CBD Spotlight: Dr. Emmanuel Onaivi, the Fela Kuti of Cannabinoid

Dr. Emmanuel Onaivi, CBD Advocate

Who is Dr. Emmanuel Onaivi?

Dr. Onaivi is one of the prominent black professionals who are actively involved in the study and research of cannabis, hemp, and CBD. Born and bred in Nigeria, he is a professor at William Paterson University (WPU), New Jersey, in the Department of Biology. He has been a member of the faculty here since 2000, over 22 years!

Big shout to our friends + fam at the legendary Willy P!!

Dr. Onaivi is a Fulbright scholar as well as a guest scientist at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institute of Health, in Baltimore, MD. He has edited three cannabis and CBD books, namely:

  • The Biology of Marijuana
  • Marijuana and Cannabinoid Research Methods and Protocols
  • Endocannabinoids: The Brain and Body’s Marijuana and Beyond

He has not just edited books, but he has written or co-written multiple papers, including:

  • Liu, Q. R., Huang, N. S., Qu, H., O’Connell, J. F., Gonzalez-Mariscal, I., Santa-Cruz-Calvo, S., Doyle, M. E., Xi, Z. X., Onaivi, E. S., & Egan, J. M. (2018). Identification of novel mouse and rat CB1R isoforms and in silico modeling of human CB1R for peripheral cannabinoid therapeutics. Acta Pharmacol Sin. 0, 1-11.
  • Ishiguro, H., Horiuchi, Y., Tabata, K., Liu, Q. R., Arinami, T., & Onaivi, E. S. (2018). Cannabinoid CB2 Receptor Gene, and Environmental Interaction in the Development of Psychiatric Disorders. Molecules, 23(8), 1836.
  • Liu, Q. R., Canseco-Alba, A., Zhang, H. Y., Tagliaferro, P., Chung, M., Dennis, E., Sanabria, B., Schanz, N., Escosteguy-Neto, J. C., Ishiguro, H., Lin, Z., Sgro, S., Leonard, C. M., Santos-Junior, J. G., Gardner, E. L., Egan, J. M., Lee, J. W., Xi, Z. X., Onaivi, E. S. (2017). Cannabinoid type 2 receptors in dopamine neurons inhibits psychomotor behaviors, alters anxiety, depression and alcohol preference. Scientific Reports, 7, 17410. DOI:10.1038/s41598-017-17796-y

His primary research interests are in the molecular biology of drug abuse, and he teaches Neuroscience, Anatomy and Physiology, Pharmacology, and Bioseminar. In the Pharmacology course, Professor Onaivi lectures on cannabis as medicine. Onaivi co-authored an editorial titled “Cannabis for COVID-19: Can cannabinoids quell the cytokine storm?” The journal Future Science OA published this work.

Professor Onaivi’s groundbreaking study on cannabis, its component CBD cannabinoids, and natural cannabis chemical compounds produced by the human body known as endocannabinoids resulted in:

  • The creation and production of cell type-specific CB2R congenital knockout mice. Dr. Onaivi and his partner, Dr. Liu, as well as William Paterson University, have filed a global patent for this.
  • The identification and finding of functioning neuronal CB2 receptors
  • The cloning of CB1 receptors in mice.
  • Confirmation of the connection between vanilloid receptors and cannabinoid receptors as a reason for why some people like it spicy and hot while others do not. This study was chosen through a competitive process and submitted on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, to demonstrate undergraduate student research presented to the United States Congress.

In 2020, he was nominated Editor and Chief Advances in Drug and Alcohol Research to create a new Open Access Peer Review forum as a result of his contributions.

As you can see, Dr. Emmanuel Onaivi is committed to his work. In particular, he has been instrumental in studying the usefulness of cannabis in the human body. For this reason, we are here to celebrate this great professional for his immense contribution. As a community, we are grateful that a scholar and professor, such as Dr. Onaivi appreciates the role of marijuana in human health.

The CBD Educator Spotlight, a Relax + Releaf blog series highlighting Black Medical Professionals who advocate for CBD, Cannabis, and Hemp. Thank you for your service.

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