On October 22nd 2014, more than 150 health professionals, researchers and patients gathered in the French city of Strasbourg for the third edition of the UFCM iCare symposium. On this occasion, Professor Raphael Mechoulam, responsible for isolating and synthesising the THC molecule back in 1964, was among the guest speakers, and gave a lecture on his research.
On October 22nd 2014, more than 150 health professionals, researchers and patients gathered in the French city of Strasbourg for the third edition of the UFCM iCare symposium.
On this occasion, Professor Raphael Mechoulam, responsible for isolating and synthesising the THC molecule back in 1964, was among the guest speakers, and gave a lecture on his research.
He also attended the rest of the event, which featured many other revered scientists, some of them his partners in a number of internationally collaborative research projects.
The father of THC, in France for the first time
The participation of Professor Mechoulam was an event in itself, as it was the first time the eminent researcher participated in a cannabinoid conference taking place in France. Both the members of UFCM iCare and our team, dispatched to France for the event, were acutely aware of the tremendous and also symbolic importance that lay in the presence of the scientist who practically kick-started cannabinoid research as we currently know it, and definitely inspired countless others to pursue it on many different fronts.
The presentation delivered by Professor Mechoulam perfectly summed up the current situation, as he reminisced about his own research, rhetorically asking himself and the attendees why so little tangible progress has been achieved since it began. This question turned out to be part of each of the other speakers’ presentations, especially since it hadn’t escaped any of them that we were celebrating the 50th anniversary of the isolation and synthesis of THC.
50th anniversary of THC isolation and synthesis
Many among the organisers as well as the attendees were not only starstruck by the Professor’s mere presence, but were also very much aware of the turning point this event was, marking not only the 50th anniversary of the synthesis of the THC molecule, but also the beginning of a shift in the country’s attitude to cannabis.
This is why, unsurprisingly, the symbolic anniversary was celebrated during the event, to the delight of Professor Mechoulam himself, obviously acquainted with the importance of this milestone.
While slicing a sizeable sponge cake decorated with the THC molecule’s structure could have been perceived by scientists as a reasonably celebratory but somewhat irrelevant gesture, it was appreciated by everyone present, and sparked much enthusiasm. Professor Mechoulam proceeded with the slicing, and said a few words, not forgetting to mention his partner in the discovery, Professor Yechiel Gaoni.
Our team, as well as everyone who had the privilege to witness this moment, was happy to share it with such a heteroclite crowd of cannabinoids enthusiasts; an emotional and unique moment before heading back to the symposium’s program.