Synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists (SCRAs) are a dynamic class of new psychoactive substances (NPS), with novel chemotypes emerging each year. Following the putative detection of 5F-CUMYL-P7AICA in Australia in 2016, the scaffold-hopping SCRAs 5F-CUMYL-PICA, 5F-CUMYL-PINACA, and 5F-CUMYL-P7AICA were synthesized and characterized by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS), and liquid chromatography–quadrupole time-of-flight–MS (LC–QTOF–MS). Since little is known of the pharmacology of 7-azaindole SCRAs like 5F-CUMYL-P7AICA, the binding affinities and functional activities of all compounds at cannabinoid type 1 and type 2 receptors (CB1 and CB2, respectively) were assessed using tritiated radioligand competition experiments and fluorescence-based plate reader membrane potential assays. Despite CB1 binding affinities differing by over two orders of magnitude (Ki = 2.95–174 nM), all compounds were potent and efficacious CB1 agonists (EC50 = 0.43–4.7 nM), with consistent rank order for binding and functional activity (5F-CUMYL-PINACA >5F-CUMYL-PICA >5F-CUMYL-P7AICA). Additionally, 5F-CUMYL-P7AICA was found to exert potent cannabimimetic effects in mice, inducing hypothermia (6°C, 3 mg/kg) through a CB1-dependent mechanism.
- mass spectrometry