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April 1, 1964 - Article Announcing the Discovery of THC First Published

This Day in Cannabis History:

Throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, "cannabis indica" resins and extracts were used as an ingredient in a variety of tonics and other medicines to treat a whole host of maladies across Europe and the United States. Regrettably, that practice ended after the US instituted its prohibition on the plant in 1937. But the therapeutic potential of cannabis was still on the minds of some scientists, including a chemist by the name of Roger Adams. Adams obtained some cannabis oil from the Treasury Department to study its effects on the brain and discovered cannabinol (CBN) and cannabidiol (CBD). He was able to isolate CBD in 1942 but was never able to isolate the cannabinoid that produced the "high" (though he managed to recreate an analog of it).

Two decades later 1963, a team of scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel (whose government was more lenient towards cannabis) led by Dr. Raphael Mechoulam grabbed Adams' baton and ran with it. Seeking a significant yet unexplored topic of research, they decided to tackle the mysteries of marijuana. Procuring 5 kilos of Moroccan hashish from local authorities, they began an in-depth study of its composition and began isolating its various compounds. To their surprise, it turned out only one of the many cannabinoids and compounds they found actually produced a psychoactive effect: delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC for short.

Mechoulam's team compiled the findings of their study into an article titled "Isolation, Structure, and Partial Synthesis of an Active Constituent of Hashish" and published it in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, which was released 57 years ago today—April 1, 1964. No fooling, we swear!


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