At the CannMed 2019 medical cannabis conference held recently in Pasadena, California, famed cannabis researcher Raphael Mechoulam announced during his keynote speech that CBD and THC acids found in cannabis hold great potential in the future of medicine. Mechoulam and his team have developed acid versions of THC, CBD and other cannabis compounds, and licensing is now available for companies to develop drugs.
Mechoulam made great leaps in the scientific understanding of cannabis, by identifying or completing the mapping of the structures of THC and CBD in 1963 and 1964. But newly discovered CBD and THC acids could be more beneficial than CBD or THC in treating psoriasis, arthritis, anxiety and inflammatory bowel disease. The acids are present in the living cannabis plant, and may be more potent and effective.
One of the newly discovered compounds includes cannabidiolic acid methyl ester, or HU-580, which could be more effective than CBD for anxiety and nausea. “I think it’s a big deal,” Mechoulam told NBC News, adding that compounds like HU-580 could be “a potential medicine for treating some nausea and anxiety disorders.”
Mechoulam and his team were able to stabilize synthetic acids and determine their efficacy for a variety of problems. The research is the result of a collaboration between a startup called EPM, Mechoulam, six universities in Israel, agencies in the U.K. and Canada, the “world’s largest topical cream company” and a publicly traded laboratory company.
Known as the “Father of THC,” Mechoulam’s interest in cannabis goes back decades, and his research usually focuses on the cannabis plant. “I’m a chemist,” Mechoulam told CULTURE in 2017. “I work with natural products, and I was looking for something important in natural products in plants, and I was surprised to find out that while morphine had been isolated from opium nearly 150 years previously and so was cocaine, from coca leaves, the chemistry of cannabis was not well-known, and I thought it was a good topic to do research on.”