Analysis of anandamide, an endogenous cannabinoid substance, and of other natural N-acylethanolamines

Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 1995 Oct;53(4):301-8. doi: 10.1016/0952-3278(95)90130-2.


Recent reports have suggested that N-arachidonoylethanolamine (anandamide) acts as an endogenous ligand for cannabinoid receptors in mammalian brain. Here we describe methods for the extraction, purification and analysis of anandamide and related N-fatty acyl-ethanolamines (NAEs). Liquid-phase extraction, silica gel G column chromatography and thin-layer chromatography (TLC) were employed for sample fractionation. Three analytical high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) methods for purification of NAEs were developed. Finally, analyses of NAEs by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) are described. The applications of these analytical methods to the identification of anandamide and related NAEs in cell cultures as well as of artifacts in biosynthetic studies are described.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arachidonic Acids / chemistry*
  • Arachidonic Acids / isolation & purification
  • Artifacts
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Cannabinoids / chemistry*
  • Cannabinoids / isolation & purification
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Chromatography, Thin Layer
  • Endocannabinoids
  • Ethanolamines / chemical synthesis
  • Ethanolamines / chemistry*
  • Ethanolamines / isolation & purification
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Molecular Structure
  • Polyunsaturated Alkamides
  • Rats
  • Silica Gel
  • Silicon Dioxide


  • Arachidonic Acids
  • Cannabinoids
  • Endocannabinoids
  • Ethanolamines
  • Polyunsaturated Alkamides
  • Silica Gel
  • Silicon Dioxide
  • anandamide