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Br J Pharmacol. 2010 Jan;159(1):129-41. doi: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.2009.00515.x. Epub 2009 Dec 4.

Evidence that the plant cannabinoid cannabigerol is a highly potent alpha2-adrenoceptor agonist and moderately potent 5HT1A receptor antagonist.

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  • 1School of Medical Sciences, Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Foresterhill, Aberdeen, UK.

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:

Cannabis is the source of at least seventy phytocannabinoids. The pharmacology of most of these has been little investigated, three notable exceptions being Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabidiol and Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabivarin. This investigation addressed the question of whether the little-studied phytocannabinoid, cannabigerol, can activate or block any G protein-coupled receptor.

EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH:

The [(35)S]GTPgammaS binding assay, performed with mouse brain membranes, was used to test the ability of cannabigerol to produce G protein-coupled receptor activation or blockade. Its ability to displace [(3)H]CP55940 from mouse CB(1) and human CB(2) cannabinoid receptors and to inhibit electrically evoked contractions of the mouse isolated vas deferens was also investigated.

KEY RESULTS:

In the brain membrane experiments, cannabigerol behaved as a potent alpha(2)-adrenoceptor agonist (EC(50)= 0.2 nM) and antagonized the 5-HT(1A) receptor agonist, R-(+)-8-hydroxy-2-(di-n-propylamino)tetralin (apparent K(B)= 51.9 nM). At 10 microM, it also behaved as a CB(1) receptor competitive antagonist. Additionally, cannabigerol inhibited evoked contractions of the vas deferens in a manner that appeared to be alpha(2)-adrenoceptor-mediated (EC(50)= 72.8 nM) and displayed significant affinity for mouse CB(1) and human CB(2) receptors.

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS:

This investigation has provided the first evidence that cannabigerol can activate alpha(2)-adrenoceptors, bind to cannabinoid CB(1) and CB(2) receptors and block CB(1) and 5-HT(1A) receptors. It will now be important to investigate why cannabigerol produced signs of agonism more potently in the [(35)S]GTPgammaS binding assay than in the vas deferens and also whether it can inhibit noradrenaline uptake in this isolated tissue and in the brain.

PMID:
20002104
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2823359
Free PMC Article
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