The inhibitory effect of nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NDGA) (a nonselective lipoxygenase (LOX) inhibitor)-mediated 15-LOX inhibition has been reported to be affected by modification of its catechol ring, such as methylation of the hydroxyl group. Cannabidiol (CBD), one of the major components of marijuana, is known to inhibit LOX activity. Based on the phenomenon observed in NDGA, we investigated whether or not methylation of CBD affects its inhibitory potential against 15-LOX, because CBD contains a resorcinol ring, which is an isomer of catechol. Although CBD inhibited 15-LOX activity with an IC(50) value (50% inhibition concentration) of 2.56 microM, its monomethylated and dimethylated derivatives, CBD-2'-monomethyl ether and CBD-2',6'-dimethyl ether (CBDD), inhibited 15-LOX activity more strongly than CBD. The number of methyl groups in the resorcinol moiety of CBD (as a prototype) appears to be a key determinant for potency and selectivity in inhibition of 15-LOX. The IC(50) value of 15-LOX inhibition by CBDD is 0.28 microM, and the inhibition selectivity for 15-LOX (i.e., the 5-LOX/15-LOX ratio of IC(50) values) is more than 700. Among LOX isoforms, 15-LOX is known to be able to oxygenate cholesterol esters in the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) particle (i.e., the formation of oxidized LDL). Thus, 15-LOX is suggested to be involved in development of atherosclerosis, and CBDD may be a useful prototype for producing medicines for atherosclerosis.