Ajulemic acid is a synthetic analog of Δ8-THC-11-oic acid, the terminal metabolite of Δ8-THC. Unlike Δ9-THC, the psychoactive principle of Cannabis, it shows potent anti-inflammatory action and has minimal CNS cannabimimetic activity. Its in vitro metabolism by hepatocytes from rats, dogs, cynomolgus monkeys and humans was studied and the results are reported here. Five metabolites, M1 to M5, were observed in human hepatocyte incubations. One metabolite, M5, a glucuronide, was observed in the chromatogram of canine hepatocyte incubations. In monkey hepatocyte incubations, M5 was observed in the chromatograms of both the 120 and 240 min samples, trace metabolite M1 (side-chain hydroxyl) was observed in the 120 min samples, and trace metabolite M4 (side-chain dehydrogenation) was observed in the 240 min samples. No metabolites were found in the rat hepatocyte incubations. Unchanged amounts of ajulemic acid detected after the 2-h incubation were 103%, 90%, 86%, and 83% for rat, dog, monkey, and human hepatocytes, respectively. Additional studies were done to ascertain if ajulemic acid can inhibit the activities of five principal human cytochrome P450 isozymes; CYP1A2, CYP2C9, CYP2C19, CYP2D6, and CYP3A4/5. In contrast to the phytocannabinoids Δ9-THC and CBD, no significant inhibition of cytochrome activity was observed. These data further support the conclusions reached in earlier reports on ajulemic acid’s high margin of safety and suggest that it undergoes minimal metabolism and is not likely to interfere with the normal metabolism of drugs or endogenous substances.
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