“Extensive structure-activity relationship studies have demonstrated that specific requirements within the cannabinoid structure are necessary to produce potent analgesia.
A three-point association between the agonist and the receptor mediating analgesia consists of: 1) the C ring hydroxyl, 2) the phenolic A ring hydroxyl, and 3) the A ring alkyl hydrophobic side chain. Potent tricyclic and bicyclic structures were synthesized as “nonclassical” cannabinoid analgetics that conform to this agonist-receptor three-point interaction model.
At the cellular level, centrally active cannabinoid drugs inhibit adenylate cyclase activity in a neuroblastoma cell line. The structure-activity relationship profile for inhibition of adenylate cyclase in vitro was consistent with this same three-point association of agonists with the receptor.
A correlation exists between the potency of drugs to produce analgesia in vivo and to inhibit adenylate cyclase in vitro.
Based on the parallels in structure-activity relationships and the enantioselective effects, it is postulated that the receptor that is associated with the regulation of adenylate cyclase in vitro may be the same receptor as that mediating analgesia in vivo.
A conceptualization of the cannabinoid analgetic receptor is presented.”