Two types of endogenous cannabinoid-receptor agonists have been identified thus far. They are the ethanolamides of polyunsaturated fatty acids--arachidonoyl ethanolamide (anandamide) is the best known compound in the amide series--and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol, the only known endocannabinoid in the ester series. We report now an example of a third, ether-type endocannabinoid, 2-arachidonyl glyceryl ether (noladin ether), isolated from porcine brain. The structure of noladin ether was determined by mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and was confirmed by comparison with a synthetic sample. It binds to the CB(1) cannabinoid receptor (K(i) = 21.2 +/- 0.5 nM) and causes sedation, hypothermia, intestinal immobility, and mild antinociception in mice. It binds weakly to the CB(2) receptor (K(i) > 3 microM).