The Discovery of THC


When a team of Israeli researchers  led by Dr. Raphael Mechoulam first discovered THC in 1964 and identified  it as the primary psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant,  that was not just a breakthrough in our collective understanding of  cannabis—it also led to a series of breakthroughs in our understanding  of how the human body functions.

By the late 1980s, this would include  the discovery of an entirely new system in the body—the endocannabinoid  system—which can be thought of as your “root-level operating system,” a  kind of central processing unit that regulates and alters the  functioning of many other important systems and keeps them in balance.   

Leafly’s comprehensive explainer  on the endocannabinoid system breaks down exactly how it works, and why  its discovery was groundbreaking not just for medicinal cannabis, but  for medicine in general.