Salvinorin A: a novel and highly selective kappa-opioid receptor agonist

Life Sci. 2004 Oct 15;75(22):2615-9. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2004.07.008.


kappa-opioid receptors (KORs) represent the principal site of action of dynorphin and related neuropeptides. Recently, Salvinorin A--a naturally occurring neoclerodane diterpene hallucinogen was identified to be a highly selective KOR agonist. In this brief review we summarize the known chemistry, pharmacology and biology of salvinorin A. Because salvinorin A profoundly alters human consciousness and perception, a study of how salvinorin A exerts its actions on KORs may yield novel insights into the molecular and cellular basis of uniquely human higher cortical functions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diterpenes / chemistry
  • Diterpenes / pharmacology*
  • Diterpenes, Clerodane
  • Humans
  • Receptors, Opioid, kappa / agonists*
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Diterpenes
  • Diterpenes, Clerodane
  • Receptors, Opioid, kappa
  • salvinorin A