The endogenous opioid dynorphin B was evaluated for its role in cannabinoid-induced antinociception. Previous work in our laboratory has shown that the synthetic, bicyclic cannabinoid, CP55,940, induces the release of dynorphin B whilst the naturally occurring cannabinoid, Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta(9)-THC), releases dynorphin A. The dynorphins contribute in part to the antinociceptive effects of both cannabinoids at the level of the spinal cord. The present study compares dynorphin B released from perfused rat spinal cord in response to acute administration of anandamide (AEA), Delta(9)-THC and CP55,940 at two time points, 10 min and 30 min post administration, and attempts to correlate such release with antinociceptive effects of the drugs. Dynorphin B was collected from spinal perfusates of rats pretreated with Delta(9)-THC, CP55,940 or AEA. The supernatant was lyophilized and the concentrations of dynorphin B were measured via radioimmunoassay. At a peak time of antinociception (10 min), CP55,940 and Delta(9)-THC induced significant two-fold increases in the release of dynorphin B. AEA did not significantly release dynorphin B. Upon a 30-min pretreatment with the drugs, no significant dynorphin B release was observed, although antinociceptive effects persisted for CP55,940 and Delta(9)-THC. Previous work indicates that Delta(9)-THC releases dynorphin A while AEA releases no dynorphin A. This study confirms that although all three test drugs produced significant antinociception at 10 min, the endocannabinoid, AEA, does not induce antinociception via dynorphin release. Thus, our data indicate a distinct mechanism which underlies AEA-induced antinociception.