In 1964, thanks to the groundbreaking work of two Israeli researchers, Drs. Raphael Mechoulam and Yehiel Gaoni, the psychoactive component of marijuana was identified and synthesized at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The substance, named THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) turned out to be just one of an entire family of cannabinoid (“cannabis-like”) compounds. However, THC is the only cannabinoid that has psychoactive properties (Mechoulam 2004).
Over the decades that followed, the role of cannabinoids in neurological function were teased-out, first by Allyn Howlett, Ph.D. and her graduate student assistant, William Devane, in 1988. They demonstrated how THC binds to receptors in the brain.Meletis 5