Synthetic cannabinoid abuse and case reports of adverse effects have raised concerns about the pharmacologic mechanisms underlying in vivo effects. Here, a synthetic cannabinoid identified in abused products (HU-210) was compared to the effects of Δ(9)-THC and two other synthetic cannabinoid agonists used extensively in pre-clinical studies (CP 55,940 and WIN 55,212-2). One group of monkeys discriminated ∆(9)-THC (0.1mg/kg i.v.); a separate group received chronic ∆(9)-THC (1mg/kg/12h s.c.) and discriminated rimonabant (1mg/kg i.v.). CP 55,940, HU-210, ∆(9)-THC, and WIN 55,212-2 produced ∆(9)-THC lever responding. HU-210 had a long duration (i.e., 1-2 days), whereas that of the other cannabinoids was 5h or less. Rimonabant (1mg/kg) produced surmountable antagonism; single dose-apparent affinity estimates determined in the presence of ∆(9)-THC, CP 55,940, and WIN 55,212-2 did not differ from each other. In contrast, rimonabant (1mg/kg) produced a smaller rightward shift in the HU-210 dose-effect function. In ∆(9)-THC treated monkeys, the relative potency of CP 55,940, ∆(9)-THC, and WIN 55,212-2 to attenuate the discriminative stimulus effects of rimonabant was the same as that evidenced in the ∆(9)-THC discrimination, whereas HU-210 was unexpectedly more potent in attenuating the effects of rimonabant. In conclusion, the same receptor subtype mediates the discriminative stimulus effects of ∆(9)-THC, CP 55,940 and WIN 55,212-2. The limited effectiveness of rimonabant to either prevent or reverse the effects of HU-210 appears to be due to very slow dissociation or pseudo-irreversible binding of HU-210 at cannabinoid receptors.
Keywords: Apparent affinity; Cannabinoid; Drug discrimination; HU-210; Pseudo-irreversible.
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