologically realistic strategy for resolution will serve to initiate the timely, purposeful, coordinated polar shift in values required to avoid extinction. A proportionate organic agricultural response to the compounding threats is available, if we choose as a global community to survive.

UV-B exposure causes genetic mutation, impaired immune response and abnormal cell growth in plants and animals. Increasing incidence of cancers, cataracts, falling agricultural production, declining forest health and a catastrophic decline in the world’s “indicator species” (including bees, bats, birds, amphibians, coral reefs, juvenile fish species, shrimp & crab larvae, phytoplankton and krill) consistently indicate profound systemic imbalance. Though single causes are impossible to neatly isolate, health trends in all species indicate the synergistic break down resulting from increasing UV-B radiation.

For example, marine science has implicated “enhanced” UV-B in its disorienting effects on solar-sensitive krill, in the Antarctic. Increased UV-B interferes with krill mobility and reproduction, effectively undermining the foundation of the oceanic food chain. On land, half of the crops studied for UV-B sensitivity produced less food under conditions of elevated UV-B. In people, it can take two decades for the effects of a single intense exposure to manifest into symptoms of terminal illness.

Measurements taken by the National Science Foundation Ultraviolet Monitoring Network since 1988 show an alarming increase in UV-B levels. Comparing UV-B intensity between 1990 and 2010, at sea level in San Diego, California, there was an 118% increase in the number of days with UV-B readings rated as “Very High” (11 days at 10+ in 1990, 24 days at 10+ in 2010). At the South Pole (where the krill live) readings as high as 65.78 have been recorded (01/05/2001). When the UV index is greater than 9, UV-B is considered extreme. You will sunburn in less than 15 minutes. Higher elevations receive less protection from the Sun than lower altitudes.

Recent scientific understanding of the protective, “radiative” influence of atmospheric aerosols, historically produced in abundance by the boreal forests, makes further destruction of the northern “Taiga” regions an immediate primary concern. The boreal forest is the world’s largest terrestrial biome, encircling the cold Northern Hemisphere. The forest covers 6.4 million square miles (11 percent of the world’s land surface area) from Siberia to Alaska, Canada, Northern Europe and Northern Asia.

Boreal forests consist mainly of pine, spruce and fir trees. In addition to sequestering and storing atmospheric carbon, the forests exude a fragrant concoction of volatile aerosol compounds, including “monoterpenes.” It’s what you smell when walking through a pine forest.

Monoterpenes rise from the forests into the stratosphere, where they reflect solar radiation away from the planet and “seed” exceptionally bright and persistent clouds. The clouds produce a dilute, monoterpene-enhanced rain. Before they are washed from the sky, monoterpenes serve as a refractive “sunscreen,” shielding the planet against UV-B. Possessing powerful antibiotic, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties, monoterpenes may also serve as a water purifying agent, circulating through the our mycilially integrated aquatic ecosystem.

Since 1950 about half of the Taiga has been lost to logging (primarily to make toilet paper, newsprint, and magazines), oil & gas extraction, flooding (for hydroelectricity) and increasing insect pest infestation (attributable to global warming). Increased instability in the Middle East, advanced technology for working in freezing conditions and increasing, unaccountable extraction methods are expanding natural resource exploitation into areas and technologies previously considered either impossible, too environmentally destructive or unprofitable for plundering. The current rate of logging has been estimated to be five acres per minute, all day, every day. The remaining forests are being catastrophically decimated by unprecedented insect infestations attributable to continuous breeding cycles, made possible by increasing global temperatures.

The vast boreal region that previously served to sequester and store atmospheric carbon, is turning from “carbon sink” to “carbon source.” Additional carbon dioxide and methane are being liberated from warmed soils as accumulated plant matter thaws and decomposes. If this continues, eventually no recovery will be possible. As UV-B levels continue to increase and the planet gets hotter, the impending release of stored carbon on such a vast scale poses an incalculable threat. Release of greenhouse gasses on such a vast scale will exacerbate global warming beyond predictability. More UV-B also increases temperature, which increases UV-B, resulting in further warming. As temperature and radiation levels increase, monoterpene production by the forest declines.

Under present conditions the slow-growing coniferous forests will never recover. As the forests are cut, dry up, get eaten and die, protection from the Sun, afforded by homeostatic concentrations of monoterpenes established over thousands of years, is plummeting. At the same time carbon, methane, chlorine, methyl bromide and other atmospheric “weapons of mass destruction” are quietly eroding protective atmospheric ozone, the precipitous decline in monoterpenes is leaving the planet exposed to unprecedented levels of UV-B.

We truly have nothing to fear but the atmosphere itself. Increasing UV-B is an ubiquitous, immediate threat to individual health and the functional integrity of the ecosystem. Due to the deadly nature of elevated UV-B radiation, credible science appears to indicate that we are faced with imminent global extinction unless all possible remedies are applied in time to have an effect. Unless we are successful in addressing elevated UV-B radiation, it won’t matter much what other problems we do manage to solve.

“Global broiling” by escalating intensities of UV-B requires that all solutions be immediately, objectively considered. There may yet be enough time remaining to implement a biotherapeutic response to the insidious, lethal effects of increasing UV-B. All possible solutions must be prioritized and effectively implemented; Regardless of existing so-called “political realities” determined by obsolete, extinctionistic, economic inertia and critical wealth disparity, misdirecting incumbent, self-empowering, corporate political regimes that perpetuate imposed essential resource scarcity. If we are to avoid synergistic collapse of environment, economics and social structures upon which our lives depend, expansion of the organic arable base for maximum production of atmospheric monoterpenes is a global priority, regardless of any perceived constrictive influence. Freedom to farm “every herb bearing seed” is the first test of religious freedom.

At present, because of the blatantly irrational, counter-productive agricultural prohibition of Cannabis, the most likely remedy to global broiling is not even being considered. Potentially the world’s most widespread, prodigious source of monoterpenes, the Cannabis plant is exceptional in producing copious amounts of 58 monoterpenes in less time, in more soil and climate conditions, with greater ecological and economic benefit than any other agricultural resource on Earth. “Hemp” is also capable of sequestering nine tons of carbon per acre in a growing season, while respiring an abundance of oxygen and detoxifying contaminated soils.

Cannabis is an ancient, highly adaptable, globally distributed, agronomically beneficial, pioneer crop. Six American Presidents have signed Executive Orders identifying “hemp” as being a “strategic food resource,” available by “essential civilian demand.”

Cannabis is inarguably the most complete and potentially available source of organic vegetable protein on Earth. Hemp is the only common seed containing three essential fatty acids (EFAs) in proper proportion for long-term consumption. Hemp is also the only plant that produces complete nutrition and sustainable biofuels from the same harvest. This eliminates the mistakenly perceived trade-off between biofuels energy production and food security. In addition to being the world’s most useful, nutritious and safely therapeutic “herb bearing seed,” hemp also produces biodegradable plastics, paper, cloth, resins, therapeutics, pesticides, and building materials. Cannabis is potentially the most rapidly, globally distributed crop on Earth. In just three growing seasons, Cannabis can adapt itself to virtually any soil and climate condition, excepting the radical extremes.

It is all too apparent that the integrity of Earth’s environment is quietly unraveling under the effects of increasing UV-B radiation. Accelerating loss of atmospheric monoterpenes is an unpredictable, under-regarded “loose cannon on the deck” of Spaceship Earth. Expansion of the arable base, timely production of atmospheric monoterpenes, and rates of carbon sequestration we are able to achieve will largely determine our survival or extinction. A polar shift in values and an expansive global campaign of Cannabis agriculture is urgently needed to compensate for the decline in monoterpenes from the death of the boreal forests.

In the context of compounding, accelerating crises we face in the 21st Century, it appears that ‘time’ is the limiting factor in the equation of survival. The irrational prohibition of ‘marijuana’ has intransigently obstructed timely, objective consideration of Cannabis agriculture, manufacture and trade as proportionate global response for addressing multiple conditions of irreversible imbalance. The most advantageous sequence of remedial measures must be implemented immediately, to effect timely resolution of interrelated imbalances. Organic Cannabis farming appears to be mankind’s most time-efficient and cost-effective strategy for resolving problems of climate, food insecurity, economics and energy production. If humans plant Cannabis intensively this spring, there may yet be enough time remaining for agricultural remedies to have an effect.

Because ‘time’ is the limiting factor in the equation for healing the planet, Spring 2011 is the most critical planting season in human history. If humans don’t make the best use of every growing season we may have left to heal Earth’s atmosphere, then there is something very wrong with our society. To ignore an historically revered solution in deference to a so-called “drug war” that’s known to be counter-productive to its own stated objectives, risks sudden, irreversible synergistic collapse. Regardless of perceived limitations attributed to so-called “political realities”, the unavoidable fact is that what’s needed is an immediate, massive global planting of Cannabis.

Humankind faces a simple choice which must be decided before the Spring planting season of 2011. Either our species recognizes Cannabis as both unique and essential, and we use Cannabis as a pioneer crop to expand the arable base, planting hemp everywhere that it can possibly grow; Or the Earth will be “broiled” to eventual extinction, under elevated, increasing intensities of UV-B radiation.

An immediate, fundamental shift in values is urgently called for, out of critical global necessity. At the moment, in Hawaii, an opportunity currently exists to end prohibition by applying knowledge of the true value of Cannabis to free Cannabis Ministry Reverend Roger Christie. Hemp is valuable because it is unique and essential for several reasons. Petrochemicals aren’t valuable because they are insidiously toxic to our health & environment. There are so many variables and uncertainties regarding the synergistic causes of imbalance, the focus needs to shift to an active change in what is considered valuable.

Extrajudicially imprisoned-without-trial and shamelessly denied bail five times since July 2010, Reverend Christie’s immediate release from prison is an epic legal milestone that could punctuate the end of essential resource scarcity in the United States. The Constitutional supremacy of “religious freedom” empowered through public right of “essential civilian demand” for a “strategic” “herb bearing seed” “of first necessity” is currently being focussed on the blatantly unobjective federal court proceeding.

Ending Cannabis prohibition can be most expeditiously accomplished by regarding polls showing the majority of Americans in favor of reclaiming public access to Cannabis over the unaccountable control of the blatantly disingenuous, criminally intransigent, viciously counter-productive, obscenely expensive and tragically deadly DEA. Legal supremacy of our Constitutionally protected “religious freedom” applied to nationwide public exercise of “essential civilian demand” for a “strategic” “herb bearing seed” “of first necessity,” using a campaign of jury nullification, combined with lawsuits against blatantly unobjective court proceeding will be revealed as sufficient to end Cannabis prohibition at the federal level.

In essence the true value of Cannabis must free Roger Christie, through public nullification of disingenuous laws, before his trial that’s been postponed until next Summer. Because of what is at stake, and the ham-fisted dismissal of due process by the court, Reverend Christie’s case presents a “perfect storm” in which to convene “The Trial for the Century” in the court of public opinion. In essence, Reverend Chrisitie’s pre-trial exoneration will end Cannabis prohibition, potentiating the timely reversal of climate catastrophe.

The ‘limiting factor’ in the equation of survival, time is the only thing we can’t make more of. Every spring that passes is gone forever. Either our species will succumb to the inertia of a functionally obsolete, chemically corrupted, outlaw political regime that’s usurped control of the United States, leading us to extinction; Or people will wake up to the truth and wisdom of abandoning a viciously counter-productive prohibition in time to reintroduce the world’s most “Gaiatherapeutic” resource and let the free organic agricultural market work.

As people continue to discover that Cannabis agriculture is the most effective “phytotherapeutic” plant remedy to the most fundamentally toxic problems we face, eventual implementation of sound organic agricultural policy will be implemented. The real question then is, “How bad do things have to get before all solutions are considered?”


1.”Has the Earth’s sixth mass extinction already arrived?”

2. National Science Foundation
Ultraviolet Monitoring Network

3. Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW)

4. “Climate Change and the Northern Forests” June 1998

5. Ozone Depletion and UV Radiation

6.”Climate Projections Based on Emission Scenarios for Long-lived and Short-lived Radiatively Active Gases and Aerosols” (2007), Review of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program’s Synthesis and Assessment Product 3.2, Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate (BASC)

7. “Fragrance of pine forests helps to slow climate change” | Science | The Guardian

8. Hemp: Our Lifeline to the Future: The Consequences of Hemp Prohibition
OCTOBER – NOVEMBER 2010, Dr Andrew Katelaris.

9. Reverend Roger Christie and The Last Marijuana Trial

10. Boreal Forest is World’s Carbon Vault? Breakthrough Mapping Analysis Looks at Peatlands, Permafrost and Soil Carbon in Canadian Boreal?

11. The Ho‘omaluhia or “Peacemaker” Award

12. First Freedom Project

13. US HI: OPED: ‘Ice’ Addiction Is Booming, Thanks To Anti-Pot Efforts
Pubdate: Tue, 2 Sep 2003
Source: Honolulu Star-Bulletin (HI)

14. 1991-94 Final Report, “Ice and Other Methamphetamine Use: An Exploratory Study”


*References to “essential civilian demand” in government documents

Title 44 – Emergency Management and Assistance,
§ 334.6 Department and agency responsibilities. (f)


[*See also, #23. William J. Clinton Executive Order 12919, below]

Six Executive Orders identifying “hemp” as a “strategic food resource”

18. Franklin D. Roosevelt Executive Order 9280 – December 5, 1942
Delegating Authority Over the Food Program.

19. Harry S. Truman Executive Order 10161 – September 9, 1950
Delegating Certain Functions of the President Under the Defense Production Act of 1950

20. Dwight D. Eisenhower Executive Order 10480– August 14, 1953
Further providing for the administration of the defense mobilization program

21. John F. Kennedy Executive Order 10998 – February 16, 1962

22. Richard Nixon Executive Order 11490 – October 28, 1969 -Assigning Emergency Preparedness Functions to Federal Departments and Agencies

*23. William J. Clinton Executive Order 12919 – June 3, 1994
National Defense Industrial Resources Preparedness

24. American Presidency Project


26. The Taiga or Boreal Forest

Pot Drivers: Stoned Driving Is Uncharted Territory

Drug test

Officers look for signs of drug impairment. Without a standard in most states for the amount of pot allowable in a driver’s system, police administer a lengthy 12-point examination.
(Joe McHugh, CHP / July 3, 2011)

By Ralph Vartabedian, Los Angeles Times

July 2, 2011, 3:46 p.m.

It was his green tongue that helped give away Jimmy Candido Flores when police arrived at the fatal accident scene near Chico.

Flores had run off the road and killed a jogger, Carrie Jean Holliman, a 56-year-old Chico elementary school teacher. California Highway Patrol officers thought he might be impaired and conducted a sobriety examination. Flores’ tongue had a green coat typical of heavy marijuana users and a later test showed he had pot, as well as other drugs, in his blood.

After pleading guilty to manslaughter, Flores, a medical marijuana user, was sentenced in February to 10 years and 8 months in prison.

Holliman’s death and others like it across the nation hint at what experts say is an unrecognized crisis: stoned drivers.

The most recent assessment by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, based on random roadside checks, found that 16.3% of all drivers nationwide at night were on various legal and illegal impairing drugs, half them high on marijuana.

In California alone, nearly 1,000 deaths and injuries each year are blamed directly on drugged drivers, according to CHP data, and law enforcement puts much of the blame on the rapid growth of medical marijuana use in the last decade. Fatalities in crashes where drugs were the primary cause and alcohol was not involved jumped 55% over the 10 years ending in 2009.

“Marijuana is a significant and important contributing factor in a growing number of fatal accidents,” said Gil Kerlikowske, director of National Drug Control Policy in the White House and former Seattle police chief. “There is no question, not only from the data but from what I have heard in my career as a law enforcement officer.”

As the medical marijuana movement has gained speed — one-third of the states now allow such sales — federal officials are pursuing scientific research into the impairing effects of the drug.

The issue is compounded by the lack of a national standard on the amount of the drug that drivers should be allowed to have in their blood. While 13 states have adopted zero-tolerance laws, 35 states including California have no formal standard, and instead rely on the judgment of police to determine impairment.

Even the most cautious approach of zero tolerance is fraught with complex medical issues about whether residual low levels of marijuana can impair a driver days after the drug is smoked. Marijuana advocates say some state and federal officials are trying to make it impossible for individuals to use marijuana and drive legally for days or weeks afterward.

Marijuana is not nearly as well understood as alcohol, which has been the subject of statistical and medical research for decades.

“A lot of effort has gone into the study of drugged driving and marijuana, because that is the most prevalent drug, but we are not nearly to the point where we are with alcohol,” said Jeffrey P. Michael, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s impaired-driving director. “We don’t know what level of marijuana impairs a driver.”

A $6-million study in Virginia Beach, Va., is attempting to remove any doubt that users of pot and other drugs are more likely to crash. Teams of federal researchers go to accident scenes and ask drivers to voluntarily provide samples of their blood. They later return to the same location, at the same time and on the same day of the week, asking two random motorists not involved in crashes for a blood sample.

The project aims to collect 7,500 blood samples to show whether drivers with specific blood levels of drugs are more likely to crash than those without the drugs, said John Lacey, a researcher at the nonprofit Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation.

In other projects, test subjects are being given marijuana to smoke and then examined under high-powered scanners or put in advanced driving simulators to gauge how it affects their brains and their ability to drive.

Federal scientists envision a day when police could quickly swab saliva from drivers’ mouths and determine whether they have an illegal level of marijuana, but that will require years of research. Until then, police are in the same position they were with drunk driving in the 1950s, basing arrests on their professional judgment of each driver’s behavior and vital signs.

If police suspect a driver is stoned, they now administer a lengthy 12-point examination. The driver must walk a straight line and stand on one leg, estimate the passage of 30 seconds and have pupils, blood pressure and pulse checked.

Chuck Hayes, national coordinator for the International Assn. of Chiefs of Police based in Washington, D.C., says the system works well to identify impaired drivers, and any future legal limit or medical test would be just another tool rather than a revolutionary change.

“We are not concerned about levels or limits. We are concerned with impairment,” Hayes said.

Indeed, even among law enforcement experts, the need for a standard is debated. Many support tried-and-true policing methods that can ferret out stoned drivers.

“Everybody wants a magic number, because that makes it easy,” said Sarah Kerrigan, a toxicologist at Sam Houston State University in Texas and an expert witness in numerous trials. “To have a law that says above a certain level you are impaired is not scientifically supportable. I don’t think police need the tool, but my opinion may be in the minority.”

But federal officials and local prosecutors argue that the lack of a standard makes convictions harder to obtain.

In October, a San Diego jury acquitted Terry Barraclough, a 60-year-old technical writer and medical marijuana user, on manslaughter charges in a fatal crash that occurred shortly after he had smoked marijuana.

A blood test showed he had high levels of active marijuana ingredients in his blood, but the jury heard conflicting expert testimony from toxicologists about the possible effects.

Martin Doyle, the deputy district attorney who prosecuted Barraclough, said the acquittal showed that the lack of a formal legal limit on marijuana intoxication makes such prosecutions tough.

“We don’t have a limit in California and that made my prosecution very difficult,” Doyle said. “We have a lapse in the law.”

But defense attorney Michael Cindrich said the failed prosecution shows that the San Diego district attorney was targeting medical marijuana users and that any legal limit would be unfair to the people who rely on the drug to treat their problems.

Indeed, Anthony Cardoza, an attorney who represented Flores in the Chico accident, said his client was not impaired and that allegations about his green tongue were ridiculous. Flores’ guilty plea was prompted by other legal issues, including a prior conviction for a drunk driving accident that caused an injury.

Marilyn Huestis, a toxicologist and one of the nation’s top experts on marijuana at the National Institute on Drug Abuse who is directing several research programs, said she believed there is no amount of marijuana that a person can consume and drive safely immediately afterward.

Supporters of marijuana legalization agree that the drug can impair a driver, but argue that the effects wear off in a few hours. Huestis, however, said research was showing that the effects of marijuana can linger.

Marijuana’s main ingredient — delta-9 THC — stays in the blood for an hour or more and then breaks down into metabolites that are both psychoactive and inert. But the impairing effects can linger, even after the THC is no longer in the blood, Huestis said. Because it can be absorbed into body tissue and slowly released for days, Huestis believes that heavy chronic daily users may be impaired in ways that are not yet understood.

A complicating factor is the tendency of many marijuana users to also use alcohol, which can sharply amplify impairment. Very little research has been conducted to determine whether it is possible to set limits on a combination of such substances.

Paul Armentano, deputy director for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said some states had laws that can punish users even when they are not high, pointing to a tough Arizona statute that allows conviction for impaired driving when an inert metabolite is detected in the blood.

Arizona officials said they wrote the law because there was no scientific agreement on how long marijuana impairs a driver. But proponents see something more sinister: an effort to put marijuana users in constant legal jeopardy.

“We are not setting a standard based on impairment, but one similar to saying that if you have one sip of alcohol you are too drunk to drive for the next week,” Armentano said.

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The Man Who Discovered THC

The HIGH TIMES Interview with Dr. Raphael Mechoulam


By Nico Escondido

Mechoulam The Man

The history of Israel marks it as a place of intense spirituality for many religions, most notably in Jewish, Christian and Islamic cultures. Ironically, a much more recent counter-culture can also point to the Holy Land as a major component of its heritage, not to mention the ground zero, of sorts, of the modern medical-marijuana movement.

In 1964, at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam – along with his colleagues, Dr. Yehiel Gaoni and Dr. Haviv Edery – succeeded in the very first isolation and elucidation of the active constituent of cannabis, D9-tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC. The discovery of the THC compound – now almost 50 years ago – started a revolution in thinking about cannabis that carries on to this day.

Dr. Mechoulam is currently a professor of medicinal chemistry and natural products at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His total synthesis of THC, as well as other cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD), is the cornerstone of the burgeoning medical-cannabis industry. Furthermore, his major contributions in the field of organic chemistry and the interaction of human and plant biology have led to the discovery of cannabinoid receptors in the human brain and the endocannabinoid system in the human body.

Dr. Mechoulam was kind enough to give his time for an exclusive interview with HIGH TIMES at his university laboratory in Jerusalem. It is very plausible that Dr. Mechoulam may one day win a Nobel Prize for his work and contributions in these fields. But it is his courage in introducing a previously little-researched plant to the world – a plant that is rapidly proving itself as nothing short of miraculous – that make Dr. Raphael Mechoulam The Man.

Let’s start at the beginning. Tell us a little bit about what the marijuana scene was like when you began working with cannabis.


It was a South American problem, really. Nobody was smoking it in the US except for a few musicians – a few black musicians, you know. Incidentally, it seems to have something to do with – well, ah, how can I explain that? Maybe understanding the music better, or hearing the music better. Especially jazz musicians. But that was it.

So then how did your research with cannabis come about exactly?


Well, when my friend [Dr. Yehiel Gaoni] and I started working on it, I was 32 years old. And when I initially asked for a grant, I sent it out to the NIH [National Institutes of Health] in the US. I asked for a research grant, but they said, “No, no, no. It is not in our interest. Let us know when you have something more relevant for us.” But then, soon after we isolated THC, they decided it was relevant work.

And so, when we started working, essentially nobody was working on that – and the reasons were probably legal. You couldn’t really do it in the US, at least, and the US was, at that time, the only place that there was any serious research going on … and the UK. The laws were such that you had to have guards all over the place. You can’t see an American professor with graduate students and having three guards around him.

So we had just isolated THC and, to the world’s surprise, they [NIH] came over to see our work. We had 10 grams of THC isolated from hashish, so they took it back with them, and most of the initial research in the US was done with our THC.

And so here [in Israel] we had no problem working because, you know, here – well, the laws are the same, but the application of the law is a little bit different. They knew I was not going to go outside and start selling marijuana; they didn’t assume that I will do that. We were able to work on it for a couple of years, though essentially nobody else was around, so we published quite a bit – and that was in the mid-’60s. So that was it.

We know that your interest lies in the connection between chemistry and biology, but what was the intent for you with cannabis? Did you think back then that there was medicinal value in cannabis?


No, no, it’s a natural product. If you look at the other illicit drugs that are throughout the world, morphine came out of opium or poppy plants, and cocaine came out of cocoa leaves – and these were discovered 150 years ago. Morphine was isolated in the early 19th century, and cocoa and cocaine in the middle 19th century. And surprisingly, THC – the active component of cannabis – was not known, which seemed very strange.

And I know why it was not isolated: because the techniques were very complicated. See, morphine and cocaine are so-called alkaloids, namely a natural product that contains a nitrogen [atom] on the molecule, and it can give us salt; it precipitates as a salt. And so you have salt: Cocaine is a salt, morphine is a salt – very easy to prepare. It turned out that THC does not have a nitrogen, and it is present in a mixture of compounds – we know that there are about 60 of them now. And they didn’t have the techniques to isolate them in the past. So a few people tried here and there, actually some very good people – one of them [Lord Alexander Todd] got the Nobel Prize for something else. But they never succeeded in isolating the pure substance, and so they never knew whether they had one compound or many compounds, and so on.

So the impetus was really that cannabis was being used and you knew of its use, yet there was no real research? I’m trying to figure out why it was cannabis that you guys went to instead of, say, boswellia or some other plant.


Well, my interest is in natural products that have some biological activity, and there are a huge number of natural products and plants that have activities. I probably have the best library, at least in Israel, with books and publications on natural products, on plants – you name it, we can find it. And let’s say, just for the fun of it, here is this dictionary of plants found in southern and eastern Africa – all plants with medicinal properties. So you can pick out any one of them and just open it – say buchu. Okay, it is a natural product. It lists some of the known herbal remedies. It’s also used for relief of rheumatism.

Is it true? Is it not true? I just opened the book – I have no idea. So there are thousands of them, and you have to decide what you want to work on, and one has to choose something that makes sense. And here I know that this [cannabis] is something that makes sense – namely that it has a compound within the plant that has obviously active products – and it turned out to be interesting.

But at that time, you didn’t know about cannabinoid receptors in the human body?


No, as a matter of fact, that came much later. You see, there are mistakes in science, too. People didn’t realize that there were receptors. As a matter of fact, an excellent group in Oxford with Sir Bill Paton, Sir William – probably pharmacologist number one in the world, a good friend of mine – he had said there were no receptors, and for very good reasons. Those reasons are probably too complicated to explain for a journal or a magazine ….

Well, try us anyway.


Basically, the reasons were, you see, when something [like a molecule] binds to a receptor, it has to have a specific stereochemistry. You have two hands, they’re identical … well, they’re not identical: If you put one on top of the other, they’re just the opposite – they are mirror images of each other, they are not identical. So it is true for many of the natural products: They can have two images, mirror images, but only one of them is the natural product – the other probably doesn’t even exist. We could synthesize it, but it’s not the natural product. In this case, the natural product [THC] has the activity. If both of them have activity, then chances are it does not bind to anything biological like a receptor, an enzyme or something like that, because the receptor itself is asymmetric.

So if this is the receptor [holding up one hand], you can have only one thing binding to it, but not its mirror image … only one of them. And it turned out that both of them were active – both mirror images of THC. One of them was natural; the other one we had synthesized; both of them worked. So Bill said, “No, it can’t be. There cannot be a THC receptor.”

Well, it turned out that they were not very good organic chemists. They were buying the raw material, the starting material [for their testing], that already had the two images – with the mirror image being synthetic – and you cannot separate them at that point. So if you have even 20 percent of the wrong stereoisomer, then you end up with a completely wrong stereoisomer. So both compounds tested as active, and thus they thought there would not be a human receptor.

But then we actually did some better work, I think, as we found out that it was not true – because only one mirror image was, in fact, active [laughing]. So, for the 20 years since we discovered the chemical material [THC], we all went along the wrong pathway! So when we discovered that only one of them was active, another good friend of mine in St. Louis finally found the first receptor.

Dr. Howlett?


Yes, correct, Dr. Allyn Howlett. And so Dr. Howlett found the receptor … and, basically, if you have a receptor in the body, it’s not because there is a plant out there. It doesn’t work that way – it works only because there is something in your body which will activate that receptor. So we went after those compounds that activated it. And we found the compound in the brain that activated it.



[Also known as N-arachidonoylethanolamine or AEA, anandamide is a naturally occurring cannabinoid produced in the human body for use as a neurotransmitter. It was first isolated and described by the Czech analytical chemist Lumír Ondřej Hanuš and the American molecular pharmacologist William Anthony Devane in Dr. Mechoulam’s Hebrew University laboratory in 1992. The name is derived from the Sanskrit word ananda, which means “bliss” or “delight.”]


We know there are so many different cannabinoids – THC, CBD, CBN, CBG, etc. Do they all bind with the CB1 and CB2 receptors?


Only THC – and only THC is psychoactive. So, as it binds to the CB1 receptor, it causes the activities that are known as cannabis activities. That’s it, period. None of the others – well, at least not significantly; there are a little bit here and there – but no other compound out of the 60, or whatever they are, binds.

There is a lot of interest now in the United States within the medical movement to find cannabis strains that are high in cannabidiol or CBD.

Well, this is something that I made a big fuss about. You see, with illicit cannabis – which is a huge, huge thing in the States – there is no interest in having anything else but very high levels of THC, because THC is the compound that attaches [to the brain’s cannabinoid receptors] and is psychoactive. Nobody’s interested in CBD because it causes no activity. But it is – from a medical point of view – very important, because it’s an anti-inflammatory and does all kinds of interesting things. It even blocks some of the undesirable effects of THC.

Under THC – of course, you’ve never smoked marijuana [laughing] – but seriously, when you have not smoked and then do and the doses are high, you may have an acute loss of memory. I mean, you don’t remember everything as it should be remembered. And if you have enough CBD, you block that kind of memory loss.

I was interested in the cannabidiol. But if you look at the cannabis that’s being grown illicitly in the US – and it’s a small business [chuckling], probably the number one agricultural product, I’ve been told, in terms of money – there is little or no CBD in there.

There was a medical meeting recently in the US, and I went there. I gave the opening lecture, and I told them you can’t [not have CBD]. You have to have CBD, and that’s it. So they’re trying to get CBD now in medical marijuana, which is the right thing to do.

A lot of the people that we meet around the world are searching for these CBD-rich strains. Now, with the lab testing going on in the medical community – you know, with gas-chromotography machines and mass spectrometers – people are really trying to look closely at it. But compared to THC, the CBD and CBN results are usually negligible; the CBD is always less than 1 percent. However, they’ve now found two or three strains that have around 8 percent CBD.

What do you mean, they have to find the strains? I mean, in Lebanon, they have been growing cannabis for the last, I don’t know, 300, 400 years or whatever. Lebanese hashish contains 5 percent THC and about 5 percent CBD. So go to Lebanon, take a strain from there, period – why make a fuss? We isolate cannabidiol from hashish. We don’t synthesize it; we isolate it. We do a lot of work on CBD.

So we go to the police, we pick up a couple of kilos of hashish – not marijuana. We pick up several kilos of hashish, isolate the cannabidiol and get a nice crystalline product. THC is an oil; CBD is nicely crystally. And then we make all kinds of things from CBD. So why make a fuss? Go to Lebanon and buy a few strains. Or in India – there are a lot of strains in India.

And where does the CBD bind to if not the CB1 and CB2 receptors?


Oh, no, it does not bind …. Well, it’s more complicated – it does not bind to the cannabinoid receptor. It does all kinds of other things. It prevents adenosine – that’s another compound in the brain – from going where it should go. It also acts on something else, on serotonin. We have seen, for example, some work we did here on a disease which has a nice name, but it’s a sinful disease: hepatic encephalopathy. Now hepatic encephalopathy, if you are drunk – really seriously drunk – then you have hepatic encephalopathy. Alcoholics can destroy the liver, and liver failure then causes central-nervous-system changes. They have destroyed their liver, and after destroying the liver, they start destroying the brain. That’s hepatic encephalopathy.

Now, we can cause hepatic encephalopathy to mice [in lab tests] and then see the changes that happen in the brain. They can’t walk well and all kinds of other things. We give them CBD, and it improves their conditions tremendously. And that was through one of the serotonin receptors. Now, serotonin is a nice compound – it has 15 or 16 receptors, maybe more. But this receptor we used was serotonin receptor 1A.

So [CBD] works in a variety of ways and, surprisingly, it has no side effects. Very strange. I would have assumed that something that has so many pathways to it, then it will have some side effects – and it has no side effects. As a matter of fact, it is completely nontoxic. One of the least toxic compounds that I’ve seen is cannabidiol – very strange.

Many years ago, NIH thought that they should look at the toxicity of CBD, because people were smoking both THC and CBD, both of which are present in marijuana: “Well, we know a little bit about THC; we know nothing about cannabidiol. Does it cause anything” – I don’t know, destroy the brain or whatever? And so they did a very thorough study of the toxicity of CBD and found essentially none … which is very positive.

NIH is probably one of the best institutions in the world. They really do excellent work, and I can only admire the people who decided to set up NIH, I don’t know, 30, 40 years ago.

Then what would be your guess as to why, with the NIH being in the United States, why the US has such a hard time getting federal regulation for medicinal cannabis? Right now it’s only state by state, and the federal government is very adamant about not allowing marijuana to become legal for medicine. Yet, like you said, there is all this great research going on over there, they are at the forefront of a lot of this, so where is the gap here? 

There is a huge amount of research going on – but I’m not sure, because many of the states do have regulations for medical marijuana. And the president actually made some noise that he wants to do it – to allow the federal government to do it. Now, why didn’t he? Probably he didn’t have enough power to do it, because chances are that these regulations have to go through the various committees and so on, and he was not sure he could get enough support.

Every administration has people where Mr. A does that and Mr. B does this and then they have a fight. Mr. B is the person that wins, and that’s it – it’s like all administrations. I was head of the university many years ago; I know that that’s the way it works.

Politics ….


Yes, exactly.

But wasn’t it the politicians who were responsible for all of this? Didn’t one politician spur the NIH’s decision to give you the research grants after you first isolated THC?


Yeah, well, they [NIH] didn’t have a single grant on cannabis at that time, but the National Institute of Mental Health did, I think. As I said earlier, the NIH wrote me that they don’t want to, they won’t give me money, because it’s not interesting or relevant. And then, all of a sudden, I get a phone call from the head of pharmacology at NIH, and they’re now interested. So I asked him: “What happened, all of a sudden, that you have great interest?” Well, it turned out that a senator had called NIH – his son smoked pot, and he wanted to know whether it would destroy his mind!

And just like that, the government got NIH to change direction. They don’t want to fight the senators because they need their support, and they looked around and [said] “Aha!” – they don’t support grants on marijuana, so they asked me if I was still working. We had just isolated THC, and that was it.

Do you remember the name of the senator? We can send him flowers.


No, but even if I did … I wouldn’t tell you. Anyway, he’s probably dead by now.


This interview is featured in the June 2011 issue of HIGH TIMES Magazine

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