Last year, Raphael Mechoulam synthesized a new cannabinoid compound - cannabidiolic acid methyl ester (EPM301) - that may surpass CBD and THC in potency. It is the latest in a lifetime of cannabis discoveries for the man called the “Godfather” of modern cannabis medicine.
We believe that discovery, along with his pioneering history of cannabis research - the chemicals produced by the cannabis plant and their effect on humans – are contributions significant enough to make Mechoulam a candidate for the Nobel Prize in chemistry.
And we’re not the only ones.
Over the course of his career, Mechoulam has been nominated for over twenty-five awards and has won The Israel Prize in Exact Sciences (2000), the National Institute on Drug Abuse International Program Awards of Excellence (2011), the Rothschild Prize in Chemical and Physical Sciences (2012), the Cann Med Lifetime Achievement (2016), and the Technion Harvey Prize in 2020.
Professor Mechoulam has also been awarded the esteemed Harvey Prize, an annual Israeli award for breakthroughs in science and technology, as well as contributions to peace in the Middle East granted by the Technion in Haifa. Over the years, the Harvey Prize has become a reliable predictor of the famous Noble Prize. Since 1986, more than 30 percent of Harvey laureates were ultimately awarded the Nobel Prize. Three of them – Professor Jennifer Doudna, Professor Emmanuelle Charpentier and Professor Reinhard Genzel – received the Noble Prize in 2020.
When Mechoulam started researching cannabis in the 1960s, it was still a neglected field. Tet his studies in cannabis have given the world a new perspective on cannabis as a healing plant, rather than a recreational drug. He was the first to isolate and elucidate the structure of delta-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), cannabigerol (CBG) and several other cannabinoids. He and his team also isolated and identified endogenous cannabinoids anandamide from the brain and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (@-AGA) from peripheral organs, creating the foundation for study of the human endocannabinoid system.
The Impact of EPM 301 Has Yet to Be Felt
Mechoulam’s recent isolation of the cannabinoid EPM 301 has implications for both the cannabis and pharmaceutical worlds.
EPM 301 is a cannabidiolic acid methyl ester – a secondary substance-that appears after primary acids are decarboxylated. Esterification creates a stabilized form EPM 301 for scalable production in preparation for clinical trials required by the pharmaceutical industry. The properties and active components within the secondary substance are more potent than CBD and THC.
Mechoulam discovered the compound in partnership with the US-biotech company EPM Group. The company is focused on developing substances that bridge the gap between cannabis and the pharmaceutical industry. The synthesis of EPM 301 has opened the door to expand the market of cannabinoid-based therapeutics.
To date, EPM 301 has been approved for human trials guided by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat inflammatory Bowel Disease(IBS), psoriasis, and Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS).
Considering his lifetime of achievements in cannabis research we can only hope that Raphael Mechuolam will be awarded the recognition he deserves. We believe that should be the Nobel Prize.
Known for solutions that yield results, Seth Yakatan has completed or advised on acquisitions and corporate finance transactions totaling over $3 billion. He is CEO of Katan Associates International—a financial strategy and merchant banking firm specializing in commercialization and asset monetization—especially those within life-science and e-commerce sectors.
Karl Schmieder, M.S./M.F.A.
Karl Schmieder has been providing strategy and communications counsel services to life sciences companies for more than 20 years. A rare combination of scientist and award-winning copywriter, Karl has a long tenure working with both startups and Fortune 10 life sciences companies developing technologies that disrupt markets. He has counseled multiple startups, launched major pharmaceutical brands (Risperdal, Januvia, Lucentis), and created thought leadership programs for executives at GSK, Novartis Vaccines & Diagnostics, and PAREXEL. He served as Chief Marketing Officer at One Eleven Software and Chief Strategic Officer at Medikly. He is the co-author of What’s Your Bio Strategy? a book on the impact of synthetic biology on all business.
Ramirez U. EPM301: The Future of Medical CannabIs. MCRLabs (2021). Link.
Conversation with Raphael Mechoulam. Wiley Online Library. (2007). Link.