Pharmacological evaluation of new generation OXIZID synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists

Eur J Pharmacol. 2024 Mar 30:176549. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2024.176549. Online ahead of print.


Synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists (SCRAs) remain one the largest classes of new psychoactive substances, and are increasingly associated with severe adverse effects and death compared to the phytocannabinoid Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In the attempt to circumvent the rapid emergence of novel SCRAs, several nations have implemented ‘generic’ legislations, or ‘class-wide’ bans based on common structural scaffolds. However, this has only encouraged the incorporation of new chemical entities, including distinct core and linker structures, for which there is a dearth of pharmacological data. The current study evaluated five emergent OXIZID SCRAs for affinity and functional activity at the cannabinoid CB1 receptor (CB1) in HEK 293 cells, as well as pharmacological equivalence with THC in drug discrimination in mice. All OXIZID compounds behaved as agonists in Gαi protein activation and β-arrestin 2 translocation assays, possessing low micromolar affinity at CB1. All ligands also substituted for THC in drug discrimination, where potencies broadly correlated with in vitro activity, with the methylcyclohexane analogue BZO-CHMOXIZID being the most potent. Notably, MDA-19 (BZO-HEXOXIZID) exhibited partial efficacy in vitro, generating an activity profile most similar to that of THC, and partial substitution in vivo. Overall, the examined OXIZIDs were comparatively less potent and efficacious than previous generations of SCRAs. Further toxicological data will elucidate whether the moderate cannabimimetic activity for this series of SCRAs will translate to severe adverse health effects as seen with previous generations of SCRAs.

PMID:38561104 | DOI:10.1016/j.ejphar.2024.176549