Raphael Mechoulam


July 09, 2022


After a traumatic childhood in Europe during the Second World War, I found that scientific research in Israel was a pleasure beyond my expectations. Over the last 65 year, I have worked on the chemistry and pharmacology of natural products. During the last few decades, most of my research has been on plant cannabinoids, the endogenous cannabinoids arachidonoyl ethanolamide (anandamide) and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol, and endogenous anandamide-like compounds, all of which are involved in a wide spectrum of physiological reactions. Two plant cannabinoids, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol, are approved drugs. However, the endogenous cannabinoids and the anandamide-like constituents have not yet been well investigated in humans. For me, intellectual freedom—the ability to do research based on my own scientific interests—has been the most satisfying part of my working life. Looking back over the 91 years of my long life, I conclude that I have been lucky, very lucky, both personally and scientifically.

DOI: 10.1146/annurev-pharmtox-051921083709