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J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2006 Sep;318(3):1230-9. Epub 2006 Jun 6.

Pharmacological characterization of novel water-soluble cannabinoids.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA 23298-0613, USA.


Presently, there are numerous structural classes of cannabinoid receptor agonists, all of which require solubilization for experimental purposes. One strategy for solubilizing water-insoluble tetrahydrocannabinols is conversion of the phenolic hydroxyl to a morpholinobutyryloxy substituent. The hydrochloride salts of these analogs are water-soluble and active in vivo when administered in saline. The present investigation demonstrated that hydrochloride salts of numerous substituted butyryloxy esters are water-soluble and highly potent. The substitutions include piperidine, piperazine, and alkyl-substituted amino moieties. It was also discovered that incorporation of a nitrogenous moiety in the alkyl side chain increased the pharmacological potency of tetrahydrocannabinol. For example, an analog containing a pyrazole in the side chain (O-2545) was found to have high affinity and efficacy at cannabinoid 1 (CB(1)) and CB(2) receptors, and when dissolved in saline, it was highly efficacious when administered either intravenously or intracerebroventricularly to mice. A series of carboxamido and carboxylic acid amide analogs exhibited high pharmacological potency, but their hydrochloride salts were not water-soluble. On the other hand, incorporation of imidazoles into the terminus of the side chain led to water-soluble hydrochloride salts that were highly potent when administered in saline to laboratory animals. It is now possible to conduct cannabinoid research with agonists that are water-soluble and thus obviating the need of solubilizing agents.

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