Exploring the Endocannabinoid System

Cannabinoids and Cancer

A talk by J. Marcu Ph.D., Senior Scientist for Americans for Safe Access, given at the Society of Cannabis Clincians Quarterly Meeting in December 2014.

Risks of Cannabis Smoking

A talk on Cannabis and its effects on the Pulmonary System by Dr. Donald P. Tashkin, M.D., Emeritus Professor of Medicine and Director of Pulmonary/Critical Care Medicine at the UCLA School of Medicine.

Research Pioneer: Ethan Russo MD

A board-certified neurologist and psychopharmacology researcher, Dr. Russo is former Chairman of the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines.

The Scientist

Dr. Rafael Mechoulam and the Discovery of the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)

In 1964 Professor Raphael Mechoulam was on a public bus carrying 5 kilos of premium Lebanese hashish in a plastic bag to his laboratory at the Weitzmann Institute in Rehovot. That noticeably fragrant bus ride turned out to be a fateful one, as Mechoulam used his haul to discover the psychoactive component in Cannabis, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It was a discovery that had eluded scientists for decades.

Twenty years later, Mechoulam ascertained that THC interacts with the largest receptor system in the human body, the endocannabinoid system (ECS). He then found that the human brain produces its very own Cannabis – a chemical that they named anandamide after the Sanskrit word ananda, “bliss”.

Though still unknown to most researchers and medical professionals because of the worldwide prohibition of marijuana, the importance of the endocannabinoid system is growing daily. It has been called the “supercomputer that regulates homeostasis in the human body.” Because receptors are found throughout the brain and in every major organ, this system is thought to be involved in most disease states. This is one reason that Cannabis treats so many varied illnesses. Mechoulam has been investigating this compound longer and more thoughtfully than any other scientist. He has unearthed Cannabis’s role in treating seizure disorders, schizophrenia and PTSD, plus its impact on other functions that govern human health, such as the rapidity with which an infant bonds with his mother. He has been awarded numerous scientific prizes and is universally acknowledged as the “father of cannabinoid medicine”. Despite these accolades, Mechoulam’s name isn’t known outside of a small group of researchers.

The Scientist is a documentary that traces the story of Mechoulam from his early days as a child of the Holocaust in Bulgaria, through his immigration to Israel, and his career as the chief investigator into the chemistry and biology of the world’s most misunderstood plant.  Watch documentary here.

Conferences – Education – Publications

Continuing Education Courses

The Society of Cannabis Clinicians is pleased to be collaborating with The Medical Cannabis Institute to launch the first online Medical Cannabis Curriculum.

Treatment of Crohn’s Disease with Cannabis

Treatment of Crohn’s Disease with Cannabis: an Observational StudyIn 2011, researchers in Israel published the first study evaluating the effect of cannabis on patients with Crohn’s disease. All patients stated that consuming cannabis had a positive effect, ameliorating disease activity and reducing the need for other conventional medications. The researchers hypothesized that the observed beneficial effect in this study may be due to the anti-inflammatory properties of cannabis, but additional effects of cannabinoids may also play a role. read more…

Efficacy of Inhaled Cannabis on Painful Diabetic Neuropathy

Efficacy of Inhaled Cannabis on Painful Diabetic NeuropathyResearchers at the University of California, San Diego performed a randomized, double-blinded, placebo controlled crossover study in 16 patients with painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy to assess the short-term efficacy and tolerability of inhaled cannabis. This trial of inhaled cannabis demonstrated a dose-dependent reduction in diabetic peripheral neuropathy pain in patients with treatment-refractory pain. This adds preliminary evidence to support further research on the efficacy of cannabinoids in neuropathic pain. read more…

Cannabinoid–Opioid Interaction in Chronic Pain

Cannabinoid Opioid Interaction in Chronic PainIn 2011, Nature Publishing Group released an article by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, who undertook a study of twenty-one individuals with chronic pain to delineate the synergistic effects of cannabinoids and opioids. The study concluded that vaporized cannabis augments the analgesic effects of opioids without significantly altering plasma opioid levels. The combination may allow for opioid treatment at lower doses with fewer side effects. read more…

Endocannabinoid Signaling in Autism

Endocannabinoid Signaling in AutismIn July 2015, Neurotherapeutics published an article about Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), presenting a modern view of the endocannabinoid (eCB) system, and alterations of its main components in human patients and animal models relevant to ASD. Our understanding of eCB signaling in autism is still in its infancy compared with other disorders of the central nervous system or of peripheral tissues, where eCB-based therapies have already reached preclinical and clinical phases. However, research in this field is rapidly evolving, and novel drugs able to hit specifically a distinct element of the eCB system are being developed at a surprising speed. read more…

Cannabidiol Induces Programmed Cell Death in Breast Cancer Cells

Cannabidiol Induces Programmed Cell Death in Breast Cancer CellsA study by researchers at Harvard Medical School was published in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics in 2011 characterizing the mechanism underlying the antitumoral properties of cannabidiol (CBD). This study showed that CBD induced both apoptosis and autophagy-induced death in breast cancer cells and inhibited the survival of both estrogen receptor-positive and estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer cell lines. These data enhance the desirability of CBD as an anticancer agent, because they suggest that CBD preferentially kills breast cancer cells, while minimizing damage to normal breast tissue. read more…

Ongoing Medical Cannabis Studies

Beyond-THC Strain Evaluation Survey

The Society of Cannabis Clinicians has developed a survey that asks about patients’ responses to CBD-rich cannabis. While laboratory-based research is uncovering fascinating information about CBD Learn more…

Crohn’s Disease & Ulcerative Colitis Study

If you are a patient with inflammatory bowel disease, IBD, using cannabis to mitigate the symptoms of Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, you are invited to participate in this study. Learn more…

Membership in the Society of Cannabis Clinicians

Physicians and Allied Professionals Employing Medical Cannabis in Patient Care

Physicians & Clinicians

Hold a valid, unrestricted license to practice medicine. Directly provide cannabis recommendations.

Research Associates

People with a professional degree in health care and a continuing interest in cannabinoid medicine.

Health Care Associates

Individuals active in the field of health care who wish to support SCC, including caregivers.


Enrolled in a graduate program related to cannabinoid medicine.