Document Type


Publication Date



The effect of the plant-derived nonpsychotropic cannabinoid, cannabidiol (CBD), on the function of hydroxytryptamine (5-HT)3A receptors expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes was investigated using two-electrode voltage-clamp techniques. CBD reversibly inhibited 5-HT (1 μM)-evoked currents in a concentration-dependent manner (IC50 = 0.6 μM). CBD (1 μM) did not alter specific binding of the 5-HT3A antagonist [3H]3-(5-methyl-1H-imidazol-4-yl)-1-(1-methylindol-3-yl)propan-1-one (GR65630), in oocytes expressing 5-HT3A receptors. In the presence of 1 μM CBD, the maximal 5-HT-induced currents were also inhibited. The EC50 values were 1.2 and 1.4 μM, in the absence and presence of CBD, indicating that CBD acts as a noncompetitive antagonist of 5-HT3 receptors. Neither intracellular BAPTA injection nor pertussis toxin pretreatment (5 μg/ml) altered the CBD-evoked inhibition of 5-HT-induced currents. CBD inhibition was inversely correlated with 5-HT3A expression levels and mean 5-HT3 receptor current density. Pretreatment with actinomycin D, which inhibits protein transcription, decreased the mean 5-HT3 receptor current density and increased the magnitude of CBD inhibition. These data demonstrate that CBD is an allosteric inhibitor of 5-HT3 receptors expressed in X. laevis oocytes. They further suggest that allosteric inhibition of 5-HT3 receptors by CBD may contribute to its physiological roles in the modulation of nociception and emesis.


This article was originally published in Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics , volume 333, issue 2, in 2010. DOI: 0.1124/jpet.109.162594

Peer Reviewed



U.S. Government work not protected by U.S. copyright



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.