Until very recently the cannabis plant and its extracts (popularly called marijuana, hashish, weed, grass, etc.) were mostly frowned upon recreational drugs. In fact, in many places, they are still illegal. But the ‘modern’ scientific era of cannabis research over the last 5 decades, spearheaded by Professor Raphael Mechoulam at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, heralded in a new age with a promising new vision for humankind. 

The isolation of the psychoactive ingredient of Cannabis Sativa (Δ9-THC), identification of its chemical structure and the discovery of its endogenous counterparts - collectively termed endocannabinoids - plus the isolation and identification of various phytocannabinoids, have ushered in a wealth of pre-clinical and clinical studies, shedding light on the efficacy of the endocannabinoid system to deal with human health and disease. Endocannabinoids control an array of biological and pathological processes, recognized as key mediators of numerous aspects of human pathophysiology – among the most widespread and versatile signaling molecules ever discovered.


The Hebrew University School of Pharmacy's Multidisciplinary Center for Cannabinoid Research is integrating, coordinating and conducting this exciting research on cannabinoids, endocannabinoids and medical Cannabis, focusing on the following areas: CANCER; PAIN, INFLAMATION & STRESS MANAGEMENT; IMMUNITY; METABOLISM; DRUG DELIVERY & NANOTECHNOLOGY; PHARMACEUTICAL CHEMISTRY; NEUROSCIENCE and PLANT SCIENCE & GENETICSOne of its major objectives is to foster collaborations between its own participating laboratories and many other well-established groups around the globe who are conducting research on cannabinoids, endocannabinoids and medical Cannabis.

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Cannabis Sativa is perhaps the plant with the longest history of cultivation by man. Most certainly used by mankind throughout thousands of years of history as the most common “recreational drug” for pleasure and the alleviation of stress. Despite its nearly universal illegality (until the 21st century) the plant and its extracts – in street lingo: hashish, marijuana, weed or grass – at least had the redeeming feature of being non-addictive.  But its true worth lay hidden until the end of the 20th century when serious scientific Cannabis research began. 

A mere 50 years ago, Professor Raphael Mechoulam of the Hebrew University isolated the psychoactive ingredient of Cannabis Sativa, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC,) and identified its chemical structure. He later discovered the endogenous counterparts of THC - collectively termed endocannabinoids – including anandamide in 1992 and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) in 1995. These new inroads by the Mechoulam group, combined with the further isolation and identification of various phytocannabinoids, such as cannabigerol, cannabigerolic acid and cannabichromene, have generated a wealth of basic, translational and clinical studies. 

Substantial ongoing research has brought to light the quite amazing impact of the endocannabinoid system on human health and disease, identifying an array of proteins that bind, synthesize, and degrade them. Endocannabinoids control a huge number of biological and pathological processes and have been recognized as key mediators of several aspects of human pathophysiology, and thus have emerged to be among the most widespread and versatile signaling molecules ever discovered.


The establishment of the Multidisciplinary Center for Cannabinoid Research (MCCR) at the School of Pharmacy of the Hebrew University in Israel has great relevance at this specific time in modern history – a time when both international academic institutions and mega-pharmaceutical companies all around the globe are channeling enormous efforts towards, and investing heavily in basic and clinical research in this exciting new field. 

The MCCR fills the need for a central, professional body who undertakes to integrate and coordinate all these worldwide research activities into one cohesive whole – assisting collaborations and disseminating collective information.  

The MCCR is staffed by eminent scientists and Medical Doctors from a variety of faculties at the Hebrew University and Hadassah-University Medical Center. The faculties involved span the entire spectrum relevant to this research – from Medicine, Medicinal Chemistry, Biotechnology, Biopolymers & Pharmaceutical Chemistry to Plant Science & Genetics in Agriculture.  The Center’s teams of highly qualified researchers comprise Heads of Labs and Research Groups comprehensively ranging through Nano-Medicine & Nano Delivery Systems, Tumour Micro-environment, Neurobiology, Pain Relief & Plasticity, Molecular Modeling & Drug Design, Immuno-pharmacology, Free Radicals, Stress and Plant Pathogen Interactions. 

Center's Objectives



  1. To stimulate and coordinate interdisciplinary basic and translational scientific research projects, aimed at better understanding how cannabinoids involve in various disease states via the use of chemical, biological, agricultural and cellular pre-clinical and clinical research at both national and international levels.
  2. To train young scientists, and support scholarships and/or awards to encourage M.Sc. and Ph.D. students to concentrate their research on cannabinoids.
  3. To arrange an annual symposium on cannabinoids that will bring together students and researchers from Israel, and support an annual lecture by a distinguished guest scientist from abroad.
  4. To cultivate close interaction with other research centers at the Hebrew University as well as with educational institutions abroad - promoting joint seminars and workshops.
  5. To foster interactions with the international pharmaceutical industry with the aim of converting scientific achievements in the field of cannabis and cannabinoids into potential commercial value.


Areas of Research

The Multidisciplinary Center for Cannabinoid Research covers a vast array of research arenas, aimed at generating synergy between researchers, projects and scientific centers around the globe, in the hope of intensifying the use of cannabinoids for medical treatment and the ultimate enhancement of human health.

research areas

Funding Institutions


Ministry of Economy


THC and CBD pro-nano-liposphere  (PNL) oral capsule – clinical study - Amnon Hoffman & Avi Domb

MMJ Phytotech


Clinical development of CBD/THC oral formulations - Amnon Hoffman & Avi Domb



Fluorinated cannabinoids - Raphael Mechoulam



Novel cannabinoids as drugs for bones, pain, head injury - Raphael Mechoulam



Remote sensing and sorting of cannabis flowers - Oded Shoseyov

Israel Science Foundation


TRPV1 activation by endogenous vanilloids: cellular regulation and molecular mechanism - Avi Priel
Role of the Peripheral Endocannabinoid System in Leptin Resistance and Obesity - Joseph Tam
                             Deciphering the Crosstalk between CB1 and GLUT2 in the Development                               of Diabetic Nephropathy - Joseph Tam
                             Stretching the Model of TRPV1 Activation - Dmitry Tsvelikhovsky

European Research Council


From Peripheral to Cell- and Organelle-Targeted Medicine: The 3rd Generation of Cannabinoid-1 Receptor Antagonists for the Treatment of Chronic Kidney Disease - Joseph Tam

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Multidisciplinary Center For Cannabinoid Research


Studying the anti-angiogenic and anti-cancer activity of cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2) agonists - Ofra Benny
Effect of a cannabis extract on acute radicular pain and on analgesics requirement: a double-blinded, randomized, 24 hours follow-up study - Elyad Davidson
The Effects of CBD on Traumatic Brain Injury - Rami Yaka & Oren Ostresetzer

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Cannabinoid Innovation


The therapeutic benefit of cannabis for the treatment of asthma - Raphael Mechoulam & Francesca Levi-Schaffer
Testing the therapeutic effect of phytocannabinoids for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease - Joseph Tam


Integra Holdings


Towards novel migraine drugs: activation of the pain receptor TRPA1 by cannabinoids - Avi Priel & Masha Niv
Discovery and Experimental Confirmation of Novel (Dual-Targeted) Peripherally Restricted CB1 Receptor Antagonists - Joseph Tam, Amiram Goldblum & Yuval Tabach

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Scopus BioPharma Israel Ltd


Development of Protocols for Synthesis of New CBD Derivatives - Dmitry Tsvelikhovsky
Method Compositions and Kits for Treating Pain and Itch - Alexander Binshtok
                     logo 1Hollingsworth-Pearlstein/MCCR


   SIRT1 Synergizes Cannabinoid Signaling to Prevent age-related OA development – Mona Dvir-Ginzberg