Cannabinoid inhibition of adenylate cyclase. Pharmacology of the response in neuroblastoma cell membranes

Mol Pharmacol. 1984 Nov;26(3):532-8.


Adenylate cyclase in plasma membranes was inhibited by micromolar concentrations of delta 8-tetrahydrocannabinol and delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol and by levonantradol and desacetyllevonantradol. This inhibition was noncompetitive for stimulation of the enzyme at the prostanoid receptor by prostaglandin E1 or prostacyclin, or at the peptide receptor by secretin or vasoactive intestinal peptide. Forskolin-activated adenylate cyclase was also inhibited by cannabimimetic agents. Inhibition by cannabinoid compounds was neither synergistic nor additive with muscarinic or alpha-adrenergic agents when each was present at maximally inhibitory concentrations. Cannabinoid inhibition was not blocked by atropine, yohimbine, or naloxone, suggesting that muscarinic, alpha 2-adrenergic and certain opiate receptors may not be required for the response. The inhibition of adenylate cyclase was specific for psychoactive cannabinoids, since cannabinol and cannabidiol produced minimal or no response. Inhibition was also stereoselective, since dextronantradol did not produce the response. A biphasic log dose-response curve was observed for each of the cannabinoid drugs, such that reversal of the inhibition occurred at 3-10 microM. Possible mechanisms for the effects of cannabinoid drugs on adenylate cyclase activity are discussed.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adenylyl Cyclase Inhibitors*
  • Animals
  • Cannabinoids / pharmacology*
  • Cell Membrane / enzymology
  • Colforsin
  • Diterpenes / pharmacology
  • Dronabinol / pharmacology
  • Isomerism
  • Kinetics
  • Mice
  • Neuroblastoma / enzymology*
  • Phenanthridines / pharmacology
  • Prostaglandins / pharmacology
  • Secretin / pharmacology
  • Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide / pharmacology


  • Adenylyl Cyclase Inhibitors
  • Cannabinoids
  • Diterpenes
  • Phenanthridines
  • Prostaglandins
  • Secretin
  • Colforsin
  • Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide
  • delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol
  • Dronabinol
  • nantradol