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A woman smokes during an event marking Israels governments approval of a new policy to decriminalize personal marijuana use in Tel Aviv, Israel February 4, 2017.(Photo by: REUTERS/BAZ RATNER)
HU to host 2021 cannabinoids conference
By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH
07/27/2017
The event will be hosted by the university’s Multidisciplinary Center on Cannabinoid Research, the country’s leading center for conducting and coordinating research on cannabinoids.
In four years, the International Cannabinoid Research Society will hold the International Symposium on the Cannabinoids in Jerusalem as guests of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The ICRS is the oldest scientific society dedicated to the research in the cannabis plant, cannabinoids and their physiological and biochemical targets. The ICRS, which meets annually, has nearly 400 members from all over the world.

Hundreds of participants from Israel and around the world will participate in the conference at the Jerusalem International Convention Center, in cooperation with the Jerusalem Conventions and Visitors Bureau, which operates under the Jerusalem Development Authority.

The event will be hosted by the university’s Multidisciplinary Center on Cannabinoid Research, the country’s leading center for conducting and coordinating research on cannabinoids, endocannabinoids and medical cannabis.

Over the last 50 years, HU research has spearheaded a new scientific era of cannabis research, thanks to Prof. Raphael Mechoulam, a HU researcher widely regarded as “the father of cannabinoid research.” Decades ago, he and his colleagues isolated the active constituent of the cannabis plant, tetrahydrocannabinol, elucidated its structure and synthesized it. Later, Mechoulam identified the endogenous cannabinoids (formed in the mammalian body) and thus pioneered the field of cannabinoid research. The symposium will mark Mechoulam’s 90th birthday in his hometown of Jerusalem.

The event will feature oral and poster presentations covering a wide range of topics relevant to cannabinoid science and medicine. Past conferences have covered such topics as autoimmunity, epilepsy, pain, PTSD, drug development and medicinal chemistry, neuroprotection, metabolism, endocrine and obesity, cancer and much more.

ICRS executive director Prof. Cecilia Hillard commented said Jerusalem holds a special place in the history of the science of cannabis and the endocannabinoids.

“Prof. Raphael Mechoulam was the first to publish the structure of the active principal of cannabis, THC, and was also the first to identify an endogenous cannabinoid, anandamide,” she said. “Just as impressive is the current state of cannabinoid research in Jerusalem and Israel at large, including the Multidisciplinary Center on Cannabinoid Research led by Dr. Joseph Tam. We are looking forward to visiting Jerusalem and to an exciting and informative conference.”

Tam said that one of the society’s first goals after establishing the center was to host the ICRS conference in Jerusalem, so that the international community of researchers can learn about the highly advanced work in the field of cannabinoids carried out in the center and in Israel.

“I am certain that hosting this high-level conference will constitute another turning point in Israel’s position as a global leader in cannabinoid research and development,” he said.

Mechoulam, head of the academic committee of the Multidisciplinary Center, and the Lionel Jacobson Professor Emeritus of Medicinal Chemistry in the Hebrew University’s Faculty of Medicine, said progress could be made at the symposium.

“Modulating endocannabinoid activity has therapeutic potential in a large number of human diseases, and research on cannabinoids may lead to very significant advances in basic science and therapeutics,” he said. “We look forward to hosting the world’s top scientists working to discover new therapies based on cannabinoids.”
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