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It’s becoming clear the endocannabinoid system plays a crucial role in the human body’s inner workings. As such, a better understanding of this system—and of cannabinoids in general—will likely lead to better health outcomes.

Leafly got in touch with Hanuš to asked him about his team’s discovery, the scientific progress that has been made since, and what discoveries might lie ahead.

Leafly: Nearly 25 years later, what’s the impact of the anandamide discovery? How has it affected cannabis research and medicine?

Lumír Hanuš:
The discovery of anandamide helped us scientifically understand the medicinal properties of cannabis. The plant started to enter mainstream medicine in the following years, and an increasing number of scientists became interested in studying not only endocannabinoids, but also phytocannabinoids.

There are conflicting reports as to who exactly made this groundbreaking discovery. How did it happen, exactly?

In the early nineties, I was working together with Dr. William Devane, an American expert in the field of molecular pharmacology who discovered cannabinoid receptors in the brain. It was me who then isolated the compound in the brain, but he was running various tests to assess its activity, and I wouldn’t have been able to do that without him, so it was our teamwork.