Insights and Achievements in Cannabis Science: Dr. Ethan Russo Discusses Dr. Raphael Mechoulam's Legacy

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This webinar from MM411 explored the far-ranging studies of Dr. Raphael Mechoulam and Dr. Ethan Russo on the science and medicine of cannabis and other plants.

On April 11, 2024, MM411 hosted an hour-long webinar with Ethan Russo, MD, who presented, “Raphael Mechoulam: Adventures In Phytomedicine.” MM411, as explained by founder and President of Cannabis Education Chris Devol, was started in 2009 and is one of the first online resources for medical cannabis information, education, and certifications (1). She also noted that MM411 recently expanded its platforms to encompass areas including horticulture, veterinary, psychedelics, hemp, wellness, and culinary fields. Dr. Russo is a neurologist, medical researcher, and the founder of CReDO Science, which formulates cannabis-based products and provides education and consulting (2).

As Chris Devol noted, over 40 countries were represented by the webinar attendees, who included US government officials and health care professionals. This presentation highlighted the research and achievements of Dr. Raphael Mechoulam as well as Dr. Russo in various aspects of plant science and medicine.

In his presentation, Dr. Russo covered decades of important cannabis science, discoveries, and publications. He began with a biography of his longtime friend and colleague Dr. Mechoulam, noting his discovery of cannabidiol (CBD) in 1963, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in 1964, and several more cannabinoids in the following years. He also explained studies on the “entourage effect,” fatty acids such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), how cannabis was being used by people in Jamacia and Morocco, and the possibility of other plants, such as Columnea ericae in Ecuador, to have cannabinoids or an effect on the CB1 receptor.


In 2006, his research included studying the tomb of an ancient Gushi shaman in Xinjiang, China. The tomb included two receptacles that contained a total 789 grams of dried cannabis, and Dr. Russo and GW Pharmaceuticals were able to perform a biochemical analysis on the well-preserved cannabis, finding evidence of cannabinol (CBN), CBD, and other phytocannabinoids in the samples. They were also able to complete a genomic analysis of the samples and also analyze hair samples of the shaman for the presence of cannabinoids, though none were found.

Dr. Russo discussed more works he had published, such as “Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects” in 2010, along with some of the many works of Dr. Mechoulam, especially in collaborations with clinicians. For example, Dr. Mechoulam’s research in 1980 showed the anticonvulsant effects of CBD, his work in 1993 showed the ability of cannabinoids in reducing brain injury, and his research in 1995 studied THC as a treatment for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in children with leukemia and other disorders. Though he was known for his work with cannabis, he also studied other plants such as Boswellia carterii, the sap of which produces a resin, known as frankincense, that causes some effects resembling those of cannabis. Dr. Mechoulam published over 600 works in his lifetime.

The published works mentioned in the presentation, Dr. Russo noted, are available in the Library tab of his website.

The webinar also included time for attendees to ask questions of Dr. Russo, which was facilitated by Nishi Whiteley, Chief Operating Officer of CReDO Science. Several questions were asked and answered on topics including: the “law of stinginess” in phytomedicine, anthropology and psychedelics, and more.

More information on the partnership of CReDO Science and MM411 and future webinars can be found here.