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How Was THC Discovered?

Updated: Feb 26

Hemp hanging on nets in a barn with the words: how was thc discovered?

If you’ve ever wondered how THC was discovered, then it’s time to take a closer look at one of the most potent compounds found in the cannabis plant. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the main psychoactive component of cannabis, meaning it is responsible for the “high” that is associated with marijuana use. It has been touted for its medicinal benefits, but it wasn’t always thought of in that way.

The discovery of THC dates back to 1964 when cannabis researchers Raphael Mechoulam and Yechiel Gaoni isolated and synthesized THC from the cannabis plant. This was the first time that a pure form of this compound had been identified and it helped open up the door to new research into the effects of cannabis and its potential medicinal benefits.

Prior to this discovery, the effects associated with marijuana use were largely unknown, although it was widely used for its psychoactive effects and other medicinal qualities. Mechoulam and Gaoni’s work enabled scientists to further investigate the therapeutic activities of THC and the plant as a whole, paving the way for further advances in cannabis studies.

Their breakthrough helped identify the various compounds found in cannabis, expand humans’ knowledge of cannabinoids, and increased our understanding of the endocannabinoid system. Today, this system is being studied for its potential to regulate homeostatic processes in the human body—which could lead to the development of novel therapeutic treatments for a range of diseases and ailments.

Thanks to the work of Mechoulam and Gaoni, we now have a better understanding of the mechanisms behind cannabis and its effects on the brain and body. Their research helped to uncover some of the secrets behind THC and laid the groundwork for further scientific advancement in this area.


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