Israel embraces the miracle of marijuana

 In Health, International News, Medical Marijuana

KIBBUTZ NAAN, Israel — It may come as a surprise that the THC — the active element in cannabis — that has been used for investigations by the National Institutes of Health in Washington, DC, was imported from Israel at a time when no American scientist could hope to receive funding for research involving marijuana.

In a 2010 book, Israeli scientist Raphael Mechoulam, who first synthesized THC, recalls how it all began: In the mid 1960s, after a US senator inquired about the safety of his son’s pot habit, Dr. Dan Efron, the National Institute of Mental Health’s head of pharmacology, flew to Israel and “took with him the ‘world’ supply of tetrahydrocannabinol [THC] … Much of the early work in the United States in the cannabis field was done with the material that Efron presumably smuggled out of Israel into the United States.”

For serendipitous reasons — such as premiere research facilities and leniency toward scientists — Israel has long been at the forefront of cannabis research.

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