A few months ago, Professor Raphael Mechoulam, also recognized as the “Father of Cannabis Research,” disclosed his most recent discovery: cannabidiolic acid methyl ester (EPM301). Mechoulam joined forces with EPM, a global biotechnology company based in the U.S. aiming to bridge the gap between the cannabis and pharmaceutical industries. Together, they revealed something so revolutionary it may forever change the industry. Formerly acknowledged for isolating tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in its purest form, Mechoulam’s recent discovery of EPM301 has created a ripple of excitement around the future of medicinal cannabis.
Along with CBD, THC, and CBN, there are hundreds of other cannabinoids detected within the cannabis plant. In fact, scientists have identified at least 113 cannabinoids thus far. For decades now, researchers have known that THC and CBD significantly help with a long list of health ailments, from nausea and depression to anxiety and inflammation. However, only recently has our scientific community made headway in creating EPM301, similar to yet different from THC and CBD.
Before developing EPM301, Mechoulam and his peers knew THC and CBD were two compounds of central interest. Yet, they were also aware these were not natural products; they were byproducts of the plant. The cannabis plant’s natural products are their acids. The plant makes both THC acid and cannabidiolic acid. Although Mechoulam described and synthesized them years ago, he never tested them, simply because were never stable. The acids break down very easily, and for that reason there hadn’t been much research on them. This had not, however, been the case with cannabidiol.
Since very few people were interested in the acids, Mechoulam thought perhaps these were essential by themselves in their purest form. He and his team were successful, eventually stabilizing the plant’s acid through a simple chemical procedure called esterification. This process allows scientists to modify the acids, keeping them stable enough to allow for their large-scale use. This stabilization opens the door for further pharmaceutical experiments. EPM301 is a patented compound. It is a synthetic and sufficiently stable acid-based cannabinoid molecule, derived from an original acid that appears in the plant.
Mechoulam’s team began observing and comparing the specific characteristics of this new EPM301 compound to THC and CBD. They found this compound causes extreme suppression of anxiety and nausea. Even better, it appears to be much more potent than THC or CBD. Thus, the scientific community claims EPM301 can make a significant difference in cancer patients undergoing chemo, or individuals with autoimmune diseases, like IBS (inflammatory bowel syndrome). Mechoulam truly believes the patented EPM301 compound carries the ability to replace steroids and opioids in the future, hopefully sooner rather than later.
Every decade or so, a researcher achieves a breakthrough that changes the world. Its impact affects not only its industry but also humanity as a whole. Mechoulam, the 88-year-old scientist and “Father of Cannabis Research,” seems to have done just that.