Analgesic effects of 1′,1′ dimethylheptyl-delta8-THC-11-oic acid (CT3) in mice.

“The metabolic pathway leading to carboxylic acid derivatives of cannabinoids was discovered more than twenty years ago. While these compounds showed no cannabimimetic activity, subsequent work documented several biological responses both in vitro and in vivo for the THC acids.


These include inhibition of eicosanoid synthesis, antiedema effects, antagonism to PAF actions, inhibition of leucocyte adhesion and anti nociception.

In this report we present data further characterizing the analgesic properties of the title substance which is a potent synthetic member of this group. CT3 was effective in the mouse…”

Marijuana-Derived Compound Targets Pain, Inflammation

   “Researchers are developing a marijuana-derived synthetic compound to relieve pain and inflammation without the mood-altering side effects associated with other marijuana based drugs.

  They say the compound could improve treatment of a variety of conditions, including chronic pain, arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Their findings were presented at the 224th national meeting of the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society.

   The compound, called ajulemic acid, has produced encouraging results in animal studies of pain and inflammation. It is undergoing tests in a group of people with chronic pain and could be available by prescription within two to three years, the researchers say.

 “We believe that [the compound] will replace aspirin and similar drugs in most applications primarily because of a lack of toxic side effects,” says Sumner Burstein, Ph.D., lead investigator in the study and a professor in the department of biochemistry and molecular pharmacology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester. “The indications so far are that it’s safe and effective,” he added.”

Read more:

Suppression of human monocyte interleukin-1beta production by ajulemic acid, a nonpsychoactive cannabinoid.


   “Oral administration of ajulemic acid (AjA), a cannabinoid acid devoid of psychoactivity, reduces joint tissue damage in rats with adjuvant arthritis. Because interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNFalpha) are central to the progression of inflammation and joint tissue injury in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, we investigated human monocyte IL-1beta and TNFalpha responses after the addition of AjA to cells in vitro… Reduction of IL-1beta by AjA may help explain the therapeutic effects of AjA in the animal model of arthritis. Development of nonpsychoactive therapeutically useful synthetic analogs of Cannabis constituents, such as AjA, may help resolve the ongoing debate about the use of marijuana as medicine.”

Ajulemic acid, a synthetic cannabinoid acid, induces an antiinflammatory profile of eicosanoids in human synovial cells.


To better understand mechanisms whereby Ajulemic acid (AjA), a synthetic antiinflammatory cannabinoid, promotes resolution of acute and chronic inflammation in animal models, we investigated its influence on cyclooxygenase 2 (COX2) expression and eicosanoid production in human fibroblast-like synovial cells (FLS).”


AjA increased the steady state levels of COX2 mRNA in and arachidonic acid release from FLS. Treatment of FLS with AjA increased 15-deoxy-delta(12,14)-PGJ(2) (15d-PGJ(2)) production in a concentration dependent manner, but did not affect PGE(2) production significantly.”


The capacity of AjA to increase selectively and markedly 15d-PGJ(2), an eicosanoid which facilitates resolution of inflammation, suggests that AjA may have value as a therapeutic agent for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and other diseases characterized by acute and chronic inflammation.”

Suppression of fibroblast metalloproteinases by ajulemic acid, a nonpsychoactive cannabinoid acid.


   “Production of matrix metalloproteinases (MMP) in joint tissue of patients with inflammatory arthritis facilitates cartilage degradation and bone erosion, and leads to joint deformities and crippling. Thus, MMPs are important targets for agents designed to treat inflammatory arthritis. Oral administration of ajulemic acid (AjA), a synthetic, nonpsychoactive cannabinoid acid, prevents joint tissue injury in rats with adjuvant arthritis. AjA binds to and activates PPARgamma directly. Therefore, we investigated the influence of AjA on MMP production in human fibroblast-like synovial cells (FLS), and examined the role of PPARgamma in the mechanism of action of AjA. FLS, treated or not with a PPARgamma antagonist, were treated with AjA then stimulated with TNFalpha or IL-1alpha. Release of MMPs-1, 3, and 9 was measured by ELISA. The influence of AjA on MMP-3 release from stimulated PPARgamma positive (PPAR+/-) and PPARgamma null (PPAR-/-) mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEF) was also examined. Addition of AjA to FLS suppressed production of MMPs whether or not PPARgamma activation was blocked. Secretion of MMP-3 was also suppressed by AjA in both TNFalpha- and IL-1alpha-stimulated PPARgamma+/- and PPARgamma-/- MEF. Suppression of MMP secretion from FLS by AjA appears to be PPARgamma independent. Prevention by AjA of joint tissue injury and crippling in the rat adjuvant arthritis model may be explained in large part by inhibition of MMPs. These results suggest that AjA may be useful for treatment of patients with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.”

Cannabimimetic Properties of Ajulemic Acid

   “Side effects of marijuana-based drugs and synthetic analogs of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), including sedation and dysphoria, have limited their therapeutic application. Ajulemic acid (AJA), a side-chain synthetic analog of Δ8-THC-11-oic acid, has been reported to have anti-inflammatory properties without producing undesired psychoactive effects. Moreover, it has been suggested that AJA does not interact with cannabinoid receptors to produce its pharmacological effects. The aim of the present study was to conduct a thorough evaluation of the pharmacological effects of AJA then to determine whether actions at cannabinoid receptor (CB)1 mediated these effects… These studies demonstrated that AJA shares a number of CB1-mediated pharmacological properties with Δ9-THC, including cannabimimetic, discriminative stimulus, and antihyperalgesic effects. Furthermore, a separation between doses that produced antinociception and those that produced the other pharmacological effects in mice was not observed. Moreover, AJA showed nearly equipotency for therapeutic efficacy in the CFA model and for substitution in Δ9-THC discrimination. In summary, this study shows that AJA, like Δ9-THC, exhibits psychoactive and therapeutic effects at nearly equal doses in preclinical models, suggesting similar limitations in their putative therapeutic profiles.”

“Cannabis sativa (marijuana plant) has been used since antiquity for its presumed therapeutic, as well as for its euphoric effects. Although Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) has been identified as the major psychoactive ingredient in C. sativa, difficulty in dissociating unwanted side effects, such as sedation and psychotropic effects, from therapeutic effects has limited clinical application of Δ9-THC-based drugs. For example, dronabinol, an orally administered synthetic version of Δ9-THC, has been developed as an appetite stimulant and antiemetic for use in chronic diseases such as AIDS and cancer. In addition, recent evidence suggests oral Δ9-THC may be effective as an adjunct to opioid analgesics. The therapeutic utility of Δ9-THC, however, has been limited due to patient complaints of dysphoria and unpleasant subjective effects. Previous research has suggested that Δ9-THC carboxylic acid, one of the acid metabolites of Δ9-THC, lacks psychoactive properties of the parent compound and yet retains antinociceptive and other effects. Since this metabolite has a relatively low potency, structural changes that increased potency and stability of Δ9-THC analogs in previous structure-activity relationship studies were applied to the structure Δ9-THC carboxylic acid. The resulting compound, ajulemic acid (AJA), substitutes a 1′,1-dimethylheptyl side chain for the pentyl group of Δ9-THC and changes the Δ9-THC core structure to a more stable confirmation, Δ8-THC (Fig. 1).”

Fig. 1

“To date, the efficacy of AJA has been demonstrated in numerous pain and inflammation studies…”
“These findings also underscore the importance of thoroughly evaluating the pharmacological characteristics of novel Δ9-THC-like compounds…”

Synthetic cannabinoid ajulemic acid exerts potent antifibrotic effects in experimental models of systemic sclerosis.

BMJ Journals

“Cannabinoids modulate fibrogenesis in scleroderma.

Ajulemic acid (AjA) is a non-psychoactive synthetic analogue of tetrahydrocannabinol that can bind the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ (PPAR-γ). Recent evidence suggests a key role for PPAR-γ in fibrogenesis. To determine whether AjA can modulate fibrogenesis in murine models of scleroderma.”


AjA significantly prevented experimental bleomycin-induced dermal fibrosis and modestly reduced its progression when started 3 weeks into the disease. AjA strongly reduced collagen neosynthesis by scleroderma fibroblasts in vitro, an action which was reversed completely by co-treatment with a selective PPAR-γ antagonist.”


AjA prevents progression of fibrosis in vivo and inhibits fibrogenesis in vitro by stimulating PPAR-γ signalling. Since therapeutic doses of AjA are well tolerated in humans, it is suggested that AjA as an interesting molecule targeting fibrosis in patients with scleroderma.”

Ajulemic acid (CT3): a potent analog of the acid metabolites of THC.


“The acid metabolites of THC were discovered almost 30 years ago and were later shown to posses modest analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity in a variety of models. Ajulemic acid (CT3) is a more potent analog of THC-11-oic acid in which a dimethylheptyl side chain is substituted for the pentyl side chain of the naturally occurring metabolite. It produces analgesia in the mouse hot plate, the PPQ writhing, the formalin and the tail clip assays. In the latter, it was equipotent to morphine; however, it showed a much greater duration of action. In the paw edema, subcutaneous air pouch and rat adjuvant-induced arthritis models of inflammation; it showed significant therapeutic activity at a dose of 0.2 mg/kg p.o. In the arthritis model it greatly reduced permanent damage to joints when compared to an indomethacin control as evidenced by an improved joint score over vehicle controls and by histopathological examination. In contrast to the NSAIDs, it was totally nonulcerogenic at therapeutically relevant doses. Moreover, it does not depress respiration, exhibit dependence, induce body weight loss or cause mutagenesis. It shows none of the typical actions in models of the psychotropic actions of cannabinoids suggesting that a good separation of desirable from undesirable effects was achieved. Studies on its mechanism of action are currently underway. The data thus far suggest the existence of a novel receptor for ajulemic acid with possible downstream effects on eicosanoid production, cytokine synthesis and metalloprotease activity. There is also circumstantial evidence for a putative endogenous ajulemic acid, namely, arachidonylglycine.”