In the year 1964 Prof Raphael Mechoulam was 34 years old. Together with his colleague Prof Yechiel Gaoni he published a ground-breaking scientific article on the isolation and complete elucidation of the structure of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. Work on other cannabinoids of the cannabis plant followed.
Another research project initiated by him led to the isolation of the first described endocannabinoid anandamide, which was isolated and characterized by two of his postdoctoral researchers in 1992.
Prof Mechoulam was born in Bulgaria on 5 November 1930, and in a few days will celebrate his 84th anniversary. In 1949 his family immigrated to Israel where he later studied chemistry. He received his Ph.D. at the Weizmann Institute, Rehovot, in 1958. After postdoctoral studies at the Rockefeller Institute, New York (1959–60), he was on the scientific staff of the Weizmann Institute (1960–65), before moving to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he became professor (1972) and Lionel Jacobson Professor of Medicinal Chemistry from 1975.
The IACM would like to thank Prof Mechoulam for his extraordinary lifework, which has contributed enormously to helping millions of people suffering from severe conditions. We heartily congratulate our former chairman (2003-2005) in his jubilee year, and wish him all the best in the future.