Israel has long-been the leading force in cannabis research. In fact, THC was first isolated as the main, psychoactive force behind cannabis, by an Israeli scientist by the name of Raphael Mechoulam in 1964. Since then, Israel has led in the field of cannabis research and legalization. In 1992, Israel was one of the first countries to fully legalize medical marijuana.
Mechoulam's research includes "co-discovering the endocannabinoid system, the largest receptor system in the human body, and that the human brain produces its own cannabinoids - compounds that stimulate the body's receptor system," stated USNews about Mechoulam's discoveries. According to researchers, these compounds that Mechoulam found could be the key in alleviating tons of illnesses including cancer and schizophrenia. Thanks to Mechoulam's dedication to researching cannabis, many scientists believe that without these discoveries, cannabis research would be far from nothing.
Many cannabis researchers are leaving the United States to go to Israel. According to an article in USNews, Angel, a Florida-based entrepreneur, stated "Cannabis is what brought me to Israel. The world's best cannabis scientists and researchers are all out of Israel. No other country comes close."
Since the United States only has 9 states that have fully legalized marijuana, it cannot come close to the amount of research and funding that Israel does and gets. Because of this, many U.S. companies are outsourcing their research to Israel. U.S.-based Steep Hill Labs is America's first commercial cannabis lab, who recently started to collaborate with iCan, an Israel cannabis firm, according to USNews. "There are very few countries where you can do clinical research involving human beings. Israel is the epicenter of research and development not only in growing the plant and creating extracts and different products, but also on the medical and research fronts, so we knew that we really needed to be there," said Jmichaele Keller, the President of Steep Hill.
As Israel helps pioneer other countries through the murky waters of legalization, we'll be able to understand and benefit from the amazing research and innovation being done.